Short Circuit 3 - 'Don't Say Farewell Again' by Eva Tang

Eva has a penchant for doses of poetry in her film, poetry that originates from her writing background. And for this, her film has left me with the thought of the evening. Her character cannot move one from her break-up because she needs to seek out and digest the past before she can deal with the future. While the line is familiar and perhaps bordering on insipid, the storyteling in the film fully justifies it.

The film is simply a break-up film. And it makes no secret about its personal element because Eva has put her pictures right at the beginning of the film. It was pictures of her and her ex-girlfriend with melancholic music overlaying the sparse montage. While it did remind me of 'London-Londres', her previous short, I tried to watch this with an open mind. A vulnerable, doe-eyed Korean girl Gina (Eva, you must widen your nationality taste pallete) meets a random guy in a restaurant. The guy has obvious interests in her, for he tolerates all her drunken antics and mannerisms. Visually, the casting has told a fair portion of the story. I felt the guy looked very nerdy and obviously a bad candidate for her affections, even if she was bisexual. The fact that she was gay made it even more comic.

The actress then went on to deliver a rivetting break-up aftermath act. Like a schizophrenic, she slouches her body against the sofa looking grim most of the time. But at certain moments, she straightens up for a certain reflexive actions, mostly related to 'bottoming-up' her drink. Then, there was the gritty crying portion. Locked within the noisy ambience of the restaurant, is an emotional outburst that you can see but cant really hear. Directorially, I think it is her style not to over-sentimentalise the scene. There was in fact a certain naturalistic distancing in the presentation.

Like London-Londres, there also a rehash of the issue of issue of alienation in a foreign place. In a bar scene later, we see the same pair leaning at a corner while we also catch patches of non-black hair in the background and foreground. And the Asian restaurant ambience is replaced by a Western pub bustle. I am suddenly reminded that she now feels doubly alienated. But unfortunately, the film does not deal with this adequately enough. It also feels that it comes from something personal rather something necessited by the flow of storytelling.

In a blue-tinted scene at a bridge (or walkway), the girl finally decides to break loose from the clingy guy and walk off. This is in fact a repeat of the opening scene. For me, it felt like her statement about 'dealing with the past before the future' was given a visual representation. Same actions (her walking off), different implications. So, it nicely gives the film a natural structure without trying to resolve the emotional mess the film has taken us through.
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