Making the case of a little film: Twogether by Victric Thng
At The Substation Theatre screening on July 26, short film Twogether by Victric Thng had its belated Singapore premiere in the still ongoing 5th Singapore Short Cuts programme. Though there have been a few reviews coming forward from the usual sources, I donâ€™t see that this 90 second piece so far has been duly recognised for what it is. So I shall try to fill in some of the gaps.
Whether you really need to see much of an act of defiance in this one is of course debatable; not so the fact that it is gay themed. However, even 1,5 minutes seem like an awful long time for stating the obvious, and in my view this short is really too self assured in its portrayal as to be counted as a political statement. Donâ€™t you have eyes to see? Do you really need an explanation? Then, I ask, why would you care to watch at all? There is more refinement at work (and in place) here.
Yes, Twogether is a simple film, but it is not simplistic (counter to what some are just a little too quick to assume). This very short film, in what can rightfully be considered a visual pun, plays on the very technique of film storytelling economics. One shot, one scene, and yet, a sequence and a twist â€“ despite being so purposefully reduced, we get the whole thing in this extreme short. We are even being treated to an intro as well as corresponding outro passage: the black bars opening and closing shut again.
This editing frame, in fact, is part of the image unfolding and getting us right into the head of the real protagonist here: the observing mind (or heart) pondering a situation. As the camera eye is capturing â€“ and manipulating â€“ a frame taken out of the rigid regime and constraints of reality, it transforms factual logic by replacing it with the much truer logic of perception, the congruity of feelings. And then, in the sliding, there is a certain slickness which is difficult to specify, for it comes like some underlying soft cruelty that lends the piece a pleasurable eeriness and makes it so enjoyable to watch.
Suspended in a daydream, the observer (the sympathetic human mind) can make things happen. And all the while the persistent flow of water â€“ as it comes streaming in a mesmerizing lull of an ever so gentle cascading towards the viewer â€“ tells of continuity and permutation. It comes as a most stunning and memorable discovery to see this flow as a supporting static, almost as architecture and a liquefied epistyle. All this is subtle like a motion canvas and philosophical as it was first meant to be: only nature observing. For lack of any better word I call this brilliant!
The accompanying minimal music especially, and that almost self-effacing postscript â€“ all perfectly balanced and I shall say no more. Maybe the key strength of this filmic miniature is that it tells the viewer as much as it is asking (of) him. As it turns out, it is quite a lot for just 90 seconds of film, is it not? In all, this little film is more profoundly telling and powerful than much of what some among the more established directors can deliver in their standard 90 minutes worth of utterly redundant runtime.
If Singapore critics are unable or unwilling to recognise such truly remarkable visual ingenuity so originally incorporated in Twogether, then, I am afraid, the case for cinema in your country would have to be considered already lost.