Directed by: #ChloeYapMunEe
Written by: #ChloeYapMunEe
This artsy little short film from 2018 about two people leaving the outside world to inhabit a self-made sanctuary comes at a strange time in history whereby everyone is now currently doing a similar sort of thing thanks to the virus that shall not be named. However, this film is probably vastly different to most people’s self-isolation at the moment as I doubt anyone right now would want to be submerged into a small pool of water.
Manifesting the End (For the Love of My Life) is an odd short film for me to review. The things that work are really impressive, but that being said there is a lot holding it back from being the masterpiece it thinks it is.
I shall start with the positives. This film is gorgeously shot, the cinematography from Emmy Ong is truly something special. The film has an almost, otherworldly look to it which also somehow maintains a balance between feeling heavenly and unnerving. This is also complimented by the brilliant set design which feels very organic but slightly dingy at the same time. It makes you as a viewer think twice about being in the sanctuary yourself. The idea may sound nice at first but would you really want to live the rest of your life in a place such as this?
The performances from Abigail Marie Laurel and Ophir Barak are really good despite there being hardly any dialogue for them to work with. The intimacy felt between these two actors is palpable from the moment they appear on screen together. However, the moments in which Abigail Marie Laurel has to carry the film on her own are also very well executed from both a performance and directing standpoint.
To make up for the lack of dialogue, Yap Mun Ee chooses to display letters written by the main character on the screen at certain points throughout the film. I think for the sake of the story, these chunks of text do a decent job of filling the gap where the dialogue would usually be.
My issues with the film mostly come down to its pacing and some specific sound design choices. The lack of dialogue doesn’t bother me, in fact it kind of works for the majority of the film. Unfortunately, a lot of the film is taken up with scenes of the characters either contemplating or doing something in a very slow manner. I have nothing against slowly paced films, some of my favourite movies of all time happen to be slow burners, but this film could have sped up a few things or cut some unessential parts out. The film is just shy of 24 minutes and I feel as if the message and emotional impact of the story could have been told a bit better in a more confined and manageable time frame.
Also, the sound design, for the most part, is very fitting for this type of setting but there is one choice towards the end of the film which bugs me. During one of the film’s most important scenes, in which the two characters stare at each other while submerged in water, one of the actors has a very noticeable runny nose. Every time they sniff it suddenly becomes the most obvious and loudest thing in the mix and it is even more apparent by the fact there is no music throughout this exact scene.
Manifesting the End (For the Love of My Life) is a short film that looks amazing but falls short of greatness ever so slightly. I am intrigued to see what else Chloe Yap Mun Ee and co. do next as this project showed a lot of promise.