Movie Short Review: ‘Release (Fang Sheng)’

Review by David Ferguson

Greetings again from the darkness. All (most?) parents want the best life possible for their kids. But what if the best choice does not include said parent being a part of the child’s life? Such is the dilemma facing Qing, mother to 6 year old “Little Shishi”.

When a former lover approaches her to ask “a favor”, Qing is stunned that the request involves her allowing him to take their son to America … with his wife … so they can have a complete family and offer the boy new opportunities. Over the next few scenes we witness just how dedicated Qing is to her son. We also see how difficult her life is. She visits her mother in hospice. She gets extremely creative in cooking dinner for her son when the gas in her apartment gets shut off. Working as a karaoke singer in a lounge means she barely gets by.

Director Henry Liu communicates a great deal in only 15 minutes. He allows each scene to breathe for emotion and impact … something not many short films accomplish. The performance from Josephine A Blankstein allows us to fully understand this woman, and the obvious, yet understated metaphor works well. The film is well made and filled with deep and rich colors to match the depth of emotion this mother quietly deals with.

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