A Lover’s Discourse is the title given to the second strand of this year’s International Short Film Competition, one of six collections showcasing short-form filmmaking from around the globe. The six films included here all originate in different countries and speak different languages, but are united by their exploration of love and lust.
Perhaps the most effective of these is Cloudy Days, a Taiwanese drama about repressed female sexuality and the binds of domesticity. It tells the story of A-Yun (Heng-Yin Chou), a middle-aged Vietnamese woman recently married to her second husband (Chiang Ting), a much older man less interested in his new wife than in the grave of his old one. Director Yung Hsiang Chuang portrays his protagonist’s days as a housewife as a life of bondage, expressing perfectly the soul-crushingly dull monotony of her life as she slaves away for a husband that never gives her as much as a scrap of attention, never mind affection.
This expertly portrayed depiction of one woman’s personal and sexual repression sets the stage perfectly for the moment it reaches its inevitable breaking point – and here the catalyst is her adult stepson, who steps into A-Yun’s life and reignites a desire as yet unfulfilled in her dull and downbeat existence. But where can such a desire lead?
A Lover’s Discourse: International Shorts 2 can be viewed on Leeds Film Player until 19th November 2020.