Thursday, December 07, 2006

Singapore Films Released on DVD

This is an article which first appeared at Twitch.

As Todd mentioned in an earlier post, Singapore just had its first online DVD store launched. Which means an international audience will now have an opportunity to sample some of this year's theatrical releases from Singapore on DVD format. I shall attempt to recommend some of the more recent releases, and it's up to you to give them a shot!

4:30 is Royston Tan's latest feature film, and was the closing film of this year's Singapore International Film Festival, the first local film to do so. It has won several critical acclaim, the latest being the NETPAC (Network for the Promotion of Asian Cinema) Award at the 26th Hawaii International Film Festival. Some of you would have been familiar with his first feature, 15, about a group of delinquent youths seeking an identity in our orderly island, or have watched a number of his short films (also released in a separate collector's DVD), and you would find this film very much different with its distinct lack of "noise". It's quiet, contemplative, and very mature storytelling.

In contrast, Singapore GaGa, a documentary made by Tan Pin Pin, captures vividly the aural landscape of Singapore, tuning in with accomplished musicians, and buskers on the streets. Playing to full houses in its limited run at a local screen, it'll offer you a different perspective into the lives of Singaporeans as seen, or rather, heard, through the background sounds and music of our everyday lives.

Also another documentary, Diminishing Memories, in my opinion, is an important one showcasing the progress made in Singapore's relatively short, modern history. As much as most know about the rapid rise to urbanization, this film captures the story of now forgotten villages of old, when farms dominated the landscape in the west. Told from a very personal point of view from the filmmaker, Diminishing Memories contains numerous clips and photographs of a bygone era, and interviews with the residents who were once neighbours, being forced to relocate into new urban living environment. It's a valued film that deserves a place in our film archives for its preservation of lives that once were, of a lifestyle now almost forgotten.

Saving the best for the last, Singapore Dreaming is an excellent piece from husband and wife team of Colin Goh and Woo Yen Yen. Relatively new to the local filmmaking scene, their movie Singapore Dreaming played to a full house in a Charity Gala screening during this year's Singapore International Film Festival, and is a portrayal of an average family in Singapore, looking into their trials and tribulations which some deem too close for comfort. To me, it's an honest amalgamation, and an acute observation of some of the issues we experience today, on our fixation with that perennial Singapore Dream, or is it rather, the material Singapore Plan? Winner of the Montblanc New Screenwriters Award in the 54th San Sebastian Film Festival held earlier this year, it contains arguably the best ensemble cast for a local movie to date.

4:30 Official Website.
4:30 Embedded Flash Trailer at YouTube.
Order the DVD.

Singapore GaGa Official Website, containing a link to an Embedded QuickTime trailer.
Order the DVD.

Diminishing Memories Official Website.
Order the DVD.

Singapore Dreaming Official Website .
Singapore Dreaming Embedded Flash Trailer at YouTube.
Order the DVD.

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