Vivian Ip’s short film, An Island Drifts, shows that this cold world can appear much bigger than it truly is in the eyes of a child.
Andrew (Quintas Lim) is a young boy in elementary school in Singapore. His crush on a fellow classmate has him distracted, and while on the playground, he accidentally knocks his crush over and he falls on top of her. Embarrassed by the event, Andrew runs off to class as the girl reports Andrew to the principal.
After class, Andrew’s teacher, Glen (Timothy Wan), speaks with Andrew, asking him what happened on the playground. Andrew denies he did anything wrong. However, Glen knows he’s lying and tells him that they’ll have to be a meeting with his mother to discuss what happened. Racked with guilt, Andrew heads home to “deal” with the problem before his mother comes home.
“…small mistakes loom large in a child’s mind…”
An Island Drifts is one of those short films that serve more as an allegory of where we are as a society rather than a straightforward narrative about the consequences of a boy’s mistake. There is this feeling that the world is walking on eggshells struggling to appear perfect in public. Yet, one mistake, big and especially small, is on full display and, if exposed, has the power to derail or cancel a person’s life. These small mistakes loom large in a child’s mind, and, rather than talk about it, they lay in shame and dwell on the dark thoughts that life is over.
The only negative that I have is that you need to know about the film’s broader message going in, or you’ll feel like it’s a story about a young boy. Knowing this, you’ll have greater empathy for not only Andrew but for his teacher Glen, who must face the consequences of how he handled the situation in the end.
Writer/director Vivian Ip not only tells a thoughtful and emotional story, but she has an eye for beauty. She brilliantly extracts the emotions and feelings from her cast’s subtle performances. I’m curious how this story would play out in the U.S., as I think the final outcome would have been intensified beyond belief. As a parent, who was put in a similar situation, there is truth to this story that many might find unbelievable. An Island Drifts is a compelling story that hopes to grab hold of the crazy mess of a world and maybe turn it around before it’s too late.
For more information about An Island Drifts, visit director Vivian Ip’s official website.
"…brilliantly extracts the emotions and feelings from her cast's subtle performances."