V1K1 – A Techno Fairytale
If youâ€™re looking for consistently unconventional short films in Singapore, look no further than the works of Tzang Merwyn Tong, who throws up non-formulaic tales that fuses fairy tales with edgy punk and heavy techno influences concocting a strange amalgamation of genres that always somehow click and work wonders.
Known for e’TZAINTES and A Wicked Tale, the latter which took on Red Riding Hood in more adult terms before Catherine Hardwicke’s came along, Tzang embarks on yet another tech-influenced project this time with students from a local Institute of Technical Education.
As such, while the film undeniably has Tzangâ€™s signature treatment all over it, the execution though did come off more as a student project to allow his largely student crew a first hand experience in making a film, never shying away from dabbling with special effects that worked in some moments, while others did come off as slightly raw. But no venture no gain, and hopefully Tzang did manage to influence some of the students to further explore the technical competencies required in filmmaking, and hopefully we do see a fresh crop of graduates skilled in both the art and science of genre and fantasy filmmaking as the years move along, possessing no fear in tapping onto their imagination to tell stories.
And a fantasy sci-fi story this is, with a group of whatâ€™s termed as Fairies of Misfortune having to spend time on earth as self-proclaimed agents of change, possessing supernatural powers that remained under wraps until an action filled final act. In the meantime you get plenty of philosophical talk between Fairies, and a scientist who had captured one of them for further research, the former who unwittingly discovers a weak point in the chinks of the Fairiesâ€™ armour that provides for an upper hand in negotiations, or so he thought. Ah, the follies of the human being.
In some ways this short film also served as a showreel of sorts to demonstrate the raw energy that the ITE students bring to the table. Granted not all aspects of this film is as polished as Tzangâ€™s earlier works, but youâ€™d realize that perhaps one of the best and more direct ways of learning is to walk the talk. And at times I felt the techno-babble came on a little too strong for the actors to grasp, that their rote memorizing of lines unfortunately rang through to take some shine off their performances. But it more than made up for it with some incredible VFX stunt sequences for a modestly budgeted film.
Still, for its objectives set forth, V1K1 managed to have the Tzang rubber stamp in concocting a tale of the unconventionally engaging, and one wonders just how different this would have turned out with if the writer-director had a much larger budget at hand. For those who are keen to catch this, you can do so this Thursday at Sinema Old School, and details of the encore screening can be found here.