In January of 2013, Australian filmmaker Keith Loutit set out to document the changing cityscape of Singapore. As reported in Fstoppers, he spent four months scouting locations before the cameras started rolling. And it would be three years before the shutter closed on the final frame, with some locations photographed as many as 43 different times.
Over 500 days were recorded in all, which were then complied into a single video lasting fewer than five minutes. The finished short film, titled The Lion City II — Majulah has been viewed over half a million times on Vimeo so far.
Loutit, who is based in Singapore, was fascinated by the country’s unique challenge of managing growth in a constrained geographic space. His video tells two stories, one of people moving through the city, and a second of the city itself, moving as it grows upward around the people. Visually, it is so stunning as to be entrancing, an effect bolstered by the heavy thumping of an electronic soundtrack.
But the piece also seems to carry with it a message of caution, of warning. Motorists speed throughout the streets, oblivious to the construction around them that continues, indefinitely, day and night. When seeing three years of change in just five minutes, the incredible rate of growth is staggering. One begins to wonder how long such a pace can be maintained. In Singapore, change is constant. In an interview with Channel NewsAsia, Loutit says he could have continued shooting even longer, “but at some point, you have to draw the line in the sand.”
Loutit previously won viewers over with his first Singapore time lapse, The Lion City, which was shot with tilt-shift lenses. He become known for the technique, which has been used in several of his other videos. You can see more of his work on his Vimeo page.
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