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Waiting for Love

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Three couples; three different versions of love. What is your idea of love? What do you feel when your boy/girlfriend asks you to get married? Will you be happy? Afraid? Do you even want to get married?

Waiting for Love presents an open debate between the traditional custom of marriage and the idea of co-habitation as an alternative means of matrimony.

A line that recurs during the film is, “People become different after they get married.” These three couples are stuck in limbo of a long-stagnating relationship and what seemingly comes after that – marriage.

It is interesting how the director, James Lee, maintains the anonymity of the characters by not giving them names. He also uses the same location throughout the film, merely changing the characters in it. By doing so I feel he is bringing out the fact that it is not whether you co-habitate in the same place or other material things that sustains the relationship; it is the people in it.

People who have gone through relationships would know that initial stages of a relationship is always the most exciting. Things only start to breakdown and previous plans for the future change after a being with each other a long time. In the case of Waiting for Love, it is through co-habitation that the couples discover this.

This film is a brilliant depiction of reality. The mundane life and the dragginess of each day allows the audience to be engaged in the emotion as well. Sometimes there are pockets of great silence, other times are just spent quarrelling. As the film provides situations in which love can breakdown, we are forced to question our own relationships, if you have one.

The first way, illustrated by couple #1, is an emotional breakdown of a person in the relationship. In this case, it is the female who is problematic but this can happen the other way. Her hostile attitude and her irresponsible behaviour towards the daily chores of the house is evident of her indifference towards the relationship. She voices out her reluctance of getting married due to fear. Though she gives no more elaboration on that, perhaps it is due to fear of being burdened with responsibilities.

Couple #2 consists of a domineering but good-for-nothing man and a career woman. Here, it is the man who refuses to marry her by confessing of a promise he made to father never to marry a woman who cannot speak proper Cantonese. They show apparent signs of love and compromise until, well, the making out portion.

Finally, couple #3. Laying the bare facts on the table about their views on getting married may seem like dead end for them. However, it is this honesty that might change everything.

Another commonality between the three couples is the act of making out in order to make up. Of course, at the juncture for the couples, no amount of kissing is going to invigorate them to love each other more or get married for that matter. I could go on talking about sexual desires and the sacredness of marriage but I think there’s enough material in real life to tell you the various different stances that people have.

Ultimately, the film reminds us that it takes two hands to clap for relationships and, I would dare say, even friendships to work.

The film seems to provide an alternative for those fearful of marriage. However, I feel this alternative of co-habitation cheapens the untainted notion of love being about commitment and faithfulness. Co-habitation seems to me as just a suspension of the fantasy of puppy love.

Waiting For Love will be the last of James Lee’s love trilogy screening at the SinemAsian showcase, ‘Filem Bagus!‘, held at Sinema OldSchool, on the 28th of February 2009. James Lee is set to feature in the special edition of SAMPLIFY! at the end of the screening.

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