A Yellow Bird | K. Rajagopal

A quick post for tonight.

I watched A Yellow Bird with Jessica and I liked it, although I don’t think I will remember it as much as other arthouse films perhaps because there’s simply a lack in action or progressive plot.

A Yellow Bird highlights the marginalisation of minorities in Singapore, especially those we do not usually think about. Rajagopal had characters that were illegal immigrants, ex-convicts, poor (Indian) people, the Mainland Chinese and sex workers all in one film. Despite being seemingly ambitious, I felt that he did a good job in linking all these into a coherent story, albeit with no start and no end.

His artistic choices are really interesting and in particular, I liked the idea of using water and land for symbolism. He associated water to hope and somehow somewhy I think it is universal that water symbolically heals. I also liked how Rajagopal pays attention to how light and sound are used to heighten the audience’s awareness of the main character’s environment and metaphorical situation.

I was really impressed by Huang Lu’s acting and professionalism in creating her character. Rajagopal said that there was quite a bit of improvisation for her and Sivakumar Palakrishnan, who stars as the main character and they ended up making the scene beautiful, naked (metaphorically… and literally) and raw.

Ultimately, there was anxiety and loneliness in the film amongst all characters that one could identify with themselves or at least empathise with. In the film, we are only presented the reality of the world through Siva’s eyes and hence his actions, his behaviours and antics. However, as the audience, we are also aware of the implications of his actions on others around him.

Maybe, one of the takeaways of the film that Rajagopal wanted his audience to take away is for us to pay more attention to those around us and not to dismiss these people as stereotypes but more as an individual with their own problems. Perhaps, it is just to acknowledge the human frailty and see the more emotional, less rational fragment of the mind react when one is pushed out of their own comfort zones.

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