As a director, when you try to create a drama you need to take in consideration a wide range of factors in order to make it attractive to the public. First of all a drama needs a good story, not necessarily too sophisticated, but with a good array of meanings.
In 'Stand Up' the story is poorly chosen, being very simple and having nothing more than emotional dimension. Even though it was a tragic moment, the girl faced her father in a way only Maxine Hong Kinston would narrate in her wonderful book 'The Woman Warrior'. Like in Kingston’s novel where the narrator confronts her mother, Emma from 'Stand Up' confronts her father when nobody around her was willing to do so. Her strength was build over series of disappointments and stories she found out about her father’s life.
The dialogue is good, adequate for a drama, with the soundtrack enhancing the key moments, but we are a little bit skeptical when it comes to acting. There were moments when the actors faded under the pressure of their own lines, looking out of place. The father for instance, when he is told to leave the funeral – the whole scene seemed to be taken out of a kid’s cartoon series.
On the other hand, one thing we really appreciated at Jinming Zhao’s 'Stand Up' was the score – bright and superbly chosen for this kind of short. We’ve seen over the years drama films with almost the same storyline, and most of the times the score was there only as a fill-up.
In 'Stand Up' the score comes to enhance the emotions, to create a proper environment for the action to bloom, to highlight the characters and to generate the overall mood. Even though we’ve seen this story a couple of times in the past, it wasn’t as intense as it is in Jinming Zhao’s perspective, with the addition of this exquisite soundtrack.
Review written by Vlad A.G