Brown Sugar- Jonathan Chong

Brown Sugar is about Kaelyn and her struggle after Daniel's death in a freak accident. The is perpetuated with a half written poem that Daniel was coming up with. Sindie did a write up on this film as well.

The film opens with Kaelyn rolling out of bed lazily with her answering machine blaring with her husband/boyfriend's voice. He speaks about a new concept for a poem that he is writing. At this point, I realise it is in Mandarin and having to read subtitles while watching a film already so short would be a waste to the visuals. If I wanted subtitles, I could go read a book.

Visually, this piece is very...zen. White walls and sheets, with a general grayscale through the whole movie. I found it very visually easy and it was shot rather well, with a significant amount of closed framing and not many moving shots that interfered with the general feel of the movie. Another outstanding thing about this film is that it has managed to keep it's location ambiguous, which is something I admire in movies. If this was Singapore, it could have been, if it was Hong Kong, it could have been. I enjoyed that very much.

But not to drag away from the movie itself. At the very beginning, I was wondering where the whole film was going at all, it looked very scattered with random things. Could it be the cat? The girls' parents? But generally I figured it would be something about the guy on the answering machine. I had hoped very much that he wouldn't be dead, but when she started crying and grasping for the phone in the last scene, my fears crystallized. This unfortunately, I feel, played into the genre that all Singaporean films tend to easily sway to, death. The rest of the movie turned into an insane crying fest and then she calls her family (who had called before but the aforementioned answering machine picked it up).

There was poetry in the movie, credits to the poet. However, I found myself tuned off from it and enjoying the visuals more. The main actress was a good choice for visual as well. The poetry of it was lost on me as it was in mandarin and it was just too much. Although the piece was pretty visually attractive, the plot came across as predictable at best, flaky at worst.

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