First Takes - 'The Unnamed Feeling' by Ler and Lip


'The Unnamed Feeling' never fails to come back to haunt me. I first saw this quirky piece online and then at the Singapore Short Film Awards early this year. The likely first impression anyone would get from watching it is you don't think the filmmakers want to be taken too seriously. It is funny but only as funny as the standard 'blokely' humour you get at a beer table, or even your secondary classroom skit. But watching it for the third (and I swear final time), it had a little effect on me.

This black and white, digital-looking film follows the post-break up journey of a young man. There is nothing new in the way he deals with his loss except for the fact that he can't stop crying or rather becomes prone to letting his tears roll at the slightest hint of disappointment. Other than that, the entire film feels lazily put together because there is hardly anything that recreates cinematic value. The easiest thing to remember from the film is a scene where a girl hurls a bouquet of roses on the man and while doing that, we see how he curls up like a pitiful dog. It is memorable especially to the guys because it is a male-ego bruising moment.

The twist in my appreciation of the film comes in the ending. Our lead basically finds a solution to his problem. In a genuinely funny exchange between him and an old female friend, he sees a certain oblique way out. This is one instance where the 'I am a financial planner' line carries a worthy weight in humour and dramatic effect. With this, I rest my case against my unnamed feeling about this film but swear that I hope not to bump into it at another screening.

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