If you have ever wondered if you can build a film almost exclusively around the eye-line match, Anthony Chen’s Ilo Ilo follow-up Wet Season is here to inform you that, yes, you indeed can. Can you build a good one is another question entirely, and one that Chen manages to answer with surprising success.
Malaysian-expat Ling’s (Yeo Yann Yann) life matches the grim weather that surrounds her. During the wettest monsoon season in years, she struggles though teaching Mandarin at local high school filled with students who contemptuously regard her subject. Her and her husband (Christopher Lee) have struggled to conceive, and the tenuous strain on their marriage is palpable; a relationship further tested by the fact that Ling’s father-in-law (Yang Shi Bin) requires around the clock care. The only reprieve comes in the form of a bright student named Wei Lun (Koh Jia Ler), whose devotion to her Mandarin lessons is partially driven by a burgeoning crush that is painful (and kind of creepy).
Much occurs throughout the course of Wet Season, and yet, Chen paces the film in a matter-of-fact manner. Events occur without overt fanfare. This is partially a result of cinematographer Sam Care’s excellent camerawork, frequently composing of pulled back shots that occur with little movement. Chen is determined to depict these lives to their fullest extent, and thus, some subject matter may prove difficult. Ultimately though, this is a stimulating art film that may offer a lot to those willing to decipher its rhythms.
- Release Date: 9/7/2019