'Child of the World' by Ho Rui An - SIFF

Kevin, a teenage boy, is unable to cope with his mum's death and he creates a little utopia for himself right in the comfort of his own bedroom. His little utopia consists of a model of a house, some terrain and a little figurine that supposedly represents him. Under the filmmaker Rui An's skillful hands, we get to see his utopia in stop-motion moving image, built from paper mache, paper shreds and other paper derivatives. In fact, the mixed media treatment of the story, a combination of live action and stop-motion animation, serves the story well by shuffling us between 2 different worlds, one imaginary and one real.

Interestingly, his utopia seems a little apocalyptic. Perhaps due to the paper-mache texture, the terrain appears battered against a dark sky and much of the stylised or caricaturised props or sets bordered on the grotesque. The only source of comfort that belonged to Kevin's imaginary world was a guardian. In fact, he writes letters to this imaginary guardian, seeking solace and perhaps even an answer. On the side of his bedroom door lies the real world, resided by his concerned sister. She is both anxious and helpless about her brother's condition. Her anxiety is unbridled that when she got a chance to enter the room and discover his paper models, she loses her composure. Not sure if its the acting or the script constricting her emotional breadth but her character was could have more dimensions that just that of anxiety. For the brother, while his state of delusion is credible at most points, the dramatic transition of accepting his sister's care was wanting. I guess all in all, its the imagined that defined the film more.

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