Wet Season (film)
|Directed by||Anthony Chen|
|Screenplay by||Anthony Chen|
|Distributed by||Golden Village Pictures|
Wet Season (Chinese: 热带雨) is a 2019 Singaporean drama film by Anthony Chen. In the film, a teacher and a student in Singapore secondary school form a special, self-affirming relationship. The film stars Yeo Yann Yann and Koh Jia Ler, and is released on November 28, 2019 in Singapore.
It received positive reviews. The film is written, produced and directed by Anthony Chen. It is his second feature film after Ilo Ilo in 2013 for which he won the Caméra d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival. The film reunites actress Yeo Yann Yann and actor Koh Jia Ler after their first collaboration in Ilo Ilo. The film also stars Christopher Lee and Yang Shi Bin.
It received six nominations at the 56th Golden Horse Awards, including Best Film, Best Director and Best Supporting Actors for Koh Jia Ler and Yang Shi Bin. It won the Best Actress for Yeo Yann Yann.
Ling teaches Mandarin at a Singapore secondary school where her subject is regarded as low priority. Her marriage is also falling apart as she and her husband has been struggling to conceive a child for years. She also needs to care for her ailing father-in-law. But, an unlikely friendship with a student helps her reaffirm her identity as a woman.
Ling (Yeo Yann Yann) is a Malaysian Chinese teacher in her late 30s who struggles to achieve pregnancy with her husband Andrew (Christopher Lee), who is often absent from home. She also has to take care of her disabled father (Yang Shi Bing), who suffers from a stroke and is unable to speak.
Ling attends a gynaecologist at a clinic to be informed that she has two mature follicles. Outside, she finds Kok Wei Lun (Koh Jia Ler), a student who is infatuated with her, on crutches because of his injuries sustained from his wushu trainings. Ling offers to send Wei Lun home, and learns through his claims that his parents are on a business trip and he stays at home alone.
Ling holds a remedial class for selected students, but they left when Ling temporarily goes out of school to pass money to his durian-selling brother. Ling returns to class with a bag of durians offered by her brother to find out that only Wei Lun stayed in the class, an act ridiculed by his classmates. There, Ling and Wei Lun share the durians in the classroom, and their relationship deepens.
Wei Lun starts to frequently consult Ling for remedial classes as her favourite student, and eventually goes to her house and encounters Ling's father-in-law while carelessly wandering her house. Wei Lun invites Ling, who brings along her father-in-law to support him at a national wushu competition. In the competition, he wins first place and a gold medal. The trio celebrate by visiting Ling's brother's durian shop, and their ties deepen, forming a family.
Eventually, Ling's father-in-law dies in his sleep. At his wake, Ling's cousins-in-law decide that they should sell off their dead father's property, and she discovers that Andrew is cheating on her with another woman with a daughter, who came to pay respects to him.
Ling, lonely and without support, sends Wei Lun to his home. Ling goes up to Wei Lun's house to take care of his bleeding nose in his bedroom, where he coerces her to have sex. Ling gives into Wei Lun's sexual advances, and Wei Lun begins to initiate more inappropriate physical contact with her.
Ling becomes reticent with Wei Lun, who begins stalking her frequently and harasses her on public transport after she crashing her car as a result of his rash actions. The affair is ultimately uncovered by the school principal after Wei Lun was caught in a fight with two schoolmates, who tried to expose photos of Ling on his phone. The principal, expecting a promotion in the Ministry of Education, advises Ling to take a break from work.
Ling, sending Wei Lun off on her car one last time, informs him that they cannot continue the affair. A heartbroken Wei Lun leaves the car, causing Ling to chase him into the open field. Wei Lun tearfully hugs Ling, who tells him to get used to rejections, in the rain.
Having lost all familial connections with Andrew, she signs a liability contract, that removes his paternal responsibilities in the event that she becomes pregnant through his sperm samples. Ling declares that she will not use them. Ling wishes Andrew well for his newfound partner, and they both part ways.
