LaSalle AVANT Showcase - 'Labour Day' by He Shuming

Coming in as the longest film of the showcase at 25 minutes, Labour Day captures the collision of idealistic dreams and harsh realities through the eyes of its two protagonists – Zoe, who dreams of a better future for her family back home while escaping from the clutches of a failed relationship; and Purple, the oft-stereotyped study-mama with the unfavoured but sole route of providence for her child.

If pensive stares into space epitomise the dead-end conundrum the duo are resigned to, the desperate measures and untenable dreams they seek add some light-hearted,
albeit pitiable situations to the mix.

The scenes between the two and their landlady Cik – who serves as a smart plot device to intertwine the three – flesh out their personas well, but if there was any criticism, the dialogue comes across as somewhat awkward and contrived – made worse by the attempts in using a bilingual Zoe to bridge the language barrier between Cik and Purple.

What one takes away though is merited by an inventive ending and the poignant plot premise of those seeking the notion of “a better life” on our shores and the aged left by the wayside.

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