Short Circuit 3 - 'Substitute' by A D Chan

I first watched 'Substitute' at the Ngee Ann Poly graduation show 3 years ago. I am not sure why then this is an anticipated film of 2008 as the Short Circuit tagline says. But I do like the film for its polished execution and style.

'Substitute' in fact, covers a lot of ground in its treatment of sexuality as the theme. There is the amorous young couple that exhibit animal-like behaviour in bed (acted so well by Cheryl Miles and that Aussie-accented guy). Then comes the young boy tenant who exhibits a perversion in the form of adoring all the wife's clothes and objects. Then, there is the thick and also laughable sexual tension going on between the boy and the wife whenever the husband is not around. t

This first time I watched this, I thought the brilliance was in its surprise ending. Most people would feel so to because the surprise was delivered with enough punctuation. The second watching it made me feel its brilliance was how there was a lot of greyness in the boy's intentions. While he stretches the lady's thongs over his face and oogles at the wife's curves, I got the feeling while there is both a desire to emulate as well as an inne sexual desire for her too. It reminds me of how sometimes you can like a person and also want to emulate a person too.

Alfian the moderator mentioned that the director is fond of using loud, saturated visuals in her film. While her dressing was quite a statement (pleasing one - white school boy shirt and shorts ensemble with striped tie), the visuals in her film did not upstage the funny and endearing plot. But there were certainly dreamy and surrealistic moments - like how a curtain veil suddenly drifted across while the camera in the foreground while it was tracking in on a target.

Interestingly, when asked if she would use the same actors again, she mentioned no to some of the actors. If I remember correctly, her reason was something like. because time have moved on. For me, I sometimes awaken to the fact that sexiness and sexuality is time-dependent. Like how more young are perhaps veering towards a cute-sexy rather than a sultry-dangerous-sexy these days. And her comment brought light to this again.

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