September by John Li

The rather lengthy `September' gave me the hunch that Michael (Tay) may be a photography trained filmmaker. The elegantly composed shots made the film. Alternating between intimate Wong Kar Waisque close ups to the off-centre wide shots, the film was a graceful contemplation of the idea of memory.

Just like what the polaroids hanging in the picture above suggest, September is about dealing with things we may lose and our memories of them. Primarily centred around love and relationships, it takes us on an emotional journey of the characters who deal with love, loss and yearning for the treasured moments they spent with their loved ones.

A film can be too beautiful for its own good sometimes. I felt a bit of it in September. It was beautiful no doubt, even when shot in dv. Shots lingered over objects, half-faces and other surfaces (plenty of wet surfaces!). Music was unobstrusive and the narration was lyrical. But I felt the sentences always resolved themselves, the tunes always found back their base notes and the way the story was paced let slip traces of the writer's deliberation. It might have worked better if questions were not answered.

But `September' did come to a thoughtful `closure' which is one of its unique points. Like the cliched and repetitive musings of the characters finally found relevance and resonance.
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