FILM REVIEW: The Mosquito Patch 防蚊貼片
Kaikai, a 17 year old high schooler, is declared brain dead after an unfortunate car accident. The doctor recommends his parents to give their consent for organ donation. Kaikai’s father thinks it is a moral decision to make since Kaikai is still young and he would be able to contribute himself one last time. But Kaikai’s mother is hesitant about this decision and is unable to make up her mind.
Director: Lian Kien-Hui
Cast: He Zi-Hua, Qu Zhong-Heng, Jiang Yi-Chen, Yang Jing-Hui, Hong Qun-Zhen
Review by Jean Wong
With an interesting title, The Mosquito Patch (2018) draws us in from the start and keeps us engaged with its wistful storyline. Revolving around the mother of a brain dead boy, the film explores the strange relationship between mosquito patches and family in this doleful tale. However, as with most relationships, it is often the little memories that end up holding the most significance to us. The Mosquito Patch portrays exactly this as it follows a mother’s tumultuous day upon finding out her son is brain dead. With love, loss and heartbreak in the mix, this film is one emotional chronicle to follow.
In a series of life-changing events, Kaikai’s mother not only finds out that she is on the verge of losing her son but also learns his dark secret. Swamped by so many new revelations, Kaikai’s mother attempts to reconcile the Kaikai she knows with this unfamiliar version. While struggling to handle the idea of losing her son, she goes on a quest to uncover the truth — both of what happened, and of who the real Kaikai is. Her search for answers results in bittersweet conclusions that poignantly wraps up her son’s (life) story.
An otherwise predictable story, The Mosquito Patch is made a lot more raw and realistic by giving Kaikai character flaws. It avoids making the typical victim the straightforward good guy, but rather, develops his character in a more dynamic manner. With Kaikai as the catalyst, the film then explores the reactions of other characters, such as Kaikai’s mother, to this accident. Though a secondary character, Kaikai’s father is not neglected either and we see this pan out in his delayed reaction later on.
The skillful editing in The Mosquito Patch adds to the haphazard sense that seems to reflect Kaikai’s mother’s emotions. The non-sequential flow of events presented to us in the film adds to the idea that she is dealing with a lot at once. It is thus no surprise when she eventually breaks down — a scene that is made all the more painful and jarring considering her lack of reaction in the beginning. Just as in real life, thoughts, memories, and emotions do not happen in sequence and this intentional editing gives the film a realistic touch.
Overall, The Mosquito Patch is a poignant film that holds many emotionally strong moments while tackling the idea of loss. Whether you’re a parent, a partner or a child, this film is sure to pull on your heartstrings.