16 April 2009

God Man Dog

It comes to me as no surprise that God Man Dog has been chosen to feature in quite a few film festivals. It also comes to me as no surprise that this film comes from Taiwan, a country with difference so vast both in terms of class and religion.

We see characters from different classes with various different religious beliefs. Involved are (1) an estranged middle-class couple, the man practising Chinese Buddhism and the woman starting to believe in Christian God; (2) a poor couple migrating from the Philippines, with their rigid belief in Jesus; (3) their daughter who practises San Da (a kind of kickboxing) and her girlfriend who wants to be a model; (4) a man called the 'Yellow Bull' who travels around collecting the unwanted replicas of gods or goddesses; and (5) a young vagabond who likes to hide himself in the luggage compartment in coaches.

Their lives crisscross and intertwine in various ways, begging us to ponder on the themes of fate and coincidence and how God is involved in all of these. For director Singing Chen, perhaps this concept of God transcends different religions as he seems to focus on the cosmic level of divine predetermination. No one can explain how it works and the law of karma seems to work its way subtly. For example, the Yellow Bull always seems to be unlucky even though he is a good man dedicating himself to repairing forsaken god replicas.

What I find beautiful about this film is that it makes me look at the chain of causal laws in a new way. We may not be rewarded in the way we want all the time but God always has his or her way in sending us signs and makes us realise the mystery of life. Or perhaps all this is just our interpretation in our attempt to make sense of this perhaps absurd universe. The film, I'm happy to say, manages to convey these levels of complexity in belief and faith.

I know some of you may have trouble understanding my review, but you need to watch the film to see what I mean.

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