'Childhood Games' by Joanna Lee - SIFF

The title and the set up of the film gave me no clue of what to expect from it later. Its opening frame is a silhouetted view of a bedroom thats seems like a flash from a past. The colours are muted and the overall look soft and nostalgic, providing a fitting canvas for its title in Mandarin 'Er Xi', - Childhood Games. Then we are brought to the present where a family, dressed for a special occasion gathers for a sumptious Chinese dinner.... a where a glassy array of Chinese food scream for as much attention as a cast that seemed a little under-used = most of all Jerry Hoh. Lol. Jerry is a face all too familiar to many of us filmmakers because of the very comic and sometimes farcical roles he has taken.


So it turns out that a quiet family dinner becomes a bursting closet of family secrets or secret. The lead, a dashing young man, a little too squeaky clean for his dark past, faces up to his family members, in what looks like a long-awaited reunion. We are brought back to a past where he is seated uncomfortably close to his sister in bed. Then, he pushes the 'social boundaries' with a single act of.... The trauma of the act never seemed to be fully manifested but the film would have come to a fuller circle if we could close in on what's in his sister mind 20 years down the road. Unfortunately, she seemed more like an appendix, being marginally distinct from the other family members who have gathered at dinner.

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