Saturday, August 22, 2009

[6th Singapore Short Cuts] Week 2 - 3rd Session

The longest of the sessions for this edition, it also included the only documentary amongst the selection, which turned out to be very professionally done, with recognizable actors and a compelling tale against the Battle for Singapore.

Hush Baby
Dir: Tan Wei Keong
2009 | 3:40 min | English credits, no dialogue | PG

Like Ally McBeal's signature dancing baby, this one's the crying, bawling equivalent, and I'm quite amazed by its sound design because it's as realistic as it can get with the varying attention seeking noises, coupled with those when being pacified. There's also some pixilation techniques being combined with the animation, and I thought this would really look exceptionally gorgeous if it was done on 3D, since, even on a 2D presentation, it did make me duck a little when there was an object flying toward the screen.

Miss a Shot
Dir: Ghazi Alqudcy & Ezzam Rahman
2008 | 8 min | Malay with English subtitles | M18

Miss a Shot is inspired by a real incident which took place at a garden in Northern Singapore. Clearly shot on video, it had a lot of fun infused naturally, thanks to the leads who were clearly feeding off each other's energy, as a man and woman, strangers to boot, start flirting with each other unabashedly. In the Malay language, this film had plenty of naughty dialogues and subtitles with innuendos both obvious and subtle, though a little pity that it didn't end with a bang (pardon the pun if you please). Still, it's easily the most light-natured of the lot presented today.

Kissing Faces / 亲亲
Dir: Wesley Leon Aroozoo
2009 | 11 min | Mandarin with English subtitles | PG

The opening shot was video-like as well, where we see an aged, balding man frolicking in a resort background with a young nubile female. They seem happy with each other's company, though of course this is engineered because it's a cheap, sleazy looking karaoke production. Which the film did perfectly well to mimic. But the narrative is nothing like the perfect world that exists within those videos, where the protagonist, a karaoke hostess, is pretty depressed enough to be mulling in deep thought over a ride down Singapore's red light district area of Geylang. Visually though, the shots are very diverse and had plenty of night time scenes where the streets are draped in neon, against very vivid memories of a childhood long bygone. The depressing monologue does get a little too indulgent after a while, where we learn of the hostess' search for an escape and a reboot of her life.

Dir: Kirsten Tan
2009 | 13 min | No dialogue | PG

Kirsten Tan's shorts continue to challenge me, and I have to admit I'm still quite dense to be able to appreciate her message and intent. It's an abstract short done in black and white, and without dialogue, though it had nice cinematography but unfortunately little else. The film deals with a boy and the titular sink found smack at the beachhead during low tide, and one with a working faucet head as well. As the tide grows, the boy becomes an adult, and then an old man. Perhaps this was about the passage of time, or how it is inevitable that we age, but whatever the case is, abstract shorts are still not my cup of tea.

Black Friday
Dir: Idzwan Othman (Wan)
2009 | 20:06 min | English, Japanese, Malay with English subtitles | PG

Black Friday could possibly be my highlight of this session's offering. It recounts the dark day of Singapore's history with the fall of Singapore in WWII, and is loosely based on real life accounts of those who have lived through the period, be they the British, Japanese, the Malays who held their ground against the invading forces, or even from the perpetrators. I thought the presentation style was much like Nanking, where actors take up different roles based on their real life counterparts, in order to narrate their various accounts, complete with re-enactment and archived footage thrown in for good measure since it's a serious documentary. There are some simple animation included to provide for a more interesting narrative experience, and it worked just perfectly. The iconic, probably propaganda, photograph which has Caucasian and Asian soldiers posing quite cordially for the camera, would surely have piqued a lot of interests from the audience to want to find out more.


A short Q&A session followed the screenings, and today's session is moderated by Warren Sin, who's the National Museum Cinematheque's curator for its film programmes.

LtoR: Warren Sin, Tan Wei Keong, Wesley Leon Aroozoo, Ghazi Alqudcy & Ezzam Rahman, Idzwan Othman

Part 1 of 3

Part 2 of 3

Part 3 of 3


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