Sunday, October 25, 2015

Kudos to Singapore Shortcuts Films 2015 -Awesome Films

Returning with its 12th edition, Singapore Short Cuts continues to be one of the most distinguished showcases of Singapore short films. The programme features a wide selection of recent works including documentaries, animation and experimental films paired with engaging post-screening discussions with the filmmakers. Some of the filmmakers whose films have been featured in previous editions of the Singapore Short Cuts include Ho Tzu Nyen, Anthony Chen, Boo Junfeng, Sun Koh, Tan Pin Pin and Eric Khoo. 

Last year I did not manage to catch the films and this year I'm glad I did. Specially since its SG50 and I heard more funding was provided and hence there were more films to choose from to feature. I hope its not SG50 but that the government will create more funding for anyone who is interested in portraying an issue through films - and Provide more avenues for these films to be shown - best if throughout the years - in schools; in their functions etc - to create more awareness and support. 

24 October, 3pm (M18)
25 October, 3pm (PG)
The Tiger of 142B
The Great Escape
Not Working Today
The Body
Total running time: 104mins
The Swan of Tuonela
Three Little Pigs
My Autograph Book 

Total running time: 102mins
After having watch the films featured on 24 Oct, I just had to go back for the 25 Oct. And this time making time to hear from the directors and cast. 

There were many of the films that I liked, but these few stood out and tugged at the strings of my heart.
The great thing about films is that the symbolization and themes are how you interpret them to be with your actual experiences and the learning from your own reflection.

The Tiger of 142B
Dir. Henry & Harry Zhuang
2015 | Singapore | Drama/Mystery | 11 mins | In English | PG13

Synopsis: Kevin, an unemployed man in his late twenties, finds communicating with his girlfriend increasingly difficult. At the same time, a series of mysterious killings suddenly unsettles the people of Block 142B. Some claim to have seen a roaming tiger at the estate… Adapted from Dave Chua’s short story ‘The Tiger of 142B’ from the book ‘The Beating and Other Stories’.

This film spoke to me in these cuts:
Unemployed husband living on the salary of his working wife - where he tries to please her by pretending to be someone he is not (said he will repair the piano that she likes but instead spends the money she gives him to get a repairman to tune the piano). She strays and is found smsing 'a friend' on the phone constantly and eventually he spots her going up the 'friend' car. He rejecting a job because of the look in the interviewer eyes. And the tiger appears in his life. 
- To me, the tiger was symbolizing him. The desperation and losing of control and most importantly lacking of respect from others, caused him to take on another role in the fantasy he lives in. Someone with power, who vents his frustration through the killings, just to escape from the reality which no longer accepts him.

Passenger / Tang Kang Sheng / 19:30 / NC16 – Special Jury Prize; and Best Performance (Teo Jun Jie & Lau Xiang Ying) – w/ director and co-writer in attendance - Zhen Hui and Minyi run into each other at a class gathering during their final year. Through the night they rekindle the past and romantic interest grows that was already there before. However it is unable to progress because something hangs over them and they quickly realize that what they have with each other has to expire. .
Passenger 夜路 Trailer from Tang Kang Sheng on Vimeo.
This film spoke to me in these cuts: I can't remember word for word but here's the gist
Can you be more responsible? You were the one who said you did not want to go home. What were the last few years to you? Laughter and giggles. 
- Many people try to maintain relationships by shutting themselves down, not communicating, but disregarding to prevent quarrels. And after a while, just like a seed, this irritation grows till it finally explodes and it leads to divorce. And just like the laughter and giggles that tries to hide the tension, its a short term solution that won't solve the problem.

