Wind by Aaron Wilson

How can you bring to life something that cannot be seen on film/screen? And yet milk every aspect and feeling it evokes. Like Anthony Chen’s `Haze’ `Wind’ a short film by Aaron Wilson, invigorates a seemingly mundane concept like wind with a refreshing perspective of space and life. `Wind’ interjects between the banal lives of 2 characters. One is an Australian retired soldier who lives in a standalone house in the Australian countryside. The other is Singaporean senior lady who lives alone in a HDB flat.
Opening the film is a sensory establishment of the environment with thematic references to the wind. In the countryside, where feather-like clouds drift across the balmy blue skies, the wind is ever present and connects itself with life there in many ways. The drying clothes billow, the paper-windmills twirl and the leaves ruffle. Intercut to the HDB scenes – the air seems still as the drying clothes hang in lines as straight as how the HDB units are partitioned. The only sources of wind are man-made, like the swirl of the blades on the electric fan in a private home. But in deliberate irony, it is the old man who seems to be having a harder time dealing with loneliness than the senior lady. For a start, human interaction is quite a distance away. And his expressions belie a strong emotional hang-up about something. Living in Singapore is on the other hand a busy experience. Amidst all things man-made, there is a real bustle of human activity and energy. Hence, the metaphorical reference to the wind.

Most of the time, the quick cuts style editing did undermine the contemplative intentions of certain scenes. It also seems to work against the thematic nature. At times, the film lost its filmic nature and seemed more to serve a point than to tell a story of two people. But redemptively, it held a shot of each towards the end for more prolonged time to give the audience a moment to ponder and take in the character - on one end, the old man and the last bits of his meal, on the other end, the old lady and the silence after the dancing number. And under the common tinkling of the wind chimes on both sides, together with the characters, I settled into a brief moment of reflection. Then in a brief and surprising touch, we get a glimpse of the old man's military past in Changi from the shots of his old photos, followed by a note of tribute to Elizabeth Choy, a war heroine. Not quite self-explanatory but certainly a attempt to penetrate the characters more deeply and leave an after thought on the audience.
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