It was during some boring night of channel-surfing on second day of CNY, that I found myself 5 minutes to spare before the opening of multi-award winning indie film ‘Flower in the Pocket’ on Kirana. I remembered wanting to watch this back when it was released in 2007, but I drifted to something else… can’t remember what. Ok, anyway, I was wrong, for not giving this winning indie masterpiece by Liew Seng Tat and casting actor James Lee the benefit of the doubt.
The story goes about two little brothers Li Ahh and Li Ohm raised by single father Sui (played by James Lee). The brothers weren’t the brightest lot at school, and often find themselves in trouble and occasional ridicule by snob-looking kids and teachers who couldn’t care less about them. They spend their after-school hours wandering the streets, minding their child play, and along the way, befriended a tomboy malay girl.
The scene then moves on to Sui, who tirelessly work on his job mending mannequins. Both the kids and father lived together under one roof, yet their relationship and life at daily basis were depicted in separate frames (the characters almost never ‘met’ until more than an hour later in the film). Throughout the movie, I was given the impression that Sui doesn’t give a damn about his kids, and I suspect it’s going to end like what most indie films did, a father who doesn’t love his kids enough. Period.
But I stayed on because I read the synopsis described Sui as a doting father to his kids, feeling unconvinced how Sui could have portrayed the opposite! Halfway through the movie, I do realized that there’s something about the way Sui connects (which translates to James Lee’s superb acting) to his kids which I find endearing. I don’t know if it’s because James Lee character sleep in his boxers or what, or Sui carrying his mannequin in suggestive gestures…ahem.
Funny how things that you consider insignificant could actually alter the way you see life in the big picture, and in this case, it was a stranded puppy that brought to Sui’s attention about his kids’ need for basic longing and affection of a parent, which he have been ignorant about all these while.
So he decided, once and for all, that he was going to set things right, in the most amusing manner a father can be. He showed his love (or at least that’s what I think he was doing) by teaching the kids to swim! But to comprehend the whole story, you just have to watch it to find out what and especially how he did it. Let’s just say you’ll never see swimming the same way again. I’m sure James Lee and the actor kids would agree. 😛
Liew Seng Tat has definitely captured everyone in this film in their effortless demeanor, a flowing storyline that’s tucked in the right fold of laughter, yet drama enough be taken seriously. All said, Flower in the pocket is one of a few worth-awarded indie films I will remember.