FILM REVIEW: Cannonball

30 November 2018

FILM REVIEW: Cannonball

Cannonball is an experimental road music film following the gonzo journey of Frank and Lily, partners by chance and circumstance, in their search for the Sunbathing Dog. Through all the oddball characters, strange places and sounds, will they ever find it?

DIRECTORS: Mark Chua, Lam Li Shuen
CAST: Frank Lee, Lily Ma, Shoeb Ahmad
YEAR: 2018
RUNTIME: 65 min

Review by Miranda Cardenas

Cannonball doesn’t quite make sense but that’s okay – it’s still fascinating.

The film is Singaporean sound project ARE’s self-produced experimental travelogue, chronicling their album tour through Australia. It’s a series of live musical performances, candid interviews, scripted encounters, theatrical monologues, and snippets of real life; all of these loosely connected by two companions’ quest to find a mystical creature, the Sunbathing Dog.

The line between documentary and fiction is blurred, reinforced by stylistic decisions. Most of the film is shot handheld, making it feel intimate, like taking handphone videos of your friends on a good night you want to remember. The visual post-processing is minimal and raw, and the editing makes the film less of a narrative and more like a dream.

Indeed, dreams come up often. The protagonists (characters? documentary subjects?) dwell on it, coaxing people to share their dreams. One character talks about waking up from a dream only to find himself in another one, and the film is kind of like that – when you wake up from a long sleep and for a second you’re halfway between fantasy and reality. The two co-exist. Cannonball is that moment. (And then you wake up all the way and get a little bit confused trying to remember what you dreamt about.)

Watching this film is definitely an experience. Cannonball is not for everyone, but it is unafraid and different, and the Singaporean film scene could always use more of that.

If you want to catch Cannonball, it will be screening at the Singapore International Film Festival on 2 December 2018, 7:00PM at The Cathay. Tickets are available through the SGIFF website here.

Miranda loves film, hates beansprouts, and is still trying to figure out how to do bubblegum bubbles.