Review: Julia Ngeow's A SCALE FOR HURT

Julia Ngeow's A SCALE FOR HURT ~ a cinematic tone poem of environmental awareness. Premieres online on November 23rd on FilmShortage

By: Nov. 21, 2020
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Review: Julia Ngeow's A SCALE FOR HURT

If we are to contemplate our place in the cycles of time and nature and to appreciate how ephemeral is our standing before their forces, we should look then to Julia 秀 英 Ngeow's mesmerizing short film, A SCALE FOR HURT.

The work is a solemn and humbling love letter to the viewer about the transience of things before the majesty of the tides of time. It is also a beautiful and tender piece of filmmaking ~ a marvelous fusion of the visual (credit to the cinematography of Lewis Potts) with the illuminating and impressionist poetry of Leena Soman-Navani that gives title to the movie.

Backed by the narration of Mischa Ipp (otherwise notable as the Artistic Director of Little y) whose recitation wafts throughout the film like a comforting sheet of silk and Keith Kenniff's atmospheric background music, A SCALE FOR HURT is a virtual cinematic tone poem.

In the measure of her days, a young girl (Pippa Dauven) holds a conch to her ear and listens to what we think to be the echoes of crashing waves from a distant place. Yet, the sound may instead be a forecast of inconvenient environmental truths ~ the film maker's not so subtle warning about the vulnerability of our planet to careless extinction.

From this opening scene, the camera traces the musings and movements of a girl whose universe is comprised of songs and goldfish and crayons and wonderment about sharks and whales.

The innocence and glory of her childhood view of the world is, however, put into new perspective when juxtaposed against the enormity of the forces that may be overpowering and displacing her world...our world.

In this regard, as a storyteller with a conscience, Ngeow has gone a good way to opening the doors of comprehension about (in her words) "a scale that is so much bigger than us - one that is far too big to feel."

A SCALE FOR HURT premieres online on November 23rd on FilmShortage.

Photo credit to Julia Ngeow


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