Singapore Short Film Awards - The Triumph by Ting Szu Kiong

Szu Kiong's films play a unique part in the filmmaking scene in that no other filmmaker makes films like his. And he takes risks. Well, not entirely because he's got the blessings of SFC for a number of his films. Take a look at the things he's made: The Triumph (1930s period short involving guns and rickshaws), The Forest Spirits (wu xia short, need I say more?) and he's on his way to make something about a vampire to he effect of the Hong Kong Vampire movies by Raymond Wong. 

Several things raise the skepticism about The Triumph. For a young director, it seems too ambitious to do period films. The mediocre acting reared its head at the first entrance of a character. Subsequent delivery was stilted and stagey (the girl who played the lead still pulled a palatable performance). Take away the grandeur of a period drama, the film is really resting on fragile ground. But there was a silver lining  - a moderate surprise that served to pay off my patience in watching the film. The girl who watches a dozen men fight endlessly over power gets to claim a reward for herself for living through these episodes. She keeps their charms that they wear on their neck and accumulate some good fortune for herself. 
It's hard to decide if this is strange or not. In a way, the film does not make a point because this is just about her enigmatic hobby of collecting charms and it leads to a free lunch (in the form of a handsome suitor). However, for the risks that she bore sitting through fights between men, this is a payoff, so it is essentially more than about the hobby, but a reward for braving the realities of her life. Perhaps, if it was made clearer how she paid her dues to be so blessed, then we could walk away with a amulet of wisdom about life.

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