Singapore International Film Festival Celebrates Singaporean Social Satires and Asian Spy Genre4 min readReading Time: 4 minutes
From the official SGIFF media release:
From Jack Neo’s social commentary of hot button topics in a high-strung nation such as the education system, to the irreverent imagining of local archetypes and affairs of Woo Yen Yen and Colin Goh, the two domestic dramas sparkle with originality and confidence as they poke good-natured fun at Singaporeans, their obsessions, and local politics ““ an approach rarely seen in Singapore at that time.
SGIFF Executive Director, Yuni Hadi, said, “Local social satire was at its infancy then and I Not Stupid and TalkingCock The Movie struck a chord with the local audience because these films were one of the firsts that engaged with subjects close to the hearts of Singaporeans in a humorous but honest lens. This approach sparked discussions and created a relevance to the role of Singapore film. Congratulations to Jack Neo, Woo Yen Yen and Colin Goh on their films’ 15th year milestone.”
A box office success, I Not Stupid went on to receive international recognition at the Golden Bauhinia Awards (Best Chinese Film) and 2002 Taiwan Golden Torch Awards (Best Chinese Humanitarian Film). It was also nominated for Best Asian Film at the 2003 Hong Kong Film Awards.
Woo Yen Yen and Colin Goh went on to win several awards, including Europe’s largest screenwriting prize at the 2007 San Sebastian International Film Festival and also the Best Asian Film Award at the 2008 Tokyo International Film Festival for their second feature, Singapore Dreaming.
From Korean director Hang Hyeong-mo’s The Hand of Fate (1954) made at a time when the country was struggling towards recovery in the wake of the Korean war, to Singapore’s very own Gerak Kilat (1966) by Jamil Sulong, and the first Australian-Hong Kong co-production The Man from Hong Kong (1975), the Festival’s Classics line-up draws attention to the region’s unique storytelling style of the popular cult genre which hit its peak during the Cold War era.
SGIFF Programme Director, Pimpaka Towira, said, “Asian cinema fascinates with its cultural richness and diversity. As we explore its development from pure espionage storylines, to the eventual mash-up with martial art styles, Asian spy genre speaks of the region’s high adaptability to produce blistering cinematic legacy with a distinct Asian voice. We are also appreciative of the collaboration with Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information which brings about this noteworthy sampler of the spy genre from yesteryear.”
Speaking on the screenings of these defining films of the region at this year’s Festival, Yuni Hadi added, “The Singapore International Film Festival has always championed dynamic and bold voices in Asian cinema. Whether it’s the Singaporean social satires or the Asian spy genre, at the core of it all is our drive to tell stories that reflect the intricacies of our diverse cultures while inspiring one to pause and reflect. The Festival creates that meeting point for filmmakers and audiences, framing the importance of telling our own stories, and being that space for them to be told.”
The SGIFF is an event of the Singapore Media Festival, hosted by Info-communications Media Development Authority of Singapore (IMDA). SGIFF’s Official Sponsors include Presenting Sponsor since 2014, Marina Bay Sands; Official Festival Time Partner, IWC Schaffhausen; Official Automobile, BMW and Official Airline, Singapore Airlines.
The full festival line-up and ticketing details will be announced in end October 2017.
(Images courtesy of 28th SGIFF)