SUMMARY: A modern day couple’s break-up is reflected in images of two warriors doing battle in feudal China.
WHY IT’S HERE: When I first heard about Jonathan Ng’s ‘Requiem for Romance’, in which a couple’s telephone break-up is represented in images of two warriors doing battle in feudal China, I thought it sounded like a hackneyed idea akin to that old comedy sketch where a slanging match is adjudicated over by a tennis umpire. But ‘Requiem for Romance’ offers so much more than that. Accompanying the naturalistic voiceovers of the separating couple, Ng shows beautifully rendered images of epic swordplay, rooftop battles, horseback chases and moments of tender acceptance. The metaphor goes much deeper than a simple war of words compared to a physical fight. The feudal China setting has many connotation involving the couple’s modern day perceptions of parental influence, cultural pressures and a desire for adventure. The conversation often lapses into clichés but this is flagged up too, attributed to a penchant for Korean dramas. ‘Requiem for Romance’ deftly weaves together two seemingly only tangentially related scenarios and then carefully picks out the similarities and significances. It bears several viewings to fully appreciate, given the intricacies of both the visual and aural levels.