Three Little Pigs

Ang Geck Geck

Cecilia, an introvert preschooler, is selected to represent her school in a storytelling competition. But first, she has to present the story to her classmates. Excited by the opportunity, Cecilia is determined to shine despite the many obstacles in her way.
在幼兒園上課的Cecilia 被老師選為班上的講故事代表。獲得這次難得的機會,她感到興奮不已,但卻也讓自己陷入了自我的掙扎之中。

This film caused me to tear :
- Do we know our neighbors? Will we render help OR do we just say its other people's business? How many children such as the protagonist is still waiting for that kind assistance in Singapore? I've seen many similar situations and I lament at myself in forgetting, in not searching them out to provide a more long term assistance. Its not the grandparents fault. Many are 'thrown' with the children because the parents separate or at times end up in jail due to petty crimes and they themselves are struggling to survive to care about the 'heart welfare' of the child. Many children end up with the dreams of escaping by dropping out of school and working at very young ages, and finding security in the wrong places - and that vicious cycle for the next generation. If only. 

Dahdi [Granny]

Kirsten Tan 
Singapore / 2014 / 

An elderly widow finds an unexpected visitor, a young asylum-seeking girl, in her home during dinner. The widow is trapped between morality and legality. She chose legality.Inspired by a 2012 event, whereby 40 Burmese Rohingya asylum seekers due to shipwreck arrived on the shores of Pulau Ubin.

This film caused me to tear :
- The eyes of the child so lost and so helpless and so fearful of the world - Left with no one. Yet because of possible circumstances, (what came to my mind when I watched this film was the sharing by my Burmese friend that a lot of the Rohingyas nowadays are rumored to actually be paid by ISIS to spread the ideology in the countries they escape to, and in Myanmar these days, Rohingyas have become rich and are moving closer and closer to the city center.) and so do we disregard rationality ? Same as how the problem now is with European Refugees ; and instances of Australia and USA with the extreme ideologies of the shooters. How many things that we hope are simple are instead that with many layers of complexities. Am I being selfish to be considering those other factors?

The Autograph Book

Singapore /Wee Li Lin

Autograph books, filled with poems and prose penned by friends or frenemies alike, were key to deciphering the messy web of primary school friendships. Take a nostalgic meander down memory lane in Autograph Book, which looks at how a tender friendship between two 12-year-old girls is put to the test.

This film made me reflect:

- on how past experiences have made me who I am today. Friendships. Failures. Successes. Relationships. 
Let our journey be something we enjoy not live with regrets.

Not Working Today

Shijie Tan
Singapore / 2014 / Fiction / 19'19

Synopsis: Apu Ahasan decides one day to not go to work but instead go to the governmental office to complain against his employer who has not paid salary to him and his co-workers. However to prevent being found out, he fakes illness.In the governmental office, an errant lawyer comes up to him to suggest to use him as a lawyer which thankfully he did not accept and the officer who questions him on the case.

This film made me reflect on the current migrant situation in Singapore:
- These bosses who do not pay salary, you are incorrigible. Coming from 2 sides of the coins, There are Migrant Workers who truly need help and those who are just taking advantage of the fact that they are migrant and then cheat through their situation. And many have commented that the tone in which the officer use is not appropriate just because they are migrants. But... The officer uses the same official tone with us Singaporeans. Its their duty to find out the actual situation and ask questions. 

And it made me reflect on M21- A social enterprise that I visited in Hongkong where students were given the fundings and courses to explore issues through making of a film. I wonder if we could explore this further in schools. Its an effective way of education through reflection rather than just instructions and words.

There's one last showcase on 31st October. The theme seemed to be horror though. So if you are a fan of such theme, join them! #imtooscareycattodoso

31 October, 3pm (M18)
Chamber of Tongue Ripping 
Forest of Copper Columns
Chamber of Rock
Chamber of Ox
Mountain of Knives
Yard of Stone Mill
Total running time: 62mins
Free tickets can be collected at the National Museum of Singapore (Visitor Services Counter) from 17 October 2015. Tickets are available on a first-come, first-served basis, and limited to four tickets per person. Any remaining tickets will be given out at the door on the screening day. 

National Museum of Singapore, 93 Stamford Road
Singapore 178897, Tel: 6332 3659
Opening hours: Monday to Sunday, 10am to 7pm

Valid identification showing proof of age is required for all screenings.

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