Sunday, April 18, 2010

[SIFF10] Conversations on Sago Lane

A short film that accompanied Sherman Ong's Memories of a Burning Tree, this documentary consists mainly of talking heads involving a group of senior citizens talking about a time from the past, about what made them choose to come to Singapore, their experiences during WWII, and how they are living out their twilight years amongst their group of peers. Split into 8 chapters over 27 minutes, we get an oral history lesson from a time bygone, and opens our eyes to their plight of today, having to live alone and numb to loneliness, living off public welfare assistance only if they qualify.

As this was not filmed on HD, it looked quite grainy when projected at Sinema Old School. Production wise it looks somewhat like a simple school project that went through its chapters of Arrival-War-Sago Lane-Ghosts-Madam Leong's Flat-Food-Quiet Times-Future quite literally in a series of interviews, some chapters focusing specifically on one interviewee and not consistently asked across all its subjects. Contains some fascinating insights into history of the Chinatown location that no longer exists, but only so in the memories of the older generation.

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