Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Bangkok Cinema Scene special: Singapore Film Festival, May 21-24, 2015

Wide-ranging views of contemporary Singaporean society are portrayed in six entries of the Singapore Film Festival, which runs from Thursday to Sunday, May 21 to 24 at SF World Cinema at CentralWorld in Bangkok. Marking 50 years of diplomatic relations with Thailand, the festival's selection offers romance, comedy, drama and even horror.

Tickets are free, and will be handed out to those who are queued up 30 minutes before the shows.

  • Singapore Girl – In this 2014 romantic comedy, a Singapore Airlines flight attendant who has broken up with her boyfriend takes a vacation in Thailand. On Koh Samui, the quirky young woman bonds with a goofball young man, also a Singaporean who is also recovering from a break-up. They seem to get along, even though they don't speak the same language. Kan Lume (The Art of Flirting) directs.
  • Sayang Disayang (My Beloved Dearest) – The first Malay film produced in Singapore since the city declared independence in 1965 was submitted to this year's Academy Awards, and though it didn't make the short list, the film did win several accolades on the festival circuit. Directed by Sanif Olek, it is the tender portrait of the slowly developing relationship between an embittered, disabled elderly Muslim widower and his Indonesian housekeeper. Frequently prone to burst out in song, the stout maid Murni remains ever cheerful, despite her employer's refusal to accept that her diligent daily preparation of the traditional spicy dish sambal goreng is as good or maybe even better than his late wife's.
  • BantingSayang Disayang sparked an interest in more Malay Singaporean films, including this unusual sports comedy from last year. In Bintang, a young woman from a strict Muslim household secretly joins an all-female pro-wrestling team. Raihan Halim directs.
  • Unlucky Plaza – For a change of pace, here's darkly comic satire about a Filipino restauranteur (Jeffrey Quizon), who is struck by a run of bad luck when his eatery has a food-poisoning scandal, he's on the verge of bankruptcy and he's hit by a financial scam. He spirals out of control and ends up taking hostages. It's the latest effort from cult director Ken Kwek, whose 2013 debut feature Sex.Violence.FamilyValues was initially banned in the city-state.
  • Ms. J Contemplates Her Choice – Further examination of Singaporean society takes place in a thriller that features the screen debut of famous singer Kit Chan. A frequent guest on a radio show that offers advice on relationships, she is forced into a series of difficult decisions by an anonymous caller. Jason Lai, who did the award-winning short Three Feet Apart, directs.
  • Bring Back the Dead – A young mother (Jesseca Liu) who is grieving over the loss of her seven-year-old son consults a former caregiver, Madam Seetoh (Liu Ling Ling), to bring back the boy's soul. This leads to strange and deadly occurrences. Released in January in the city-state, it's directed by television veteran Lee Thean-jeen.

May 21

  • 6pm - Singapore Girl
  • 8pm - Sayang Disayang

May 22

  • 6pm - Unlucky Plaza
  • 8.20pm - Banting

May 23

  • 2pm - Unlucky Plaza
  • 4.30pm - Sayang Disayang
  • 6.20pm - Bring Back the Dead
  • 8.20pm - Ms. J Contemplates Her Choice

May 24

  • 2.30pm - Singapore Girl
  • 4.30pm - Banting
  • 6pm - Ms. J Contemplates Her Choice
  • 8pm - Bring Back the Dead

(Cross-published in The Nation)

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