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Short Film Review: Everyday Everyday (2009) by Tan Chui Mui

Everyday Everyday Still
"I need to tell you something"

Winner of the Grand Prix in the International Competition in Clermont-Ferrand, and having screener in a number of other festivals around the globe, “” is another testament to 's prowess as a (short) film director.

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While in bed with her husband, Sook Chen informs him that she has quit her job, would like to pursue writing, and that she had decided to go to Peru. A stupefied Ma begins to ask her about her reasons, but he does not get immediate answers. Instead, Sook Chn brings a globe and shows him that she picked Peru because it is the furthest place from Malaysia. The difference in the mentality of the two becomes immediately evident, while he appears needy and she cruel. After an intertitle that refers to his smoking, and that he quit because she was disgusted by his habit, he goes in the kitchen, pours a drink and then drives to a convenience store to buy a pack.

Next morning, she starts preparing Peruvian breakfast for the two of them, while he is just going along, evidently still perplexed by her words. More intertitles highlight how their life progresses, with the movie continuing in the bed, her not being able to deal with her feelings, and him going along, still in uncertainty. The busybody in his office adds another notch to their tension, when she mentions the change in Sook Chen's newest writings.

Tan Chui Mui has caught the quintessence of the way couples react and interact, in a way that seems to derive from personal experience. Men are all about logic, while women all about feelings, with the two mentalities coming in direct clash here. Through that prism, she manages, in the 18 minutes of her short, to both analyze her characters quite thoroughly, and to make a comment about the way the relationships of couples function nowadays.

In that fashion, what becomes obvious, additionally from her words, is that he still loves her but she does not care about their relationship all that much, although she still cares about him and feels comfortable living with him. These last two aspects seem to be what is keeping them together, perhaps until (or if) she becomes successful. That she is somewhat flimsy and he is not sure how to react in her attitudes becomes painfully evident also, in the closing scene in the car.

The way Tan Chui Mui and her DP, James Lee, capture and implement the bed and the bedroom is exceptional, with the images here being part of the story. The exterior shots add a more cinematic essence to the short, which would otherwise resemble a stage play, while placing the two protagonists in a wider context. Tan's own editing results in a relatively fast pace, while both the exterior shots and the intertitles are well placed within the short.

as Sook Chen and gossipy employee and as Ma highlight their antithetical chemistry nicely, with her being full of emotion and him desperately trying to keep his bottled up, while trying to understand her.

“Everyday Everyday” is a very intriguing and realistic short within its perception about couple's mentality, while its humoristic approach keeps it entertaining from beginning to end. At the same time, the questions about the whether the two will continue being together, and if they don't who will leave first, add another level of intrigue and entertainment.

About the author

Panos Kotzathanasis

Panagiotis (Panos) Kotzathanasis is a film critic and reviewer, specialized in Asian Cinema. He is the owner and administrator of Asian Movie Pulse, one of the biggest portals dealing with Asian cinema. He is a frequent writer in Hancinema, Taste of Cinema, and his texts can be found in a number of other publications including SIRP in Estonia, Film.sk in Slovakia, Asian Dialogue in the UK, Cinefil in Japan and Filmbuff in India.

Since 2019, he cooperates with Thessaloniki Cinematheque in Greece, curating various tributes to Asian cinema. He has participated, with video recordings and text, on a number of Asian movie releases, for Spectrum, Dekanalog and Error 4444. He has taken part as an expert on the Erasmus+ program, “Asian Cinema Education”, on the Asian Cinema Education International Journalism and Film Criticism Course.

Apart from a member of FIPRESCI and the Greek Cinema Critics Association, he is also a member of NETPAC, the Hellenic Film Academy and the Online Film Critics Association.

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