Category Archives: Film
There is something about watching an action-thriller plot unfold at your favourite landmarks, especially those where you have been before and explored. And when they get involved in something bigger and more extraordinary, it’s strangely elating. It’s like Manet’s “Luncheon on the Grass“; why would it garner such a huge response if not for its familiar contemporary venue?
: The Darjeeling Limited (Wes Anderson)
As gradually as the way the storyline and characters develop, and quietly as the director’s knack for carefully placed idiosyncratic moments, offbeat and melancholic at times- The Darjeeling Limited was a film that grew on me.
Amidst a colourful landscape and spiritual scape of India, the film traces the reunion of the Whitman brothers, their subsequent spiritual journey together that veers off-course into a series of unexpected events. Bill Murray’s (Lost in Translation) weirdly brief appearances at the beginning and end of the film seemed almost like visual tabs that concocts that quiet, offbeat yet strangely affective atmosphere that was brewing in the entire film.
This film also stood out in the director’s manipulation of space, light and matter, creating many visually memorable moments. The camera pans across a scene where the train compartments were used as receptacles to contain the lives of random characters, individually placed and framed in set ups that varies from a bedroom with a window to a flight on board a plane that is about to take off (my personal favourite). MARK magazine (April/May) also featured an article ‘The Darjeeling Narrative’ which describes the director’s staged choreography as a powerful story-telling device-
The arrangement of the three main characters in the midground with staged relatives and scenery in the foreground and background creates visual depth and parallax, as if watching an animated version of a vast Renaissance painting portraying several stories by travelling from one side of the painting to the other. Such a well defined composition creates a moment of real emotion that engraves in our memory.
The soundtrack was enjoyable, suitably offbeat for the film and forbearing (for me) as well- this particular song by The Kinks would put anyone straight in a travel mood!
“This Time Tomorrow”, The Kinks
frantically packing, somewhat.
(Taxidermia runs mainly in the festival circuit)
I found myself strangely attracted to captivated by György Pálfi‘s 2nd feature – the disturbing yet strangely humane Taxidermia.
Taxidermia is a multi-generational pseudo-fairy tale. Without giving too much away, it is about a lowly military servant, a speed-eating athlete, and a taxidermist.
Yes, there are explicit scenes, lots of gore and viscera flipping around and other weird phenomena Continue reading
Dug the The Velvet Underground and Joy Division for the weekend!
Exploding Plastic Inevitable: Andy Warhol & The Velvet Underground!-
CONTROL- Anton Corbijn‘s feature film on Joy Division front man, the late Ian Curtis.
Good film, no doubt, great cinematography, personification and performances.
Sam Riley’s’ portrayals of Curtis’ solo moments in his creative life- inditing words and poems, penning lyrics induced from a tormented personal life and recording live in the studio are the imageries and captured moods that linger on…
So this is permanence
Love shattered pride
What once was innocence
Turned on its side
A cloud hangs over me
Marks every move
Deep in the memory of what once was love
starts work again tmr after a 5 day break!
CLOUDS IN A SHELL
by Liao Jiekai
qmark attended a screening during SIFF a few weeks back, of the latest work by our good friend Jiekai. Although the final director’s cut is not out even as of now, we saw a rather polished film in terms of cinematography, acting and direction, or at least in comparison with the other films screened that evening.
The film tells a story about psychological torment and (I guess) of its implied release. 2 main characters, acted by very impressive first-timers Jaclyn Chia and Jason Hui, reveal figments of their imagination and how they coped with their internal stress. I feel its not so much about the sequential flow of events, but more of a certain strand of illogicality that creates that creeping mood of the film and ties everything up. The trailer here shows it really well:
Some of the inspiration came from the movie “Invisible Waves” by Pen-Ek Ratanaruang (Last Life in the Universe), which is really about “atmosphere, atmosphere, atmosphere and atmosphere”; haunting, brooding and eating at you.
Being a student director isn’t easy at all. Shooting schedules are really intense, day-night affairs that involve lots of management, concentration and problem-solving. Working on his set, I say that they can be more draining than architectural submissions! So give it up to Jiekai, upcoming director-extraordinaire!
(Jiekai’s Director’s Reel 0506)
“8 local literary quickies adapted for TV titillation.”
That’s how Arts Central has described their Singapore Short Story Project, now into its 3rd Season. The episode which I was involved in is finally going to be shown this Sunday, 20th January at 9pm! Adapted from 2 short stories by local writers, “Video” by Alfian Sa’at as well as another by Denyse Tessensohn, it tells tales of 2 distinct people. Even though the events that unfold could be seen as “conventional”, it is the intricacies of development and setting in Singapore that gives it a fresh perspective.
Well much was learnt about directing and the evolution from script to visual reality – the issues of perception and choreography becomes pertinent and can drive the film in wildly different directions and readings. The creation of content (symbolic/contextual) also becomes a project in understanding and giving depth to the story. It’s almost like architecture where you articulate a central idea into material form; and not to mention the importance of spatial composition.
At many times stressful, at certain times really fun, but definitely memorable!
embarks on P3.
Its almost like a New Wave.
Sinema (SG Cinema) has been rather active lately – never has local film seen such a fervent new body of works. It harks back to the heyday of Run-Run Shaw and Cathay Keris in the 1960s, when P. Ramlee was a household name.
These new films speak out the contemporary Singaporean condition: universal in scope and themes, but always with a (stereotyped) local “context” which we are all familiar with. Like ah-bengs, rojak culture, getai, shopping – but still that recognisable theme of displacement, loneliness, alienation. Are we such a sad lot?
1. GONE SHOPPING
Plus, Sinema seems to just linger. Those unflinching long shots, laid back cutting creates that slow, arthouse mood, but I guess its palatable for most since the context is immediately recognisable. Oh but that’s forgetting other films which can also be rather edgy in treatment.
I say its been great for the filmmakers’ lot, and just keep on pushing pushing pushing! Jack Neo better buck up eh.
Here’s some well-deserved publicity! (Check out Sinema.sg for more on local film!)
is going for the 4th Singapore Short Cuts!
Crazy, whimsical and fun, with lots of great props and sets. If you like Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, you might just like this other by the same director- similar in style but not quite doing the same thing. Go watch it for some out of the world experience and for the other bits you may discover along the way.
Specimens A and B.
A. Cannes: Special Mention award, universal tale of love and loss, 23-year-old self-directorial effort, short film, SFC Short Film Grant S$6,700, S$17,000 production, unknown cast.
B. Sold to over 30 countries, fictional Chinese mythology, Cubix & Kosmic Pte. Ltd., full-length animation feature, S$30 million deal with MDA for 5 feature films, US$3.7 million production, character merchandising, famous artistes (JJ Lin) for voiceovers.
> > Publicity Posters
Does success measure in terms of commercial value or awards?
Does success mean pushing boundaries of film in Singapore or simply portraying a good story?
Does success entail being able to secure deals while being a totally tasteless and lacking film by popular consensus?
Or does it change according to person, expectations, culture and ideology?
thinks both are amazing in their own way!