"Acting is the ability to live truthfully under imaginary circumstances." -- Sanford Meisner


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Friday, December 20, 2013

The Lying Theory

The Lying Theory, written/directed by Lauren Teo. Picture: Julie Tan
I was roped in for the minor role of the philandering father less than a day before the shoot, as I didn't put myself forward for it and I swear I don't have any experience in that department. But together with the lovely Sharon Hoo, who played the role of the mistress, we managed to pull it off, culminating with the mother  (Karen Tan) dropping the cake, beating the mistress up and young Claire's (Kyra Cheung) childhood bliss for a trusting father broken forever..

It was one of the many times I have acted with Karen and my first with Sharon and Kyra, and at that time didn't know that the older Claire would be played by Julie Tan, whom I later acted with in the movie "That Girl in Pinafore". Then, Julie was a student in NAFA, before her foray into mainstream acting at Mediacorp TV.

I didn't have any expectations from this film besides knowing what I had to do in the scene and that it is about  a cute 'Lying Theory'. So it is a pleasant surprise to watch it today and discover the more inspiring bigger picture.

If only more people realise that lies no matter how well hidden emit different energies and thought forms than truth does. Lies also compound matters into bigger unexpected ones, often with undesirable results. We can spot a lie by the weaker tone of the voice, the unnecessary longer pauses in between the speech, the defensive body language and the inconsistencies of data that follow. Sometimes, it would be just the inexplicable hunch that something is amissed.  If only everyone has Claire's clairvoyant abilities, then perhaps less people will lie and the world would be a simpler place without the myriad of falsehoods criss-crossing our lives and making them more complicated .

Post scriptum:

"The Lying Theory" is nominated for Best Script in the 5th Singapore Short Film Awards 2014.


Thursday, December 12, 2013

Film Review - Firestorm

At a film festival recently, Hong Kong actor Andy Lau said in jest that he is expensive because he is worth it. This is also why I feel "Firestorm" is worth watching. However overall, the movie fails to lead the audience into a believable action-thriller..

But after accepting some excesses and fantasies, I felt that I  need to draw a line at some point in the movie.

In a nutshell, the plot capitalises on the bad guys' superiority in the robberies and consistently keeping a few steps ahead of the game. They are better than the police in ground intelligence, technologies and  firepower, and moreover are a dab hand at shooting on target at the police, while they themselves would miraculously escape death and bullets. This despite being widely exposed to gunfire most of the time  - well, not until the very end when they too get gunned down.. But the real thorn in the eye is not the above-mentioned visual gimmicks, but the other logical contradictions that stand in the way. 

For instance, why didn't the police use their ability to trace IP addresses and GPS locations of the baddies; or simply arrest the crane operator that lifted the police armour car? Wouldn't that be easier than searching the myriad of CCTV footages from the cameras dotted around the city?

Okay,  I am no party-pooper, as afterall, movies are fantasies and we all need some. I did enjoy the great escapism that are expected of such movies - the gun fights; the grenade blasts;  the fist fights that fall several floors down and yet hit the ground running (pun intended).

What stands out in this movie is also the computer graphics (CGI) of the colossal damages by the bombs and blasts - very impressive by Asian cinematic standards.

I would consider "Firestorm" to be a big budget visual action-thriller rather than one that is character driven and inspirational.  If you go with such expectations, then you will probably be more forgiving and not be disappointed.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Comchest : Gift

With Jon and Daniel.

This is one of my favourite short films. It is produced by The Creative Room, directed by Daniel Yam, for the Singapore Community Chest (Comchest). Comchest initially wanted a corporate video style of presentation, but Daniel sold them  this compelling short story instead.

During the audition, Daniel asked for a monologue with my (imaginary) son going through his growing pains, his delinquency and consequential jail sentence. Next, Daniel asked for the contrary, that I celebrate this (imaginary) son's jail term and urge him to make the most out it - to test how far my emotions can stretch and my ability to take directions. 

The script was one of the more challenging ones as it required  me to be in a cheerful disposition, but with an underlying sadness that culminated into sheer dispondence. This, when he realised that he will miss out seeing his son again in his final moments.  I guess there may be many people that too live through such situations, given that it is common for one to leave their hometown for cities to etch out a career. So this is some food for thought. I can relate to some of that personally. In addition, I also learn that I ought to smile more in my own life off-reel, as it does make life feel a lot happier.
This was the first time that I have acted as a clown. It was energy sapping to deliver extreme expressions continuously to entertain. A clown cannot let his guard down for even one moment, as all eyes are constantly on him to deliver the comic. 

And so I wonder, "Can a clown be truly happy inside?"

Though I was exhausted and stretched by the broad range of emotions in this production, I really enjoy and treasure the experience. I am satisfied with the result as it tells a story that both entertain and inspire.

Post scriptum:
The scenes at the old folks home and children's home reminded me of my student days in the Polytechnic. Then, we visited and served the homes every weekend. It was also the time when I performed sobbing stories on stage to encourage freshmen to become volunteers to serve the underprivileged. Those were truly happy days. Happy, because we gave.