When you are adrift, cut loose by powerful forces, you are alienated from those around you. Even your environment feels strange.
CANOPY explores the personal wartime experiences of one Australian soldier in the hours after crashing out of the safety of his plane over Singapore during the Japanese invasion of February 1942. The film focuses on the psychological effects of the sudden change in circumstance, injury, disorientation, and fear on the individual’s psyche.
CANOPY is not an epic battle film inspired from the history documents. It is one man’s journey, told from a collection of true stories. Stories that I heard growing up in a small town in rural Australia about far away lands. Moments in time were vividly and fiercely recalled, embedded in fear and comforted only by the friendship of the men that lived it with them.
The Singapore jungle has a large part to do with this experience. It is not just a backdrop for Jim’s journey; it is a powerful force in itself that Jim soon comes to feel and understand. It’s not just an invading Japanese force that Jim has to negotiate, but also the foreign natural world that has consumed him. Nature offers protection but can also be devastatingly callous.
In a broader sense, the story explores Australia’s place in the Asia-Pacific region. Singapore and Australia share a common history forged through empire and war. The common Singaporean/Australian experience is at the very heart of my film, the story and the production.
The film’s issues are timeless, commenting on humanity’s constant battle with war and nature. CANOPY is a very personal story about; being out of your depth; in a world that is both foreign and life-changing. War is epic and all consuming, but in small connections and tiny moments of beauty, we can still find hope.
Aaron Wilson / Writer & Director7 July 2013