Singapore Short Film Awards - Linger by Sim Bee Li

An everyday scene with a daughter on her way out and her mum hanging up the clothes and doing the household chores in close view. Cut to stationary meditative shots of the kitchen sink and the cupobards with sunlight lingering on its surface. We then enter a different time when we get a closer glimpse of the daughter who receives a phone call asking for her mum and we know the time lapse from the news of the mother's death. There are no heightened dramatics, no big ceremonial send-offs. Only little gestures follow.

But it is the nothingness that helps create, so vividly, the feeling of a void. Like a sort of payout to the title 'Linger', the sense of loss permeates each scene subliminally. Vel Ng, breathes a passive-affected feel into the role - in a way that unique to her (as seen in other films). In fact, she personifies the mood of the film so well that her perspective dominates our understanding of the family's loss, a kind of lingering loss and not a grief-stricken, out-pouring type of loss.

Bee Li masters the framing to near-perfect state in which every choice of shot seems to fit the narrative like a glove. There was a one-shot moments between Vel and the father to emphasize a contentious situation. Subsequently, there was also an awkward two-shot that 'forced' the two characters into some kind of reconciliation. And there was a long shot of a them moving up a staircase that seemed to represent the notion of completing a passage, of which the film is about in figurative terms. Against an sizeable stack of local shorts about death and loss, this one does not break any new ground but at least it is well pruned in its own lawn.

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