Having discovered she is pregnant through a spontaneous urine test, Ling expresses a gamut of mixed emotions in her apartment, now stripped of its furniture, soon to be sold away. She returns to her hometown in Taiping, Malaysia, and helps her mother to hang their clothes outside. There, she stands outside, gazing at the sun that never came while she was in Singapore.
- Yeo Yann Yann as Ling
- Koh Jia Ler as Wei Lun
- Christopher Lee as Andrew
- Yang Shi Bin as Father-in-law
The film is Anthony Chen's second feature film, six years later after his first film Ilo Ilo which was released in 2013. Development of Wet Season took six years, with Chen taking three years to write the screenplay and another year for casting. The film reunites Malaysian actress Yeo Yann Yann and Singaporean actor Koh Jia Ler who previously starred in Ilo Ilo. Filming took place in Singapore in May 2018 and wrapped that same month. Scenes with rain were mostly shot with rain machines, with the final critical sequence requiring an elaborate rigging system coupled with rain machines elevated by a construction mover.
The film had its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival on September 8, 2019 as part of the Platform Prize program. The film also served as the opening film for the Singapore International Film Festival on November 21, 2019. In November 2019, it was screened at several film festivals including the London East Asian Film Festival, Cairo International Film Festival, and the 56th Golden Horse Film Festival.
Jordan Mintzer of The Hollywood Reporter praised the film for portraying Singapore's decapitated class division, social issues and the performances from the two leads. But he was critical of its pacing with the relationship of Wei Lun and Ling, saying that "...the film takes its precious time to get there."
Writing for ScreenDaily, Allan Hunter highlighted the director's strength in the "delicate handling of complex relationships" and talked about the extravagant layers that the characters of Wei Lun and Ling have with each other. Variety's Alissa Simon gave a positive review, highlighting the social issues and mature themes as well as Sam Care's cinematography and music.
The film garnered six nominations and won one award at the 56th Golden Horse Awards. It was nominated for Best Feature Film, Best Director, Best Original Screenplay (both Anthony Chen), two Best Supporting Actors (Koh Jia Ler, Yang Shi Bin), and Best Actress in which Yeo Yann Yann won.
|Award||Date of ceremony||Category||Recipients||Result|
|56th Golden Horse Awards (2019)||November 23, 2019||Best Feature Film||Wet Season||Nominated|
|Best Director||Anthony Chen||Nominated|
|Best Leading Actress||Yeo Yann Yann||Won|
|Best Supporting Actor||Koh Jia Ler||Nominated|
|Best Supporting Actor||Yang Shi Bin||Nominated|
|Best Original Screenplay||Anthony Chen||Nominated|
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- Goodfellow, Melanie (6 February 2019). "First Look at Anthony Chen's Wet Season". Screen Daily.
- "Why this award-winning Singaporean director took 6 years to finish his 2nd movie". CNA Lifestyle. Retrieved 2019-11-27.
- "Anthony Chen Reveals The Toughest 'Actor' To Work With On Wet Season". TODAYonline. Retrieved 2019-11-27.
- Frater, Patrick (Oct 1, 2019). "Anthony Chen's 'Wet Season' to Open Singapore Film Festival". Variety.
- Salwa, Ola (Nov 20, 2019). "The 41st Cairo International Film Festival kicks off". Cine Europa.
- Kelly, Emma (Sep 20, 2019). "London East Asia Film Festival 2019 is bigger and better than ever as diverse programme revealed". Metro. DMG Media.
- Lee, Elaine (12 September 2019). "From mum and son in Ilo Ilo to illicit lovers in new film Wet Season". The New Paper.
- "Wet Season (2019)". Rotten Tomatoes.
- Mintzer, Jordan (Sep 8, 2019). "'Wet Season': Film Review - TIFF 2019". The Hollywood Reporter.
- Hunter, Allan (Sep 8, 2019). "'Wet Season': Toronto Review". ScreenDaily.
- Simon, Alissa (Sep 11, 2019). "Toronto Film Review: 'Wet Season'". Variety.
- "Singapore films "Wet Season", "A Land Imagined" nominated at Golden Horse Awards". CNA. 2 October 2019.