3rd SSFA 2012 - Review of Bliss (Nominee)

3rd SSFA 2012 - Review of Bliss (Nominee)

Bliss – Liang Xuan

Bliss is Liang Xuan’s first film. A photographer turned filimmaker, it is no wonder this short was nominated for the running to win the Best Cinematographer award in this year’s SSFA. The cinematography is gorgeous to watch.

I particularly liked the use of lighting in the short. For example, the dimming glow of orange light in the house was used when telling the story of Nick’s mother’s degeneration into suicide. While at present day, the light used was bright and well-lit, possibly telling of Nick’s maturity and reconciliation of the darkness of his past.

 Young Nick (Dark dim light)
Present day Nick (Bright light)

There are several beautiful passages in the short, however, I felt that it also became a little lost in the journey in telling how Nick struggled to sell the house he grew up in.

Along the way, the protagonist became merely a mouthpiece, a narrative to drive the storytelling of the frustration, the sadness and the eventual self-destruction of Nick’s mother.  It was indulging in portraying the spiraling destruction of the mother, rather than showing why Nick was unwilling to sell the house away. There were too many scenes of Nick’s mother snorting drugs and smoking, without the resistance of the young Nick coming in to stop her other than one scene later nearing the end of the short.

It was a fantastic first attempt at Liang Xuan, but would be better with a tighter storyline. The cinematography though, is undoubtedly lush and gorgeous. 

For the full list of award winners of 3rd SSFA, see Sindie's coverage here

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