Short Film Review “Poppies”
The suppression of disquieting recollections we’ve made every effort to hide away from our mind’s penchant to dwell on that which unsettles us can be an ever-present specter, weighing us down emotionally and mentally when not wishing to deal with the pain. Yet, what makes this fight that much more acute is when the words of another stir it all up, forcing us to face the truths we don’t desire to admit. If and when this occurs, can we manage the courage to face our demons and find freedom? It is a long, ocean-spanning flight upcoming for corporate lawyer Charles Harris (Matthew Knowles), who’s business dealings show no sign of ever letting him find a moment’s rest, despite it all being self-imposed.
Once feeling a semblance of his own concept of “peace” as the flight gets underway, the older Chinese woman sitting next to him, Auntie Ling (Cindera Che) cannot help but notice his aura of distracted, social isolation (and a bouquet of flowers he had brought on board) and commences to engage Charles in a conversation that crosses the breadth of time to the 1940’s as she tells of her epic, exotic, impassioned, and not completely innocent journey of meeting and falling in love with her husband Shu Zhen (Jonathan Stanton), an opium trader in Shanghai. At first mildly interested, then fading into annoyed frustration while trying to bury himself in work, Charles cannot avoid becoming immersed in her story or the revealing light it shines on his own life.