standing still

Yesterday HK launched the 1st Asian Film Awards at the opening of the 31st HK Film Festival. Yesterday was also the first day the tickets to our own 20th Singapore Film Festival went on sale. The former was all glitz and excitement. The latter is clearly standing at some kind of crossroads.

This SIFF's selection is patchy but continues its SEAsian anchor. It clearly lacks the vigour of a programme that has a good mix of obvious high notes, dependable festival regulars and low-key curiosities. Still, the SIFF is always a special time for J and I. I've many fond memories of the Festival - especially of the days when the films were screened at the old Capitol and Majestic cinemas. Hey, I even have all the programme booklets my old ticket stubs since I was a teenager! It was also at the film fest that J and I first became good friends.

So this year, we persisted and got tickets to: (pictures in order from top) documentary Aki Ra's Boys by Singaporeans James Leong & Lynn Lee; documentary Changi Murals by Singaporean Boo Jun Feng; Syndromes and a Century by Thai Apitchatpong Weerasethakul whose 2005 Tropical Malady we liked; and documentary Village People Road Show by Malaysian Amir Muhhamed which is supposedly a sequel to his The Last Communist.

I remember in particular watching all 4hours of Edward Yang's A Brighter Summer Day in 1991 (1992?), the only uncensored cinema screening of Wong Kar Wai's Happy Together in Singapore, and so many smaller films that were strangely memorable. Of these, there is Unloved by Japanese Manda Kunitoshi in 2002. For me, this was a film about standing still. While we assume that things that are bigger, more expensive, more glamourous, more beautiful are better, and should always be pursued, the female character's unwavering desire to remain as she is in her career, ambitions, lifestyle...struck me. Even though the SIFF may not have remained as it is over the years - it's had its ups and its down-down-downs - let it not be unloved!

So friends, ampulets urge you to support our own film festival! Though it feels a little deflated and probably plagued by organisational/financial/existential(!) issues, it's survived 20 years. It may not have caught up with HK, kept pace with the younger Pusan, or relate to the changing cinema/festival scene in Singapore, but it's still our own.

(Tickets are available at all sistic outlets. Visit the SIFF website for the programme.)


ampulets said…
you are too kind, Y. :) love the layout of this blog.-TOHA

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