'Frail Line' by Er Kia Hui (FLARE 2009)

It's the make-up. If I choose to be harsher, it's the casting as well. 'Frail Line' picks a very intriguing topic of how some father-daughter relationships can be grey. I mean grey in a sense that the relationship goes beyond dad being just a provider, he's also strangely attached to his daughter. In many fables/fairy tale type stories, there is the typical vagrant character who later turns out to be prince charming. The talent chosen to play the father seems to have this quality about his appearance. It makes me wondfer if with a kiss, he could turn into a dashing stud. My point is he looks too young.

This is a pity because the premise of the story is interesting and seldom seen. It is about changed dynamics in a father-daughter relationship and very plausibly involves a recent break up with her boyfriend. The break up and the return of her father are perfectly timed. As she veers towards her father in search for comfort, a dozen issues are emotions are intermixed.

Er Kia Hui, the director's treatment of the narrative is evocative and a little dreamy. Using the visual motif of hair-cutting, the feel of the film is intimate. Perhaps this is because hair-cutting is such a personal, touchy thing. I can imagine that it means even much more for a woman. So that image of her new and less expressive locks conveys easily a sense of pain and loss. The evocative style also means a less linear and objective narrative which could be disorientating at times. Somehow, I would have liked to go a bit deeper into the 2 male characters because the film tended to focus more on the aura around them than the issues that really define them. If there is one term to describe the film, it would be 'wispy', and no apologies on the hair pun. :P

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