Flower in the Pocket

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Liew's debut is deceptively light: a puckish coming-of-age comedy about two young brothers and their neglectful father. The film touchingly portrays the weight of the responsibilities that each member of the family must shoulder, and how the independence and street smarts of the children somehow defy the rigorous class divisions of their community. Long, naturalistic takes capture the everyday lives of the young rovers as they flunk school, cook dinner, and meet new friends, including a puppy.With a flair for visual storytelling, Liew uses the film's cramped spaces to express the characters' psychology of being confined by their hand-to-mouth existence, while scenes in open, outdoor landscapes express the fluidity and freedom that the children create instinctively. Liew's wry, observational style grounds the film's increasingly surreal touches in the dramatic context of an ever-evolving modern-day Malaysia.In the monthly exhibition ContemporAsian, MoMA showcases films that get little exposure, but which engage the various styles, histories, and changes in Asian cinema. Films are presented in special weeklong engagements, allowing audiences the rare chance to enjoy films not in wide distribution and to experience the diversity and richness of Asian cinema in all its many forms. --© MoMA NY


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