Two items this week.
The Singapore International Film Festival is about to kick off this month, beginning Nov 23. This is a festival quite close to my heart because, well, it’s also close to where I live. OK, bad joke. But it’s the festival where I first met Tsai Ming-liang in person (well, if you can call standing a few feet away from him a “meeting”), and where I saw What Time is it There? (Ni Na Bian Ji Dian?) on the big screen and was captivated. It was also where I saw a Kurosawa Kiyoshi film on the big screen for the very first time. The film was Kairo (Pulse), and while it was a great experience watching it at midnight with a gasping, screaming crowd, going back to the hotel in the wee hours and spending the night alone in my windowless room wasn’t. And it was at the festival that I attended the Asian premiere of Sell Out!, one of my all-time favourite Malaysian films. Over the years I’ve had the pleasure of attending the festival with great friends I made in Singapore, even though in the first couple of years of my SGIFF attendance, I was mostly on my own.
This year, there will be a quartet of Malaysian films there. Well, one is a co-production made in the Philippines. Dain Said’s noir fantasy thriller, Interchange, has been selected as the opening film (having had its world premiere in Locarno, Switzerland a few months ago). The film has piqued much interest here at home because of its unique subject matter, and because of Dain’s reputation having made the critically-acclaimed Bunohan and the controversial Dukun. Interchange is set for a Malaysian release on Dec 1, which is shortly after its screening at the SGIFF.
Then there’s Ho Yuhang’s Mrs K, an “urban western” about a housewife with a violent past, which will be at the In Conversation With section, with Simon Yam in attendance (the film stars Yam, Kara Hui, Wu Bai and Faizal Hussein). I’d like to think that Mrs K is really about my wife, but my wife doesn’t have a secret, violent past. And also, I don’t actually have a wife to begin with. The film has already been nominated for Best Action Choreography at the upcoming Golden Horse awards.
Ho also has a film in the omnibus Art Through Our Eyes which also features Joko Anwar, Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Brillante Mendoza and Eric Khoo.
And lastly, there’s Bradley Liew’s highly acclaimed Singing in Graveyards, a Philippines-Malaysia co-production about an ageing rock-star impersonator, starring Pepe Smith, with a cameo by renowned Filipino filmmaker Lav Diaz (whose Venice winner The Woman Who Left will also be screened at the festival).
You can find more information and screening details at the official SGIFF website.
Short, Sweet and Scary
Meanwhile, here’s a little short horror film that was posted by Screen Anarchy (the site formerly known as Twitch Film). It’s only 15 seconds long, and it’s a total creep-out. Yes, a scary horror film that’s 15 seconds long. Says Screen Anarchy:
We came upon this little short called THE WATCHER, written and directed by Ruwan Heggelmans, and made for a contest of 15-second-long horror films. Ruwan went for creepy, which isn’t easy to do in just 15 seconds, but watch.
See it here, and let me know if it creeped you out.