Youth Meets Film: Issue 5, 2018
12 December 2018
Youthfully Speaking #1: If Only We Had More Prizes
Before we begin, let me explain why this podcast has been transcribed. Just like The Imminent Immanent, we were helpless subjects to the forces of nature. A thunderstorm wreaked havoc on our podcast recording, resulting in the sound of rain being more of an annoyance than therapy. So, here is the podcast, transcribed for all to read. (A great blessing, as now, we can sound more fluent instead of having awkward pauses while waiting for the thunder to subside.)
Ryan: Hello! Welcome to the second episode Youthfully Speaking. This podcast was an initiative by the Youth Jury Critics of 2018 at the Singapore International Film Festival. Typically, we write articles and produce video essays, but this year, we are trying something new – Podcasts! Without further ado, let’s introduce everyone here. I’m Ryan and I will be the moderator of this discussion.
Vess: Hi, Im Vess.
Brandon: And I’m Brandon.
Ryan: Thanks for coming on the podcast with me today! So, just to get things started, let me give a recap of what transpired out of our Youth Jury discussions over the past weekend. We had a fruitful discussion with our mentor, Victor Fan, and there were a variety of criterion that people were looking into when judging their favourite films.
Vess: Essentially we all pitched for films that we liked and the criteria that we used was how these films provided novel perspectives on the themes they were addressing as well as how timely these messages were. We also looked at how best the films fit the short film form to share these messages.
Ryan: But we realised that through this process, some aspects of certain films got lesser attention. So, we are gathered today to discuss other prizes that we hoped we could give out while looking at the fundamental points we are looking out for when we are analysing short films.
Brandon: Many of these films impacted me on an emotional level and I think that the reason why these films have to be discussed.
Ryan: I’m wondering how emotional response and technical elements blend together. When you say a film impacts you – I’m sure you mean the technical aspects as well like sound or cinematography. The best film being a combination of all. But, when we awarded the prize, we condensed all of these technical things primarily into an emotional response.
Brandon: Exactly. For me, I think the cinematography this year was outstanding. Judgement stood out to me because the Director of Photography used the medium to put us into the world very well. It felt more like a documentary rather than a narrative. The shots were mostly handheld in tight spaces, bringing us closer to the actors and letting us feel the emotions of the actors.
Vess: Personally, I try to pay attention and be in-tune with the use of sound in film and A Ballad of Blood and Two White Buckets, with the cough, was a great example of how to shock your audience and bring a message across through creating an auditory environment.
Ryan: Yes! I think what Ballad does well is how uncomfortable the sound makes me feel which encouraged me emphasise with the plight the characters were going through.
Brandon: Actually, if you know me, I really hate the sound of coughing and Ballad really triggered me, but I think that was exactly the point. The coughs were in the forefront of the film and the director used it really well to convey the message really well. But, the sound use in the documentary The Sea Recalls was very powerful for me. The sharp and piercing gunshots through the reenactments mixed with silence, really wakes you up to the severity of the situation even though we don’t see any action in these empty rooms.
Ryan: Another thing we looked at while voting was the theme. Were there any themes or common threads you guys want to give a shout out to?
Vess: This year, the theme of identity and exploring one’s identity was very evident in all of the short films. It kind of reminded me of how some films can actually be watched together as a double bill.
Ryan: Oh, which ones?
Vess: Kado and The Ant-Man for me could be watched as a double bill because The Ant-Man perfectly picks off from where Kado ends – from the realisation and internalisation of difference to coping with how that uncomfortable that difference can make you feel.
Ryan: One other part that we haven’t spoken of yet is the performance by the actors in the short films. The rawness of the performance in Judgement moved me a lot. You can say that she wasn’t speaking much in the film, but, to me, it’s not so much about what is being said but what is conveyed through the subtlety in her acting. I was just paying so much attention to the sadness, fury, and rage that can be conveyed through just a single look.
Brandon: I think the girl from Kado, Isfira Febiana, who worked with the director previously, deserves to be mentioned. This was a very personal performance for her, it never felt like she was putting up a front. This really drew me into the film as it brought out really great moments.
Vess: I really enjoyed the father and son performance in Bo Hai because everything felt very organic. And also, the father and son story is a narrative that is rarely told and I think Bo Hai did it very sensitively.
Ryan: It seems like we have discussed rather serious films so far but this year, we had really entertaining films as well. From the experimental Room With A Coconut View to Luzon. No one really saw those films coming and it definitely generated a lot of heated discussions. I wouldn’t truly say that these films were exemplars of being most entertaining but we were truly moved by them which goes to show you that a film does not have to be serious to have a message and be impactful as well.
Brandon: Yeah, most of these films shared political statements while entertaining, which was highly effective for me.
Ryan: Alright, I think that is just about as much time as we have today. Thank you Vess and Brandon for joining me on today’s episode of Youthfully Speaking. There will be more articles, video essays and podcasts published soon, so keep your eye on the Youth Meets Film platform.