Film Review | Anne Darling (2015)

Film run-time: 15 minutes | Starring Norman Yeung, Allison Scagliotti, Janet Lo
Written and Directed by Norman Yeung, Produced by Aaron Kopff, Alexander Brodzki and Agnieszka Gutkowska, Cinematography by Catherine Lutes

Anne Darling“, a 2015 short film by Norman Yeung, is an illustration of how our wounds manifest, and the myriad ways we try to grasp their encompassing impact on our being. Where hurt cannot be alleviated through senseless aversion, a chance for an external influence carries the promise of greater understanding. Daniel, a struggling writer who has casual encounters with older women, meets Maggie, another writer who has a secret of her own.

Mediated between the regality of a matriarchal home and the raggedness of a youthful social hub, Daniel navigates the conflicting identities which plague his core essence. In trying to defer one for the other, a questioning of self co-mingles with a sprinkling of a past that haunts, of decisions that ultimately prioritized one identity over another. Presented with the opportunity of Maggie, who bears the mark of kindred distress, Daniel is moved to act.

As a message of moderation and balance in all things, Yeung’s film is a distinct angle on outlook. Commenting on contemporary society’s reliance on connective technologies which cannot sustain as a source of comfort alone, Yeung succeeds in depicting aspects of modern living that is isolating, in spite of virtual communities and electronic verisimilitudes. Conversely, these very same technologies can be adapted and extended into genuine interactions, and thus their dualism.

Like a shepherd of the lost in a loveless world, Daniel is a sage presence whose trauma belies his outward appearance. As though representative of a love that transcends delineation into respective variants, he is inspired to embrace life in all its faceted ways—as a friend; as a lover; as a son. By removing a faded facade of professional ambition, Daniel may have ignited the personal, a formerly neglected angle from where he can retrace his aspirations.

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