The Consequences of Intimacy
Aung Phyoe’s Cobalt Blue is an investigation on just how far those ripples can travel and how destructive they can be to anyone in their path. It is the year 1998 in Yangon, and in the midst of civil unrest during the 8-8-8-8 uprising, a mother and son are trapped in quiet sorrow. They are about to move away from Yangon due to the husband/father’s relocation there. Both of them have found relationships with Aung Ko, a family friend who dreams of working on a ship but has no money to. Aung Ko is at in the eye of the storm. As the concentric circles of the relationships he’s built with this family tighten, they spring apart violently as the time moves them further apart.
Aung Ko has a tight relationship with everyone in the family except possibly the father who he addresses as “sir”, the formal bearing is kept probably because of social standing and that the father pays him for helping out around the house. He is much more familiar with the mother and the son, and this is what leads to his downfall.
Aung Ko’s relationship with the boy is more complex. He gets the boy a goodbye card that plays music when he opens it, he wants to take the boy out, he feels like an older brother to him. After the boy witnessed the scene below the house between Aung Ko and his mother, he is increasingly hostile to Aung Ko, tearing apart the farewell card, refusing to be touched by him. The boy has been incredibly hurt by what he saw, too immature to properly process what’s going on yet mature enough to understand that wrong has been committed. He rejects the relationship between his mother and Aung Ko, accusing him of getting the farewell card for someone else and threatening to tell on him, possibly to the father.
It seems as though Aung Ko is being squeezed on all sides, and the film makes us sympathise with him as his relations with the family fall one by one like dominos. In the last scene he is the only one dressed in black, his figure diminishing as the truck pulls away, he walks towards the truck as though he wants to catch up to it but stops abruptly. Aung Ko watches the truck leave with shoulders slumped, his ties severed from the family both physically and metaphorically.
The butterfly theory boils down to the consequences of actions, and Aung Ko is reaping the consequences of his intimate relationship with the mother, and they have left him reeling, unsure, and left behind, reflecting the state of the country and a generation lost to dissonance.
– Clement Yue