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Something for Oct: Salawati

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October 9 marks the opening of Salawati, a feature debut from director Marc X Grigoroff, a Singapore-based writer/director who was inspired by an incident to make his first feature. The film opens in Golden Village theatres islandwide.

Synopsis: Salawati is the story of a 12-year-old Singaporean-Malay girl who has just witnessed the death of her older brother, Shahim. The tragedy occurs when the boy goes for a swim and quickly gets into trouble. Wati, who cannot swim, begs a man to help her, but he ignores her pleas and Shahim drowns.

Wati’s parents are devastated. Her mother tries to hold the family together, while her father struggles to control his misdirected anger. The role of Islam in the lives of Wati and her family is revealed, for it is impossible to separate their beliefs from their lifestyle and the manner in which they deal with Shahim’s death.

Wati’s story is intertwined with two others: an Indian courier with a penchant for drinking and fighting; and a Chinese man who is consumed by career goals. It becomes increasingly apparent that each of these men played some role in the death of her brother, and as Wati begins to follow them, the mystery deepens.

Finally, a haunting sequence illuminates the events surrounding her brother’s death, and Wati is left with a choice that will change the lives of everyone.

“Salawati” explores the fragile nature of human relationships, particularly in the face of tragedy. It calls into question our notions of morality, mercy, revenge and ultimately, forgiveness.


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