Affair (2010) tells a story of two girls – Santi and Reta - who used to be closed friend during their younger years and reunited later in their college life. To fit the film’s storyline in the framework of ‘affair’, the Affair directed by Nayoto Fiu Nuala focuses on the love triangle theme, between Santi – Daniel – Reta. Reta who is new at the college falls in love with Daniel who at that moment is Santi’s boyfriend. After an incident of Reta’s collapse in the café, only then Santi comes to know about Reta’s brain tumor. Then she decides to ‘give’ Daniel to Reta as her way to make Reta happy, since she will only has three month to live. Daniel who strongly rejects and refuses Santi’s decision, at first, later has to ‘give himself’ to Reta.
As three months passes Reta is still alive and healthy. One dark evening, every secrets reveal when Reta breaks the news that Daniel has proposed to her and she agrees. Reta, in her jealousy emotion reveals that she actually knows that Santi and Daniel are couple all a long, she also knows that Santi is pregnant and she also realise that Daniel only pretends to love her. Further she reveals that the brain tumor is just a fake and she is also pregnant with Daniel’s baby- which actually just a lie as to triggers Santi’s anger thus as a mechanism to satisfied Reta’s jealous emotion, as we witness her satisfaction smile later in the film. Santi’s hatred and anger control her, as we later witness the stabbing and killing of Reta by Santi with a knife from the kitchen. Santi’s hatred and anger has succeeded transforming the sweet and lovely Santi into an evil slasher monster. Thus, since she tells Daniel that she has killed and chopped Reta’s body into many small parts and stored them in a suitcase.
The film explores the issues of lust and romantic jealousy, which to a certain extent these feelings succeed to spark the emotions of hatred, anger and revenge between Santi and Reta. Thus, these emotions lead to the action of violence; the murder of Reta by Santi later in the story.
The Affair’s storyline starts with the middle ‘act’; in the morning after the murder of Reta by Santi. In a interesting way the director ‘moves’ Santi’s Reta’s and Daniel’s story at the same pace. Particularly at the parallel time wave and space between the ghostly Reta - who at this moment neither us nor Reta realise that she has been killed by Santi and now a ghost - and Santi in the ‘real world’. It is Santi who feel Reta’s present instead of Reta.
We were introduced with a sense of ‘horror’ feeling as the film starts. Santi’s hand moves by itself and later strangles her. To a certain degree, the scene indicates that Santi’s hand has a mind of it’s own and therefore serves as the configuration of the film’s monster. But as the story ends we then realise it is Reta’s who possesses Santi’s hand as her action for revenge.
At this stage – the middle – the film beautifully connotes the border of these two worlds; Santi’s and her real world, and Reta’s and her after life world. Santi world’s mise-en-scene is designed by a low key light, blue flitter and, ‘lonely’ and gloomy space. As for Reta’s world, the mise-en –scene design is white with a high key light and bright, and ‘clean’ yet quiet which represent ‘an after life’ world.
The middle act ends as Santi’s rushes to Daniel’s apartment and is surprised to hear that Reta is in the apartment. Santi then tells him that Reta is dead because she has killed her, ‘the ghost’ Reta who is in the kitchen - who Daniel meets earlier, waiting for him in his apartment when he comes home - then only realise that she is no longer human but a ghost. The beginning acts continues through Reta’s flashback; as she remembers her past we slowly start to understand the story.
As a whole, the Affair tells a woman’s story, which underlines the capability of a woman to transform into ‘a monster,’ either as a human or as non-human. Further, as a ‘human monster’ Santi’s fight and revenge is not demonstrated against the patriarchal order - which represents by Daniel - but towards Reta. However both Santi and Reta are seen to ‘over ruled’ the Order by dominated and controlled the Order as they easily take charge when deciding to whom Daniel should be with. Santi’s possession and her death, and Reta’s murder and later becoming a ‘lonely and sad’ ghost underline their punishment for to over ruled the Order. As for Daniel he is seen to be back in charge, as he take controlled of the situation when Santi’s in the state of panic after her killing action. But later dies in the car accident.
In brief, Affair represents a new dimension of woman monstrous element as a slasher in Asian cinema. However as Asian woman ‘human’ slasher, it has it limits. The rampage occurs only towards Reta – another woman - since the configuration of the Santi as slasher monster sparks by her hatred and anger towards Reta’s love jealousy for Daniel’s love for Santi. Not towards Daniel the Order.
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