aeForeverAE blurs lines, keeps audience guessing.
"Forever" was co-written by Wee Li Lin and Silvia Wong. Together, the two women developed the concept for the movie, wrote the story, procured funding and oversaw the shooting and editing of the film.
All in all, the project has been two years in the making. Lin, who is also the film's director, attended the Jakarta Film Festival release, while co-writer and producer Silvia Wong was in Cairo for the screening.
"Forever" is a quirky little film about a delusional love-sick girl named Joey (Singaporean actress Joanna Dong) who works as a marriage video consultant for the fictional Wedding Education Department (WED) of the Singapore government. The WED department is working extra hard to match up couples for marriage, as we discover young people are just not interested in getting married anymore.
Joey stars in a promotional video with Gin (Taiwan-born actor Mo Tzu Yi) where they play a newlywed couple. Joey falls head over heels for the handsome musician, and becomes completely obsessed, despite the fact that he is already engaged to Celia (Singaporean actress Sarah Ng Li-Wen). Far from the classic girl-meets-unavailable-boy-movie, delusional Joey cannot seem to tell fantasy from reality and believes that she and Gin are destined to be together despite his preexisting marriage arrangements with Cecilia.
'Forever" has an interesting original plot that keeps audiences in suspense as they follow Joey from fantasy to reality, never quite sure which is which. Though press releases have referred to this film a romantic comedy, classifying the genre isn't so easy. At times "Forever" has undertones of a psycho-thriller as Joey stalks Gin at his home, work and even over the phone by blocking her calls and distorting her voice.
"Forever" also exhibits satirical qualities as the WED department does not really exist, but is inspired by an actual Singapore government ministry in charge of the wellbeing and proliferation of marriages. In fact, co writer Lin's idea for the script came from her own personal experience.
While working for the Singapore government, Lin herself was in charge of creating an instructional video on how to keep marriages alive, which was shown to couples at the Registry of Marriage. This is where the inspiration for the film and propaganda marriage videos came from.
Although the film is based in Singapore, it deals with issues pertinent to Egyptian culture. The pressure put on their children to marry, sometimes at a significant personal cost, is a reoccurring theme throughout.
Co-writer Wong also commented on the growing "universal social phenomenon" of young adults postponing marriage far later than their parents' generation. She attributed this to several factors facing young people: "It has to do with the economy, and also personal freedom. People have more choices [in life], that's why [marriage] is happening later."
Young adults postponing marriage due to economic reasons has certainly been a topic of interest in Egypt over the past several years.
The film's ending was left open to the interpretation of the viewer, and Wong was adamant in her message that, "it's up to each person to decide for themselves" what really happened in the film.
When media pressed about the cost of the film, which she preferred not to disclose, she laughed and joked with the press who had watched the screening and teased "Why, does it look expensive?"
Though it may not be a high-end blockbuster film, "Forever" takes audiences on a delightful, funny, and somewhat bittersweet journey through the mind of an endearing character; showing us what lengths some people will go to, and the price they'll pay for the chance of true love.
This is Wong's first feature film and Lin's second. When asked about her next steps, Wong smiled and said "more films," adding that she and Lin are hoping that the success of "Forever" will finance future projects they'll work on together.
"Forever" hits Singapore theaters in March 2011.
Daily NewsEgypt 2009
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