Created both as a layered personal and political allegory on freedom and repression while living in Singapore, as well as a middle finger to the dominant tropes of over-determined Hollywood narrative and editing taught in film school. NORTH SOUTH is an experiment in the expressiveness of form. (Singapore audiences would have recognized the bridge as the then newly-constructed link between the university and a military base). Central to the structure and intent was the foregrounding of typically background elements (montage and music) to explore their expressive potential, as well as the audience's projection of meaning and significance.
The tape of NORTH SOUTH was one of the few possessions Stephen Chen had when he fled Singapore in 2001. It was lost while he lived in exile in North America until the degraded tape was rediscovered in 2013. Remastered and re-edited to convey the experience of exile, NORTH SOUTH utilizes footage originally shot on S-VHS in 1998, and has music that has been reframed and rerecorded for its 2013 incarnation.