First Takes - 'No Ten Dollar Ride' by Vigneswaran Rajkumar
Now I know how much a trishaw ride costs. Locals like us see them all the time but it never crosses our mind to take it unless we want want to take a wedding photo, shoot a video or bring other tourists around. This documentary (many docus tonight) seems to be a short statement against recent incidents of bullying of trishaw riders by tourists. It is made of interviews and a gritty and shocking video footage of a bullying incident. It was odd that Vignes has chosen to interview 2 younger trishaw riders when the bullying victims were 'ah pek' trishaw riders.
Because of the sensational and arresting content of the real-life video footage, it was for the rest of the film to slip away from my memory. It showed some young British make tourists taking a ride on trishaw dragged on by a unsuspecting wobbly 'Ah Pek'. It got me under my skin when the camera was focussed on the 'Ah Pek' struggling at a certain point and the tourists taunting him. The 'Ah Pek' seemed to be hobbling a little as if he was going to faint and the road seemed a little uphill. The scene bordered on surrealism because it was like a TV drama moment. If I took home only one thing from the film, it was those 10 seconds of taunting.
But footage aside, I felt the documentary could be structurally more defined. It seemed to be a showcase of the video with the remaning sections being completely sidelined. Also, it could move away from talking heads and show more of the on-the-job experience of the riders. Vignes is a fresh new filmmaker who is actively involved in the local broadcast scene as an editor and producer. This is his first documentary short film.