Directed by #KyungSokKim
Written by #RexReyesII
Short Film Review by Jack Bottomley
A point of change is something we all have to go through in life. Sometimes it’s a little different to what we are used to, other times it is a monumental turn around and life will never really be the same again. And it feels especially meaningful to be thinking about such things, at a point in time where we all are uncertain about what is coming next and wondering how we will all adjust to the inevitable changes moving forward. However, I write this as an adult, think back to childhood. At this young point in our lives even the smallest changes can be terrifyingly huge, let alone the biggest, and in director #KyungSokKim’s wonderful drama Furthest From, we see this illustrated intimately and carefully.
The film is set in a trailer park, as young Jessie (#AmandaChristine) must come to terms with leaving what she knows and loves behind, as the park is being forced to close due to a water contamination. Furthest From is a story about adaptation and how hard that can be, especially as a child. Writer #RexReyesII gives the story an edge of Beasts of the Southern Wilds, in how it opens out a child’s imagination and allows it to blend into reality to a degree onscreen.
Covering how reality and its hardships can threaten to take over that dream-like wonder and innocence, this film succeeds because it is told purely from the eyes of a child. As certain details to the story pass by in casual conversation over select scenes or at one point on the radio, the kids are all making sense of it all as best they can. Seeing the situation only through their stressed hardworking parents, or frustrated older siblings, the film transplants us back into the age of childhood. At this age, kids rebel against change because they may not understand it and likewise Jessie does her best to avoid it and challenge it. She is constantly checked on and told about how dangerous it can be out there but is frightened of the results of that danger, rather than the danger itself.
The world is ever changing and complex and it can be difficult and even sad to accept when life moves into a different configuration and we are forced to shift - often uncomfortably - with it. And this film captures how hard a reality that can be for a child. In this case Jessie loses not only her home and playground but her friends and is dragged from childhood wonder, towards harsher real life.
However, the film does carry with it a sense of unbridled wonder, as it relays this story of a young girl coming to terms with and understanding the world. The stars stuck above Jessie’s bottom bunk bed, eventually are realised onscreen, in a moment of strength with her older sister Sam (#JasminJeanLouis) and through some brilliant cinematography by #TeckSiangLim and equally great production design by #MboniMaumba and #MartinBlanken, the film turns the everyday into a playful realm, as seen through a child’s vision.
As that child, Amanda Christine is excellent as Jessie, and after recent big screen films like Doctor Sleep have benefitted from brilliant child leads, this short does too. Christine is powerful and resilient, as she plays perfectly to film’s modus operandi as speaking from a child’s heart. While Jasmin Jean-Louis is great as her older sister Sam, who is going through some of the same battles as Jessie.
Some things are on the borders of this story and some characters do not get as much of a look in by the script but Kim’s film casts a light on what it is to be a kid, suddenly forced to leave what you know behind and move forward to an uncertain next step. And it is a rather powerful little story at that and one in some ways well suited to the era as it currently stands.