Movie: 3688 by Royston Tan

3688: Heartland life. fun songs, and an earnest, touching storyline.

WHAT'S IT ABOUT: Feifei is a humble and kind carpark auntie who loves to sing. Meet her fellow snarky auntie colleagues, kopitiam life, and how she copes with life when her father gets dementia.

Feifei is played by Joi Chua (蔡淳佳), best known for singing the song "陪我看日出” ie. (雨下了走好路/ 这句话我记住). Her voice is clear and beautiful, and her screen performance is believable. The only thing that was not so believable was her movie age (38 years old auntie? Oh come on! She looks like she's in her early thirties,)

WOW! What I liked:

The fun musical like sequences. Hahaha. A hallmark of Royston films! John Lui describes the movie as 'campy'. I never knew the meaning of this word, haha. Read his professional review here (click!), it's interesting!

I think everyone liked Lady KaKa aka Liu Ling Ling's creative costumes. They're so fun and quirky!

SHIGGA SHAY! Haha. I didn't expect him to have so many scenes, and I thought that he was pretty natural on screen. Go listen to his song, aka the 3688 soundtrack, Tapau (click here).  (还有一个bandung!)

Friendzoning parts were funny yet sad, as all friendzoning stories go. Sob?

(I lie. I was evil and laughed when it happened.)


Rahima Rahim's boss life as lead carpark auntie. Hahaha.

Old folks, parents, family love and aging. Dementia, and other mental illnesses: lots to think about here.

This movie reminded me of what I learnt in my sociology aging course. What's going to happen  when our parents age, or contract illnesses? What's going to happen to us when we get old? Assisted living, old folks homes, toilets outfitted with railings....and changing family dynamics. In truth I think the aging issue is actually very real and's something I know I might not be able to cope with if life suddenly threw me into the deep end.

Didn't like:
Weird, underdeveloped character of Fei Xiang. Felt he was introduced into the film for not much reason?! Felt like this could be improved on, felt that the story for this was just dangling there uncomfortably. Angmoh-asian hipster barista eyecandy though. Hahaha.

Is the ending ambiguous or am I reading too much into it? Haha (after effects of listening to the analysis of 雨季 by Xun).

The cinema was full of aunties and uncles! It was actually very surprising and heartwarming for me, I have never seen such a big group of the older demographic fill the entire hall of a cinema before. (No, they didn't mass buy tickets. They all came with their friends/families).

They also cried, talked on the phone, giggled, whispered loudly to each other, brought market trolleys with them, and sang along with Fong Fei Fei songs. It doesn't get more fun and authentic than this. An eye-opener for me! I'm impressed by how a film like that can bring together a very different kind of audience, and more curious to find out how they found out about the movie and what made them come catch it! :D

Also, one thing why I like cinemas more than watching flicks at home is the communal feels (there are pros & cons, of course, but it's fun to watch something and react together. (see: cinemas as a liminal space, lol).  It's also why I prefer watching anime on sites with comment feeds, because it's so fun when someone feels the same thing as you do, or point out something interesting. Watching something can be solitary, can still feel like a part of something bigger simultaneously (if you choose to)? (Extrovert or introvert? God knows. Haha.)

My personal goal this year is to watch more films, and watch more widely. I want to break away from just watching blockbusters (though I will still catch them) and my usual rom-com fare. Wanna be exposed to be more cool things :)

Currently there's a lot of movies to catch: The Intern, The Martian, The Scorch Trials etc etc. These will all jostle for your attention, time and most importantly, perhaps, your hard-earned $$$.

I'm glad I got to catch 3688 though! Tears were rolling down my face and I wasn't the only one sniffling away at the end. It's not extremely moving, and can even be termed as cliche, but hey, I dig it. I enjoyed the movie! It made me smile, laugh, and cry.

Visually I felt that the mise en scene was largely beautiful and vibrantly designed. I would love to photograph the place where Shigga puts up fliers, for example. The tones and lines are pretty, and not to mention all the antique/retro things in Feifei's home. Treasure trove.

So... yeah! Hope you will enjoy the film as much as I do :)