'Dream'/'Meng Xiang' by Josiah Ng - SIFF

It is so unfortunate that feel-good films do not go down well with programmers because every festival is scrambling to find edge and er.... pain. 'Meng Xiang' is a very well-produced short film about overcoming the odds to find triumph. However, the mise-en-scene and dialogue are as predictable as the title sounds. A secondary school boy pursuit of swimming comes at the expense of his studies. His father is an ex-swimmer who is now sadly, a pool cleaner. It is not difficult to infer how his father would feel towards his pursuit. In fact, 'Meng Xiang' reminds me of many early days SBC/TCS TV dramas set in the swimming, one was 'The Flying Fish' in the early 80s and the other has Chen Liping in it, in the late 80s. And they all culminate in a triumphant final race, loyal to this 'genre'.

So while, it does not break out of the 'swimming drama' genre too much, it does offer a gem of a line that stuck in my head - in Singapore, what ever you do, you either become number 1 or become part of the crowd, there is no place for number 2. Sadly, it has truths in every field. Also, the actors were sincere in their performances, giving me a lump in my throat when father and son hugged. What's more, they got crane shots! So I hope none of this effort goes to waste and it finds itself more avenues for public or even TV (quite 'telemovie' if you ask me) showcase.

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