FILM REVIEW: Async
Async, a short film by Bank Tangjaitrong, explores the relationship between sounds and memories and a man’s journey to bridge these two worlds together in order to revive his significant other from her comatose state.
The film is an experiment in using ambient sounds to trigger visuals within memories while withholding as much dialogue as possible.
Director: Bank Tangjaitrong
Cast: Danny Lee, Alexandra Merle
Review by Jean Wong
Beautifully arresting, Async (2018) is a delicate film exploring the idea of love through sound and memory.
With a focus on ambient sound, the film takes us through shots of nature as birds chirp and the rustling of leaves plays in the background. With its stunning visuals, Async is definitely a work of art — but don’t let it fool you, because it is definitely a film that would shake you to the core.
Rather than having a dramatic plot or larger than life characters, the film instead uses quiet moments to draw out powerful sentiments in the viewer. This is successfully done through the (unnamed) protagonist’s soulful monologue along with the melancholic music in the background. With not much else to focus on apart from the quiet ambience, one can’t help but feel sad for the man, particularly as we learn what he’s going through.
While the ambient noises may reflect the protagonist’s memories with his lover, the silence in the present moment, save for the beeping of the machines, is jarring to say the least. The juxtaposition of the two sounds seems to serve as a painful reminder that memories will only stay memories. Watching him being stuck in the past, unable to move forward, is an agonising experience.
Apart from the great direction shown in the film, Async is also dominated with breathtaking visuals that carry the film forward. The camera lingers on shots of nature — the trees, the field, the sky — often with our protagonist as the only subject. This heavy focus on the protagonist also easily allows us to connect with him and his thoughts.
Though simple, Async shines with its wonderful direction and cinematography. More than just an experimental film that plays around with sound, Async is also a poignant story of melancholic longing and hopeless devotion.
About Shorties Film Festival
Shorties Film Festival is an annual week long celebration of Asia’s most exciting short films. Held across Asia from 7 – 11 May, the SFF seeks to celebrate and help young filmmakers get more exposure for their projects and films. Async will be screened on the 5th day of the festival. Get your tickets here. For more information, visit their Facebook page.