FILM REVIEW: CA$H2 min readReading Time: 2 minutes
After discovering that they will be replaced by a cashless payment system, the four cashiers of a supermarket lock themselves in the store to protest technology replacing their jobs. We follow them throughout the night as they resist the management’s threats and each other’s stance on this issue.
Director: Tan Wei Ting
Cast: Judy Ngo, Doreen Toh, Jalyn Han, Catherine Wong
Review by Jean Wong
Ca$h (2018) is one of twenty short films produced under the Temasek Short Film Project, which aims to provide aspiring filmmakers with funds and mentoring opportunities. Known as Project 20/20, it focuses on the theme of the impact of technology. Ca$h zooms in on the increasing number of automated jobs and tackles the issues raised as such.
In a rapidly developing city like Singapore, the skyrocketing literacy rate for the youth means that the older generation, with their limited education, face higher levels of economic immobility. With this in mind and their own families to look after, the four cashiers in Ca$h decide to stake out the supermarket they work at to protest the loss of their jobs.
When the management shows up and offers them a compensation, however, disagreements start to surface. In a bid to prevent the door from being opened, the protagonist, Xiao Mei, runs off with the keys. This catalyses a game of chase amongst the cashiers and is the climax of the film. The music in this scene — and not forgetting the rest of the film — is utilised brilliantly to heighten the tension of the chase.
The chase scene was also cleverly set up considering the whole film takes place in a small supermarket. Using the limited space available, the director made use of the aisles to alter with our perception of distance so that two of the cashiers seem far apart when in reality they are near each other, and vice versa. This adds to the apprehension that the viewer might experience when watching Ca$h.
In the end, it was not so much their money that the cashiers wanted to protect, but rather, their pride in their work. Being outstanding cashiers might be the only job that they excelled at or could excel at, and they wanted to uphold their honour in it. Watching Ca$h definitely made me appreciate such workers a lot more, as they often take on jobs that majority of Singaporeans, particularly the youth, avoid doing.