Jon is a beaten man, heavily burdened with the choice to terminate the life support off his comatose father. He has a great disdain for his father who was abusive to him when he was young, caning him whenever he misplayed the piano.
He is emotionally scarred by the piano practices with his father, which consciously haunts his life and behavior. Despite the negative emotions he feels towards his father, he ultimately remembers the good times with him.
Back-story (Not in film)
Jon is a talented struggling musician, who is up to his neck in debt. He spends his days playing keyboard for pubs and nightclubs, looking for his big break. His indebted state is self-inflicted, being involved in the many vices a popular musician would face.
50s – 60s, Chinese.
Jon’s Father is a strict no nonsense father, who believes in ruling his son with an iron fist. He is unapologetic for the way he raises Jon even though most might see his methods as overly harsh and brutal. Despite all this however, he does show his affection for his son in his own subtle way.
Interviews – Seem to be from light topics to dark topics
Use of music very manipulative and on cue
There are a lot of reenactments used
Archive footage used effectively
Main characters are interesting
Transportation of medical equipment was not explained at the start but brought to light later
Intercut between church and surgery room was effectively done, showed the stark divide between faith and science
Bicycle riding shot – > English doc moves left to right (makes him look like the protagonist)
Igor’s walking through graves shot (followed right after the bicycle shot) is from right to left (making him look like the antagonist)
In the later scenes however based on the conversations it seems that the roles of protagonist and antagonist are reversed.
Tension ever present (whether or not to operate), tension seems to die down after the successful surgery, lowering the stakes.
Archive footage – mostly of Tanya’s failed operation, very emotional
Contrast of surgeons and hospitals in London and Ukraine very obvious when put side by side
Some B-Roll appears to be taken after the film and not in the moment
Telling the Grandmother that her granddaughter is going to die seems exploitive? – Is it a necessary evil in documentaries to showcase the misery of others?
English Surgeon’s darker sides – not as optimistic as before
Does not shy away from gory details
Makes for interesting and compelling film
Ending – Reconciliation, I feel it is a nice wrap up although a little too long drawn
Ethicality of lying while breaking news to patient
A look inside the mind of the surgeon
A quick cut to last short with Tanya then back to her, is a final one-two KO punch to audiences
The constant going back to Tanya’s family is exploitive but moving
Overall the film is driven primarily on emotion, the weight of the characters going for surgery and drama is formed with the tension of whether they live or die in the balance
There was a main story of the brain surgery, which lost steam after we know about the surgery’s success.
The Rhythm of the story seemed linear at first but over time after the arc about the reconciliation with Tanya, the pacing took a nose dive, I felt that portion of the film was still necessary for an epic conclusion but maybe could have been significantly cut down.
A short piece I cut together from the footage, since 95% of everybody we interviewed say they are happy I decided to cut the most engaging pieces together with a light hearted tone to it. I just hope it does not come off as cheesy… which I feel it might be, on second thought haha.
My Group and I have interviewed 2 out of the 4 farms we were planning to featuring in the Documentary.
We initially had 6 farms which were willing to be featured but we felt that 6 would have been overkill as most of them would talk about similar things. So instead we chose the 4 most diverse farms. Diverse in their content, backstory and unique crops that they grow.
Jurong Frog Farm
Case: shrinking landmass for farming, looking into vertical farming methods or alternative ways to raise frogs.
Status: Shot B-roll and Interviewed farmers, still planning a second trip to request a private tour around premises.
Expected Shoot – During Recess Week
Case: The value of farms in Singapore, not just for growing crops but seeing farming as an agro-tainment industry.
Status: Shot B-roll, toured and Interviewed farmers.
Fire Flies Health Farm
Case: Organic Farming in Singapore, going into niche markets instead of competing with overseas suppliers.
Status: Have gotten permission to shoot farm and Interview (Very helpful I might add), tentative shooting date, 24th September.
Singapore Farmer in Malaysia
No website, off the grid farms
Case: There is no enough room for “Real” Farms in Singapore, not for entertainment and tourism but “Real” farms which supply crops. Farmers have to go to Malaysia where land is plentiful to grow such crops.
Status: Fixed shooting Date and have gotten permission to shoot farm, Shooting Date, 30th September
We are still looking into other alternative content to shoot, i.e. Supermarket B-roll, Markets, Midnight Pasir Pangjang Wholesale Market, Hawker centre B-roll.
We are also looking into securing some vox pops of the common man, asking them several interview questions as to how much they know about Local Farming in Singapore.
Other interviewees we are looking into:
People in Government
Farmer’s market association
Note on Farmer’s Market, There is a farmer’s market in October, we are still in discussion whether or not to film and cover this event (held by local farms in Singapore) we feel it may serve as a great conclusion to our documentary, seeing local farms come together and the crowds they attract.