Yes, even before Allan pointed it out, I was highly aware that the synopsis sounded like Tan Chui Mui's short film, A TREE IN TANJUNG MALIM...
Not that Mui was the one who innovated such a genre. And aside from being a Japanese film, the storyline is vastly different from hers. But then, if I were to make this a minimalistic film (which was my initial plan), accusations of being unoriginal may be inevitable. Thus I started rethinking other methods to present the story, sifting through the film library in my head, and then, I suddenly thought of Hans Canosa's CONVERSATIONS OF OTHER WOMEN, a 2006 film starring Aaron Eckhart and Helena Bonham Carter. I saw the film last year, and it was interesting because the entire film was in split screens.
However, instead of being gimmicky, the split screen technique was used as a necessary storytelling technique. Aside from boosting its rewatch value, CONVERSATIONS WITH OTHER WOMEN turns audiences into perceptual editors, so they mentally edit the film themselves based on how they want to watch it (by choosing which frame to pay attention to). Let me provide you the numerous clips of the film on Youtube so you have an idea what it's like.
Of course, by going with the split screen experiment does not make my film any more appealing to the masses, in fact, predicted complaints of film being 'too slow and arty' will probably shift to 'too fast and chaotic, hard to keep up, bloody arty!". On the other hand, it open numerous new opportunities for me to explore the story with, and I'll be using two cameras for the shoot instead of one. quite an interesting try.
During my days in Perth, when I was experimenting and studying filmmaking, I was very in love with the split screen technique. And had used them on my early video experiments, and also my student films, VERTICAL DISTANCE and GIRL DISCONNECTED. In fact, for VERTICAL DISTANCE (horribly dated now due to my immaturity and lack of experience in filmmaking then) I think its best scenes are those split screen sequences.