Review - 'The Perfect Grey' by Edwin Ho

A short trip to Spain opens the eyes of a young Singaporean (half-Spanish) man to relationships, and, as the title suggests, a realm where conventional lines are blurred. Juan, by virtue of his mixed heritage, is fundamentally caught in between different cultures and affinities and fits the role of a person who is in search of something balancing point. To fins out more about his mother who died suddenly, he takes a trip to Barcelona where his Spanish roots are found. This is where he meets 2 friends who bring to him a different perspective towards life.

The 2 friends are a couple and they love to party. The girl shares that it is in their blood to party and they would find a reason to party everyday, even when things get heavy. Not a bad piece of advice for a straight-laced Singaporean. And so, loosing his Singaporean need for rules and habits, he gives in to the alcohol-filled, waking-up-on-the-sofa brand of Spanish bohemia.

Edwin Ho, the director displays a sensitivity towards human interaction in the way he initiates Juan into their lives – curiously, yet skeptically and very naturally. What we see is an un-engineered rubbing of energies. Juan comes in as a outsider but melds into the life of the couple in no time. Both the male and female half of the couple warm up to Juan, sometimes with a tinge of sexual tension but never falling into the trap of a love triangle cliché. The most memorable part of the film is when the girl fails to get a train home to see her ailing mum and comes home in tears. Both men comfort her and they end up in an ambiguous three-party romp, reminiscent of Boo Junfeng’s ‘A Family Portrait’ that tells of family that operates on a ménage-a-trois.

This ‘grey’ approach to love, is it an enlightened view of a ‘Bohemian’ culture or the director’s mature and intuitive approach towards directing his actors? It seems like a combination of both, making this short film a subtle yet potent sangria. Sweet too.

Review by Jeremy Sing
This film was first screened at Substation's First Takes in 2013

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