'One Sunny Morning' by BK Lim

Many people 'took away' with them the clowns walking out of One Sunny Morning, BK Lim's award winning short film. It defies narrative logic and realism and creates an obvious mental node for the audience. For fans of art-house cinema, they will find the visual a familiar reference. In Michaelangelo Antonioni's iconic Blow Up. a troupe of mime actors perched on a moving lorry arrive at a tennis court and start creating a surreal pandemonium. In One Sunny Morning, a troupe of clown with similar mime make-up hijack protagonist Juan route to work, blurring the lines between realism and expressionism. Quite aptly, BK was quick in defending his off-tangent stroke and seeming act of plagiarism as a tribute to the arthouse films he's been a huge fan of. The stroke hits half the time and misses the other half the time, feeling like strange transplant.

For me, the film resonated on a different frequency. For a first time effort, the actors slid snugly into their well crafted roles. There is Juan, the married man who takes a step off his conventional path and take a chance with a fresh, young, hot-blooded stud he met at the swimming pool. Likewise, Nick, the young stallion at the pool wanders off the muscle-fraternity into mature territory with Juan. Sounds like an HIV prevention ad? Well, kind of, only this one digs deeper into the characters. Indeed, the conversation that follows in the morning after reflects the seasoned eyes of someone who's seen through the traps of relationships. It is intense, yet not psychotically so. Nick is as unsure as much as he is feeling the loss of Juan. Yet, somewhere in between dilemma and loss was room for some humour that lifted the characters beyond being the token halves of a break-up scene. 

The film appeared to be a tight and rather successful collaboration between the 2 leads and the director. Keagan Kang and Nicholas Bloodworth. Both actors nailed hue of emotion to near perfection and with economy and restraint despite needing to show how smitten they were by each other. Getting straight actors and a straight director to recreate what is potentially a complex gay relationship is not like novices figuring out how to make explosions look real on screen. It is not rocket science and BK's chosen rather appropriately to address affection as pure affection, with no strings tied to sexuality. One of the best parts of the narrative is exactly its economy - how it chose to 'tag' clues of Juan's married life, how a simple 'I Love You' drew the film to a bittersweet and also disturbing close. The only fissure in the plot could be the difficulty in reconciling how a one night stand can affect young Nick whose vulnerability seems an incredible surprise. 

BK mentioned about the circularity in his plot during the Q&A. My first encounter with this film adds special meaning to it. I walked in late, in the middle of Juan and Nick's pensive conversation. It was not difficult to sink fast and deep into their tangle. The film ended with Nick creeping in from behind and whispering the famous three words to Juan. Like a kind of reverse cliffhanger, my payoff came when I stayed for the re-screening of the film and finally saw the opening, making me believe this was one lesson in telling a love story I needed to take home.

Written by Jeremy Sing
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