Singapore Short Film Awards - Moon by Sudeep Bhupal Singh

The title in its Chinese character (yue) carries a quite a handful of connotations. And the profoundness of this single word is testified by the fact that it appears in almost every Chinese song. It has been used to represent everything from sadness to hope. Therefore, it surprised me when I realised the film's been directed by an Indian. On a humorous note, I hope he's not thought of the title solely from the word 'moonlighting'.

Yes, moonlighting happens to the subject of 'Moon' the film. Though the direction and narrative of the film are rather run-off-the-mill, it has a certain plain honesty about it. From the first scene, you get a sense that Sudeep wastes no time in telling the story. A tartily-clad girl enters a room flooded in red-light. As she drags her feet towards the mirror to check her appearance for the umpteenth time, I cannot help but notice the roll of toilet paper on the dressing table, a symbol of her daily fate. After the prologue, we enter her real life proper. Her mother is ill and needs noney for medical treatment and her father disapproves of late nights (even though he has no idea that she is moonlighting in an objectionable industry). After her father's burst of anger one morning, she even has buys him a present and begs for his forgiveness. Doesn't she sleep at all!?

Touched by her sincerity, he accepts her present. But the peace is short-lived. On a subsequent day, when the family has decided to stay at home for dinner, the girl receives yet another working call. And she was in for a huge jolt of her consciousness. Though the material is not new, I sat watching with a sense of dark satisfaction as I saw the look of both her face and her 'client's face'. I admit the film is commonplace in its style but I applaud Sudeep for boldly pushing forward a situation and telling it like it is. It is not shocking but it gets you under your skin a little.

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