Monday, September 22, 2008

Gone Shopping

You don't need to have lived in or known about Singapore to enjoy Wee Li Lin's Gone Shopping. No matter which part of the world you live in, chances are the Gods of the shopping mall have extracted from you life more than they have given in return. And if that is true, this is a movie you must watch. The cast of characters in Gone Shopping are creatures of the mall - it has come to be their natural habitat though not always of their own volition.

There is Clara Wong, the wealthy lady of leisure who has given up her prescription medicines in favor of retail therapy. A shoe when she does not know where is going, a bag when she is feeling sad and so on - she is familiar with her ailments and what it will take to numb the pain when it strikes. Then there is the Renu, the eight year old kid who has been abandoned by her parents in a mall and learns to survive there not unlike a rat would giving new meaning to the phrase mall-rat. We see Aaron and his cosplaying girlfriend reach relationship denouement without having stepped out of the mall.

The lives of all these characters and a host of others who inhabit the mall nearly 24/7 confluence as they escape their real lives into a more fantastical one that the malls help them conjure. It is as Hui Hui the cosplaying teenager puts it "Everyone in Singapore needs a bit of cosplay in their lives". Li Lin turns that into a more universal need that malls, retail mania and consumer culture serves around the world. There is a lot to like about this movie but I particularly loved the music which accentuates the ambiance the story needed to be told so well.

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