Symphony 92.4 FM (1993)

Story of the lonely old man who commits suicide on his birthday.


Eric Khoo


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Credited cast:
Chiew Sung Ching Chiew Sung Ching ... Old Man


Story of the lonely old man who commits suicide on his birthday.

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independent film | See All (1) »









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A Nutshell Review: Symphony 92.4 FM
10 September 2005 | by DICK STEELSee all my reviews

Following Carcass, there're also some elements in this mostly black and white film which are adapted to the feature films, like the use of radio in the narrative (in this case, the title's FM station, vis-a-vis 12 Storey's use of Perfect 10 98.7FM).

Chiew Sung Ching is the sole protagonist in this almost silent film (except for a few radio voice-overs), making it the earlier stylistic predecessor of the silent film Be With Me, with Chiew playing yet another similar character, albeit older with a few more facial lines.

There are similar shots which could be found early in Symphony, with the extreme closeup of Chiew's face sideways, rousing from slumber, to the shot of him sitting up on his bed in the bedroom.

Obvious similarities aside, this story follows Chiew as an unnamed lonely man, where we follow a day in his life where he walks around town, which includes visiting a low rise HDB flat, a provision shop, having a banana at a sidewalk, and buying a cake from a cake shop. It seems mundane and ordinary, until we realize that it was his birthday, and there's where the direction of the film becomes clear.

Using sepia tones, we are brought to understand why he visited those places, which are precious memories which he holds so dear with his dog and his childhood sweetheart, and now as an old man, he faces a lonely existence for the remainder of his life, or would it? With his stoic, measured acting style, it takes no rocket science to see why EK took pains to track him down to star in Be With Me. He mentioned that when writing the character, he already had Chiew in mind, and it is no wonder why.

Food and the kitchen, familiar elements, also have its place in Symphony, with Chiew eating his own cooking, on hindsight, similar to Be With Me's. Also as mentioned in my Be With Me review, it seems that "spirits" do make a comeback to the reel world, and in this, we see the protagonist's father (played by the butcher in Carcass) hang around the outside of his flat, as if waiting or giving the audience a premonition of what's to come.

And like Carcass, the familiar locale of the Changi Theatre do bring back memories of my own childhood days of growing up and watching films there.

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