`Haze' by Anthony Chen

Singapore did not experience a serious bout of haze last year. For those who are not familiar, at least once a year, Singapore gets shrouded in haze caused by the drifting smoke from forest fires in Indonesia. From the shots of `Haze' the short film, one could tell that the heavens worked against the intentions of the film - there was really NO haze. But despite that, `Haze' evoked feelings of precariousness, blindness and finally misdirection that brought to life the figurative meaning of the word more than the tangible presence of this weather element would have.

2 secondary school students decide to skip school one day. Between them, the boy assumes the role of the instigator while the girl follows. At the boy's abode (his parents have gone on a trip to Malaysia) they let their natural instincts flow and dally with whatever pleases from TV, to instant noodles to sharing ice-cream. Noticeably, the girl is often keeping up with the boy more than being an equal partner in crime. And in between all that, is a pervading blanket of humidity associated with the physical weather that also seems to mirror the growing uneasiness she is hiding inside. Then, the showpiece happens. Moist limbs interlock. The girl takes a leap of faith in succumbing herself to situation.

While she was not physically bruised from her maiden experience, she unknowingly opens herself up to hurt when she pops the commitment question to him in the aftermath. Naturally, she learnt a big lesson in that one hazy afternoon.

Like a exercise in punctuation, `Haze' delivered a story with various its plot points dotted in the right amounts and timing to produce drama that did resonate with me. And delightfully, it tackles adolescent behaviour very maturely. Subtly visible under all that frivolous, delinquent talk are a clash of comfort zones, directions, values. So when the girl realises the folly of her sacrifice, my empathy was almost immediate.

Behold and let the haze fill your computer screen at http://fisheye-pictures.com/
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