FILM REVIEW: My Ba’s Radio2 min readReading Time: 2 minutes
An ailing father living in a bubble continues to find connections with his deceased wife through a small radio. This is much to the disapproval of his adult son who has returned from the city to take care of him.
Director: Victor Chen Yee Fei
Cast: Tam Yee Swee, Fai Chen
Language: Mandarin, Cantonese
Review by Jean Wong
My Ba’s Radio (2017) is a sentimental film that resonates with its timeless message of love, loss and everything in between. With a compelling story and even better direction from Victor Chen, this film is a masterpiece that everyone is sure to easily appreciate.
Right from the get go, My Ba’s Radio manages to captivate viewers with its silent interaction between the titular father and his son. Within the first minute of the film, we are already aware of the unnatural atmosphere between the two.
Despite the lack of verbal interaction, the opposing personalities between the two is made very clear. The son (Fai Chen) exudes modernity with his dress shirt and tie while the father (Tam Yee Swee) is a picture of obsolescence with his singlet and shorts. The constant buzzing of the son’s phone fights with the father’s antique radio to be heard. The fight for control in this household is hinted at through such visual cues, as the father grapples with the loss of his wife and the son similarly grapples with the loss of his mother.
The vast amount of detail that goes into setting up the context for the film pays off, as the rest of the film unfolds with an air of despondence while we watch the push-pull nature of the father and son’s relationship, which seems to be a result of their different ways of dealing with grief.
Apart from the opening scene, My Ba’s Radio is a film steeped in silence that forces the audience to pay attention to what is happening on screen. The many close-up shots of the father and son also adds to the sense of being present during those intimate moments with them, drawing the audience to become unknowingly invested in the film.
The father’s attachment to the radio speaks volumes about how we desperately hold on to anything that serves as a reminder of our loved ones. Learning that My Ba’s Radio is based on a true story makes the film all the more compelling. With such a personal element attached to it, the film easily shines through with its story of love, loss, and reconciliation.
My Ba’s Radio ultimately proves artistry can come out of simplicity. Though it does not use many words, the film is able to evoke feelings of sorrow and deliver an everyday story in a meaningful and powerful way.
Click here to watch My Ba’s Radio (2017).