Singapore Short Film Awards - A Father's Love by Bruce Lim Tiong Chuan

A green parrot with its pulsating chest visible in the foreground symbolically opens this documentary about a fairly original topic - single fathers. It seems to me cases of single fathers are either difficult to find or men would rather not talk about it. It has chosen 2 distinctly different men - one is a professional vet and the other in a more average job. One obviously in a more comfortabe financial standing than the other (although as he shared: half of his hard-earned money goes to his wife as settlement). But the biggest difference between the 2 is that the latter, Mr Henry Ong, has a disabled son. 

Because media has too often portrayed men to be out and about while women stay at home, when Henry shared that besides work, he does not move around much as he cannot afford the time, the gravity of the single-fatherhood struck hard. Before, many might have a Hollywood-ingrained idea of goofey single fathers who make a mess of their adopted motherly roles. But the whole things is still a happy-go-lucky blokey affair. In his simple and earnest documentary, he has managed to zero in what matters in the issue. Sometimes, it is not even the issue but the moments that arrest us. In particular, there was a lingering shot of Henry lifting his son up. It was a harrowing struggle and his son was reacting like cattle about to be slaughtered. And his haunting cries... 

Jean-Paul Ly on the other hand, is like a white collar version of the single fatherhood. Much less shocking but still an eye-opener on women who 'walk out of marriages'. I am a bit tempted to wonder why Bruce did not interview a third person because two seems like an odd number for a film. Complete things seem to come in threes. Perhaps, it's not the end of Bruce journey. let's hope he covers more ground in the future.

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