Sunday, October 30, 2011

[DVD Short] The Three Sisters (三朵花) (2011)

As the adage goes, blood is ultimately thicker than water. Bickering amongst siblings is a given, but you do know at the end of the day that relations will always triumph beneath the caustic jibes and the sarcasm.

A number of things worked for producer-writer-director Leon Cheo's latest short film The Three Sisters, the first being the casting of the titular trio in Liow Shi Suen, Lok Mng Chue and Daisy Yeo where you find a peacemaker, someone who treads the middle ground, caught up in between two of her bickering siblings, each equipped with sharp tongues and always wanting to have the last word. They are having a sisters night out for an evening at the Cantonese Opera, a dying trade in Singapore, and the cast also did their dual roles with aplomb, playing another three sisters, in the same age order, for the stage production, in what would be reel life imitating reel art, and vice versa.

How this will turn out is everyone's guess, since they create a scene from the get go when they get together at the theatre foyer, and annoy themselves and other patrons as the night wore on. Relationship issues are what's most often touched upon in their lives, as well as the lives of the characters on stage, and while it may cover an entire spectrum of emotions from longing, unrequitedness and being stuck in something seemingly loveless, these are touched upon lightly without being overly preachy or nostalgic as the sisters reminisce about the good ol' bygone era of outdoor live entertainment. The Three Sisters also kept the best for last, providing a satisfying sucker punch in its final act to wrap everything up really nicely from the minute a cab arrives to pick the sisters up.

One of the earliest films to be produced here through crowd sourcing, The Three Sisters boasts handsome production values despite a relative shoe-string budget of about S$5K (or at least that was the amount crowd-sourced), and has a simple story to tell that's easy on the themes it wanted to dwell upon. Family themed films may be Leon Cheo's forte, so it'll be worthwhile and interesting to see where he turns his sights to next for his next film project.

A friend had lent me this DVD for viewing, and I'd say if you can get your hands on one, do give it a shot!

The independently produced Region Free DVD presents the film in anamorphic widescreen and in the original Cantonese language track with English subtitles only. Extras packed into this release include Production Stills consisting of 21 stills that plays over 1:14, and 81 Behind the Scenes Stills over 5:02. There is also an inclusion of a Deleted Scene (0:54) shot at Esplanade Bridge, which was left out of the final film probably because it may be deemed too early to brandish Chekov's gun.

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