Writer-director Denise Khng’s short film, Motherland, is the story of a deteriorating family and a deeply buried truth.
Our story opens during a parent/teacher conference at school. Sarah (Lim Shi-An) sits outside the counselor’s office as her mother (Karen Tan Bee Lin) tearfully speaks to Mrs. Reema (Nora Samosir). Sarah’s mother lets Mrs. Reema know that Sarah is not the quiet, obedient child she sees at school. In fact, Sarah has a destructive temper at home. Surprised by the mother’s story, Mrs. Reema promises to speak to Sarah about her behavior and set things right.
“…lets Mrs. Reema know that Sarah is not the quiet, obedient child she sees…”
There are a few revelations that come out that should not be spoiled. Just know that Motherland brushes the surface and then dives a few levels on the issue of abusive and dysfunctional families. The short film’s slow reveals expose deception, manipulation, and power plays between Sarah and her mother. It is a tight and compact drama, with each scene being simple setups.
The focus of Khang’s film is the three actors portraying their parts. Each cast member brings the right emotions to their respective roles as one revelation leads to the next. We are juggling deep feelings and emotions as characters keep their cards close to the vest.
With Motherland, writer/director Denise Khng tells an incredible and intriguing story. Sbe perfectly manages the shifting motivations and pretenses of our lead characters. Of course, like many short films, the tension builds right to the end, leaving us wanting more in this commentary on the power struggle between parents and teenagers.
For more information about Motherland, visit Denise Khng’s official website.
"…perfectly manages the shifting motivations and pretenses..."