`After The Rain' by Royston Tan

There is always a special sense of nostalgia whenever I stop to pay attention to the thunder that signals an impending downpour. I could almost say it is a universal feeling. And somehow, the thunder really mattered more to our lives as children. It made us shudder as toddlers. It meant a boring weekend at home having no control over our family's program. In school, it meant the cancellation of our school excursion. As adults, that thunder loses its resonance gradually. But so do the people in our lives who were intertwined with those moments, your parents, your siblings, your classmates, you school-bus mates.
This is an integral motif to Royston Tan's `After The Rain'. It is about a boy whose family relocates from a Kampung to a HDB flat in the 1970s. It reinforces a shared army experience between father and son. Manifested in idyllic and intimate visuals and backed up by the Moscow Symphony Orchestra (not sure how they pulled the strings!), it is a glossy showpiece that borders on looking like an extended commercial for the army. And I was not wrong. For the diluted artistry and dramatic cliches in the film, I really thought Royston's lost his bite. But when the Army Museum logo manifested in the end credits, all was safe!

Panorama Crosstalk #6

Jeremy (J) : Royston always has a knack for selecting pretty faces for kampung kids.
S : Too clean looking for starters. (Beat) Then again it's Singapore, we have clean and green environments, even for kampungs.
J : I watched `Flower in the Pocket’, those were the real kampung kids! Scruffy and creatively naughty.
S : Maybe because they still exist.
J : Felt any `thunder’ you felt in `Rain'?
S : Nope. In fact I didn't know where it was going. Like a tale of 2 halves… and I can't really feel the connection... For sure we can SEE the connection, but can't feel a thing for it.
J : That's my biggest question for you actually. Cos it was done with SO MUCH FLAIR and yet it was so dry in the poignancy it was trying to create.
S : Probably the clue is in the credits.
J : The Army Museum logo.
S : However, I read somewhere that the powers that be did not interfere with the creative process though.
J : Ouch!
S : I preferred the father-son tale told in Royston's Sons to this.
J : I felt it was hard to decide whether the changing of the times (two eras of army) was the focus or the father-son relationship (which was poorly dealt with and it also used many cliches).
S : Well, we didn't see much of the earlier army era, except for the temasek green uniform. Felt the latter shots can qualify for army recruitment advertisements.
J : True. (pause) Hey Stefan, you hear something?
S : No.
J : Press your face next to my chest.
S : Oh ya. I hear something.
J : It's time for lunch.

The only other place to catch this short film perenially is the Singapore Army Musuem.

Previous Post Next Post

Contact Form