Movie Talk: 24th Singapore International Film Festival (15-25 September 2011)
By the time you read this article, you should at most be a day away from one of Singaporeâ€™s most acclaimed events â€“ the 24th Singapore International Film Festival. Almost two and a half decades have passed but the festival has not lost its touch with its fans, showering them with films of wide-ranging genres and touching movie-goersâ€™ hearts with selective applauded titles in a ten-day event.
Drawing interested movie buffs to the event is one thing. Offering them a luxurious venue to indulge in is another. Held at the newly-renovated state-of-the-art theatres in Shaw Lido, movie fans are sure to realise this year that one of the primary factors that contribute to the magic of movie-watching is the venue â€“ the seats, the sound system, the ambience and of course, the responses of the delightful audiences themselves.
As in most events, audiences should immerse themselves in the glorious moments of the opening and closing films, as they serve as the equivalent of the lifting and dropping of the curtains of a very entertaining show. From the exploration of sexual liberalization in China in the opening film â€œRed Light Revolutionâ€ (China) (directed by Sam Voutas, who is in town to join and meet the locals) to commemorating one of the most memorable F1 Race drivers Ayrton Senna da Silva in â€œSennaâ€ (UK) (directed by Asif Kapadia), this yearâ€™s festival is slated to be one of the best years, not forgetting that â€œRed Light Revolutionâ€ is nominated for Best Director and Best Performance at the Silver Screen Awards 2011.
There are numerous films for you to choose from. So, letâ€™s start with some highlights from our very own Garden City. Singapore offers its very own triad-themed â€œThe Gangâ€ and the collision of teenage-parental worlds in â€œFairytalesâ€ (both directed by Kelvin Sng), while a six-film compendium â€œEchoing Loveâ€ (spearheaded by local artiste Edmund Chen) and a poetic â€œI have lovedâ€ adds flavour to the power mix. And dancing with multiple individualised perspectives is â€œEclipsesâ€, Singaporeâ€™s answer to â€œBoomtownâ€ (2002).
With the current craze on vampirism, itâ€™s no surprise that there are at least two films on this genre. First up is â€œVampire Girl Vs. Frankenstein Girlâ€ (Japan). Packed with special effects, this film will thrill you with its visually-engaging impact. â€œVampiresâ€ (Belgium) is the other film that entertains as a mockumentary. Dance enthusiasts will probably find delight in â€œPinaâ€ (Germany), a film covering the groundbreaking work of the late Pina Bausch, a leading influencer of modern dance. Combining supernatural with comedic elements is â€œThe Sellingâ€ (USA), where horror and humour fuse to create a film for both horror and comedy movie-goers.
For those looking to the East for some adrenaline-pumped action, South Korea presents â€œSecret Reunionâ€, which provides a take on a commonly-discussed topic: tension between North and South Korea. Fans of â€œShiriâ€ (1999) and â€œJoint Security Areaâ€ (2000) are sure to love this flick. Hong Kong presents â€œbeside(s,) happinessâ€, a look at a late blossoming love between a pregnant lady and the father of her unborn child, in the tradition of â€œJunoâ€ (2007). Holding the Guiness record for the longest one-scene film is Japanâ€™s â€œAsakusa Daydreamâ€ on single parenthood. The Land of the Rising Sun also offers an animation â€œGreen Daysâ€ – which explores the angst of oneâ€™s adolescent years.
The western world brings us â€œDelicatessenâ€ (France) (which sounds like the antithesis of â€œChocolatâ€ (2000) â€“ and with a darker touch) while â€œEnter the Voidâ€ (France) speaks of the afterlife in a psychedelic world. While â€œRevenge of the Electric Carâ€ (USA) sounds much like Stephen Kingâ€™s â€œCarrieâ€ (1976), it is anything but. Explore the origins of Dracula in â€œThe Truth about Draculaâ€ (Germany), walk the path of the superhero in â€œGriff the Invisibleâ€ (Australia) and delve into the broken lives of war-torn families in â€œThe Duck Hunterâ€ (Italy).
The Middle East presents â€œMan without a Cell Phoneâ€ (Israel), a film on cell phone radiation with doses of humour. Jordanâ€™s â€œCaptain Abu Raedâ€ offers a tale of friendship, acceptance and forgiveness, in the tradition of â€œThe Kite Runnerâ€ (2007) while Bulgariaâ€™s â€œTiltâ€ speaks of a coupleâ€™s adaptability to life in a changed landscape.
China stands on its own with its offerings of â€œLao Waiâ€ (a film on cross-cultural relationships), â€œChongqing bluesâ€ (a one-man journey to uncovering the mysteries behind the murder of his son) and â€œWangâ€™s Idealâ€ (a take on a Chinese couple adapting to a rapidly-changing culture). It can be observed that collaborations among various countries have resulted in films such as â€œ33 Postcardsâ€(China/France) (a romantic tale between a couple with unusual backgrounds), â€œThe Rice Paddyâ€ (China/France)(a film on the shift of rural workers to urban areas â€“ filmed using non-professional actors and entirely in the Dong language, a dialect of Tibetan-Burmese originâ€ andÂ â€œSummer Pastureâ€ (China/USA), a narrative about the life of a Tibetan family. Of course, there are other collaborations among countries which I will leave it to you to explore for yourself.
There are many more films to be explored.
Begin your adventure by checking out the full schedules Â here (hint: the various dates are on the left frame).
Enjoy the festival!