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Half-Baked Cookie in Woo Ming-jin’s Days of the Turquoise Sky (2008) October 2, 2008

Posted by Richard Bolisay in .MOV, Asian Films.

Malaysian Title: Kurus
Written and directed by Woo Ming-jin
Cast: Mislina Mustapha, Namron, Carmen Soo, Arshad Zamir Zamir

Sometimes the point in not having a point is really the point itself. Pointlessness becomes an escape word, a narrow description aimed to mislead the writer from his true feelings and save him from explaining way too much, more so to the agonizing repercussions of contradicting arguments. Such directness and brevity help at times – – obtuse mainstream flicks deserve that contempt – – but films that are ambiguously structured like Days of The Turquoise Sky prove that criticism is a no-nonsense field; it is a burdensome task especially when the work being discussed is masked by sweet lightheartedness despite the troubling events of its seemingly small world. Is it a coming-of-age story? Is it about the two bullies who are slaves of their own insecurities as well? Is it about that nomad who eats pasta for lunch? Is it about the teacher who waits on the same stop to wait for her impostor boyfriend? Is it about her desire to educate her students well? Is it about the altruistic neighbor who wants to have children in exchange for some money? Is it about the forgotten facets of rural life? Is it about cultural imperialism, the invasion of innocence? Woo may fail to strongly characterize every one of them and every detail he presents but there is something beautiful in its vagueness that I wish I have uncovered. No matter how familiar the details are, no matter how close they are to my understanding, the point still eludes me. His decision to reveal less (or to argue less) works both ways – – it kills the fire and it digs deeper – – it hangs at the edge of the cliff, waiting to be pushed. But somehow I am left to appreciate its parading shooting stars, its understated elegance, its humble misgivings on tradition, its exacting truth, and I believe, as Palahniuk chides anyone who doubts the doubtless, A moment was the most you could ever expect from perfection. And a silent kill.

*3rd .MOV International Digital Film Festival, Bacolod, Dumaguete, Iloilo, Manila (Robinson’s Galleria), September 20 – October 7, 2008.



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