2SSFA - 'Lost Soles' by Ng Wee Kiat

Shoes are sensitive matters. Above their obvious function, they give us dignity. Many films have demonstrated how close shoes are to the human heart, like Jack Neo’s Home Run and The Devil Wears Prada (‘soleful’ in all senses of the word). Similarly, ‘Lost Soles’ by Ng Wee Kiat (surprisingly a Chinese director directing a Malay language film), deals a mother child relationship and how a pair of shoes bring them closer together.

This film does not escape the trap of stereotypes – the long-suffering mother who gives her child everything and leaves nothing for herself; the young na├»ve boy who is still learning the ropes of life. The only ‘un-stereotypical’ quality is that the boy appears rather well-fed despite his family’s financial difficulty that prevents his mother from buying him a new pair of shoes. Leaning on a simple, unpretentious storyline, this film is about keeping your eyes open and noticing the little (or big) things the people around you are doing for you. While linear most of the time, a few narrative twists and suspensions add bite to hidden moral messages. But ultimately, it is its plain-speaking style and the way the actors slip so easily into their roles (sorry for shoe pun) that make it a quiet winner.

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