Review - 'Walk Slowly' by Jessleen Loy (La Salle's Putnam School of Film Showcase)

The observatory documentary by Jessleen Loy is a quiet, meditative piece on the process of growing old and the resilience of living alone in one's twilight years. Chock full of pregnant pauses and poignant dead time, the camera follows 75-year old Leong Kam Choon as he goes about his daily living in a humble one-room flat. 

It's uncertain, watching the film, if Loy knows the old uncle personally, or if she approached him as a stranger, intrigued by his life. In any case, it's evident that the elderly Mr. Leong is an interesting and endearing character, and this shows in his many musings on living life simply and taking things as they come, and in the coda where he ingenuously fashions a useful apparatus out of a simple plastic container. It's a beautiful, moving film about what it means to get by; a dark horse that unfolds gently and leaves its thematic whispers heavy in a trail of emptiness.

Watching The Kings, and Walk Slowly makes one ponder on the issues of ethical filmmaking: where do documentary filmmakers draw the line between championing a character and creating--intentionally or not--opportunistic, or at worse, exploitative portraits? As we see the vulnerabilities of the characters onscreen, do they know that we sometimes laugh at and not with them? Is the telling of their stories, or even the strange, unsolicited sympathies that are forcefully evoked from the audience, worth the baring of a pound of soul?

For the graduating class of LASALLE, the answer seems to be a resounding "yes." But the filmmaker's privileged access to the private lives of others is accompanied with a heavy responsibility, and one can never be too careful when treading on another's dreams.

Review by Tay Huizhen

Here is the trailer of the film:

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