Tuesday, August 23, 2011
Sinema Showoff! Mature & Restricted
Mu Dan (牡丹)
Lincoln Chia's short film blends fantasy and reality, about a religiously righteous mom having caught his son pleasuring himself in front of his computer one night because he forgot to close the door and she having peeped in - leading to a moment of mirth in the immediate scene following this accidental discovery - and frowning upon his choice of a girlfriend, whose blonde wig she dons and leads into an outward manifestation of her innermost desires. Turns into a moody piece in its run to the finale, this is the relatively tamest of the selection being M18 fare compared to the rest of the R21 shorts.
Commissioned by Action for Aids, saying Anniversary is a Royston Tan short is quality enough to want to watch it, as he teams up with writer Alfian Sa'at to tell a tale about a relationship that is put under undue pressure on the first anniversary of being together, all because of a secret that one harbours that threaten to ruin everything sugar and spice and all things nice. Told in a non-linear fashion, Anniversary follows the romance between Wai Kit (Kelvin Ong) and his partner Justin (Shane Mardjuki) who seem to have the most perfect life, if not for the former to find himself guilty of threatening to ruin everything due to one night of indiscretion and risky behaviour.
Being a commissioned piece, you'd come to expect certain scenes that become a call to action, against unsafe sex, and opportunities built in to demystify the screening process through no necessity of being verbatim. Some black humour courtesy of a well meaning friend, but overalll an emotional piece that is hallmark of the director's touch, where you'll probably know he has gone on to assist Health Promotion Board on a short about dementia, which is available for free on a disc you can pick up (at Sinema Old School) and also available on YouTube.
Taken from my earlier review
I thought it was a fairly interesting bit of observation on the youths of today. Many times you would see teenage couples hanging out together, but I found it sometimes peculiar that the guys do seem to not pay any much attention to their girlfriends, as they go about doing their own thing, while the girl just sits around and waits. I always thought that was a complete waste of time though, where both could have utilized their quality time in a more constructive manner. A very strange generation (signs I'm getting old!) and I thought he captured such observations succinctly in his follow up short to Ah Ma.
Here, you have a delinquent couple who decided to play hokey, and hang out at the guy's home. Whether the guy's sleeping in, playing his PSP, or complaining of his hunger, the girl dutifully obeys, though made a comment questioning of her purpose in his presence. Production wise, I thought the actors were quite natural in delivering their lines in a mixture of languages in an authentic manner, and touching fleetingly on the theme of insecurity after they did the deed to earn this short its R21 rating, though it played out at times in a comic fashion.
This short film made waves last year for having its marketing scream the tag of being the most erotic short film in Singapore, so much so that it had irked the lead actress Evelyn Maria Ng enough to disassociate herself with the film, and to skip the gala premiere which was held at Iluma Bugis. Granted that nudity isn't something new to the actress since her role in Kan Lume's Female Games which got a limited run at Sinema after being banned for the public audience at the Singapore International Film Festival. The actress of course is making waves in the news these days for her renouncing of her Singapore citizenship so as to obtain her CPF money to further her studies, but that's for another forum to discuss.
Directed by Jeremiah Oh, Hush tells the story of a traditional Chinese family where the widowed father (Vincent Tee) places a premium on his three young daughters being home early on time for a home cooked dinner with him. Through the narrative we learn of their distintegration, from Alice (Evelyn Maria Ng) and her sexual and moral confusion being the secret lover to the finance (Darren E Scott) of her best friend Serene (Natalie Faye), an dalso habouring sexual fantasies with Serene herself. Then there's a late subplot involving Alice's sisters (played by Janice Yeo and Cassevonrie Chia) with their
To call this film exploitative wouldn't be a stretch, because from the onset we see a sex scene interspersed with Vincent Tee cooking something in a wok, only for production values to be a little cheap since it's obvious he's frying nothing and just going through the motions. But yes, two sweaty bodies humping. And Oh obviously went for the jugular with a bathtub scene between Ng and Faye sans clothes to suggest same sex liaison as well as self gratification, and a three way fantasy scene with full on nudity for Faye and Ng stripping to her birthday suit for the camera, for the purpose of... beats me, save to add some cred to calling itself erotic, which was anything but remotely close.
It's a fine line drawn between art, having something tastefully done, and that of doing something for the sake of. Unfortunately though expectedly Hush fell into the latter category given the absence of a strong narrative and purposeful visuals, coming off more like a quickie hack job just to float its own boat. It will still raise some eyebrows for what's being depicted on screen, but relatively tame when compared to other R21 films that get to make it to our shores. But curiosity will continue to get the better of the cat, and interest will always be piqued especially with the latest news on the lead actress, now known as Maria Alexandria.
Posted by Stefan S at 11:57 pm