Thursday, November 06, 2008

What's On at the National Museum?

YASUKUNI Encore Screening

Some time last month on 12 October, the National Museum had as part of its Weapons of Mass Desire exhibition, screened a rather controversial film by Chinese director Li Ying called Yasukuni, to a full house. For those (like myself) who had missed that screening, fret not, as there will be an encore screening this Sunday 9 Nov 08 at two separate timeslots of 2pm and 5pm at the National Museum Gallery Theatre

The 123-minute film explores the history of Tokyo's Yasukuni Shrine, where more than 2 million of Japan's war dead are enshrined, including over 1,000 war criminals convicted during the 1946-1948 Tokyo tribunal. The film shows not only the well-reported political incidents associated with the shrine, but also takes an in-depth look at the shrine's sword-making tradition. Yasukuni is a sprawling portrait of a clash between two versions of history that offers no easy answers to the uncomfortable questions it raises about reconciling the past with the present. The film raised a fair bit of controversy when traditional Japanese Nationalists caused 4 cinemas to drop the movie in its initial premiere in Japan in 2007.

You can read more about the movie here, and visit the Official Website (in Japanese) for more details. I would say this is a documentary not to be missed! Tickets are priced at S$8 / S$6.40 (Concession)

A Programme of the National Museum Cinémathèque
Co-presented with the Singapore Film Society

Days and Nights In The Forest / Aranyer Din Ratri
Director: Satyajit Ray
1969 / India / 115 mins / 35mm / Ratings to be advised
In Bangali with English subtitles

Date: Tuesday 11 November 2008
Time: 7.30pm
Venue: Gallery Theatre, Basement, National Museum of Singapore, 93 Stamford Road, Singapore 178897

S$8 for public/ S$6.40 concession price for students, seniors aged 60 and above NSF, and National Museum Members and Volunteers / Free admission for Singapore Film Society members

Enquiries: 6332 3659 / 6332 5642
Nearest MRT Station: Dhoby Ghaut

Widely regarded as one of Satyajit Ray's most magnificent films, Days and Nights in the Forest is a beautiful and touching story about four young middleclass men who leave Calcutta to spend some time in an empty bungalow in the forests of Palmau.

Putting the city and the countryside on a spectacular collision course, Ray's screenplay delights in subtly undercutting his Calcutta heroes, whose youthful arrogance gets them into a series of disastrous (but often hilarious) adventures as they interact with the locals. But what's really captivating is the remarkably literary quality of the film, as it produces a wonderful sense of the unspoken inner feelings that propel these characters towards their various destinies as they discover the complexities of love affairs, the unfulfilling nature of sexual pleasure, and the joys of true love.

Influenced by French cinema, in particular the work of Jean Renoir (whom Ray had firsthand experience of working with), the film's pacing and narrative gradually builds towards its climax, taking in along the way its most famous sequence ñ a delightful picnic scene.

By turns funny, sad and romantic, it's a work that confirms Ray's formidable reputation as a world film maker of the highest order.

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