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8 Films you shouldn’t miss at the 31st Singapore International Film Festival

These are eight feature films you shouldn’t miss at the 31st Singapore International Film Festival which will take place onsite and online from November 26th until December 6th, 2020.

About the Festival:
The Singapore International Film Festival (SGIFF) is the largest and longest running film event in Singapore. Founded in 1987 by Geoffrey Malone and L. Leland Whitney, the Festival focuses on showcasing international films and providing a global platform for the best of Singapore cinema. Over the decades, it has grown to become an iconic date in the Singapore arts calendar. With its focus on groundbreaking Asian cinema, this prestigious event is known for its dynamic programming and commitment to the development of a vibrant local film culture.

IMPORTANT NOTE: We are promoting on-site screenings. Please be advised on the local guidelines to prevent COVID-19 infection. Please be extra careful and stay safe.

Recommended Films:

100 Times Reproduction of Democracy by Chulayarnnon Siriphol – Thailand | 2020 – 115 minutes

In 2013, the filmmaker’s ownership of a work was revoked by his commissioners. In response, he distributed 100 copies of the award certificate and re-rendered the film 100 times on DVD, the quality of each successive version increasingly degraded until the original work became unrecognisable. Each DVD was sold as an edition of the film for 100 baht.

The performance is compared to the replacement of the Khana Ratsadon plaque—a symbol of democracy in Thailand — with a royalist plaque after it mysteriously vanishes. But it is resurrected in various guises and contexts, including the aforementioned DVD. By destabilising the notion of authenticity, this tongue-in- cheek docufiction embraces meaning-making from below as resistance in an authoritarian regime. (SGIFF 2020)

Screening Dates:
IN CINEMAS – December 4th, 2020 (Friday) | Oldham Theatre | 9:30 pm
ONLINE – Available to view on December 4th, 2020 (Friday) | 9:30 pm

Trailer:

A Balance by Yujiro Harumoto – Japan | 2020 – 152 minutes

Yuko is an empathetic documentary filmmaker who works after hours at her father’s cram school, where she befriends a troubled student, Mei. For her documentary, Yuko tries to unearth the truth of a sensational case of school bullying, interviewing family members of the high-school student and teacher suspected of a love affair.

While she carries the immense emotional burden as conduit and mediator between tortured parties’ and their truths, Yuko also has to battle her own conscience after a shocking discovery about her father. In a world where one’s conscience, self-interest and the pressures of society continually collide to form lies, perhaps balance, or healing, can be reached by revealing the truth. (SGIFF 2020)

Screening Dates:
IN CINEMAS – December 1st, 2020 (Tuesday) | Filmgarde Bugis+ Hall 7 | 6:30 pm
ONLINE – Available to view on December 1st, 2020 (Tuesday) | 6:30 pm

Trailer:

Aswang by Alyx Ayn Arumpac – Philippines, France, Germany, Norway, Qatar, Denmark | 2019 – 85 minutes

The aswang, shapeshifting monsters in Philippine folklore, emerge at night to hunt their prey, striking fear in the community. In today’s Philippines, the aswang are the police and vigilantes who kill with impunity under president Rodrigo Duterte’s ‘war on drugs’ that targets the urban poor. As bodies mount in the streets, the nights in Manila become filled with terror and oppressive dread.

The film follows a child whose parents are in prison and an activist who fearlessly documents the deaths. Threading its way through narrow alleys in Manila’s shanty towns, the camera gives us an unstinting view of a city gripped by violence and corruption. (SGIFF 2020)

Screening Dates:
IN CINEMAS – November 29th, 2020 (Sunday) | The Project Green Room | 3:30 pm
ONLINE – Available to view on November 29th, 2020 (Sunday) | 3:30 pm

Trailer:

Genus Pan by Lav Diaz – Philippines | 2020 – 147 minutes

The island of Hugaw is rife with dark myths and strange histories. In one legend, sightings of a black horse bring certain death; in another, the miasmatic fear that clouds the island is a colonial leftover that blights the land and scars the people. Darker still are the hearts of mankind, whose greed and penchant for violence one character likens to the genus Pan, or chimpanzees, humanity’s closest biological kin.

An allegory on the monsters that deprivation and avarice make of men, set against contemporary Philippines’ violent, traumatic history, Genus Pan is a bleak examination of the inescapable fate of the underclass who remains trapped in an endless cycle of violence. The film won Best Director in the Orizzonti section at Venice. (SGIFF 2020)

Screening Dates:
IN CINEMAS – November 28th, 2020 (Saturday) | Oldham Theatre | 6:30 pm
ONLINE – Available to view on November 28th, 2020 (Saturday) | 6:30 pm

Trailer:

Keep Rolling by Man Lim-chung – Hong Kong | 2020 – 113 minutes

In a filmic career spanning some four decades, Hong Kong director Ann Hui has made critical darlings and box office hits, as well as widely panned flops. But behind the accolades and pummelling from critics, Hui is as human as anyone, battling anxieties about life and career—though always maintaining her characteristic good humour and humility.

Keep Rolling offers an up-close and personal look at the trials and tribulations of an artist who has devoted her entire life to her craft. Rather than gloss over the foibles and insecurities of the documentary subject, Keep Rolling shines a light on them, revealing the complexities and contradictions of a modern-day maestro. (SGIF 2020)

Screening Dates:
IN CINEMAS – November 29th, 2020 (Sunday) | Filmgarde Bugis+ Hall 3 | 3:30 pm
ONLINE – Available to view on November 29th, 2020 (Sunday) | 3:30 pm

Trailer:

No Love For The Young by Ridhwan Saidi – Malaysia | 2020 – 85 minutes

What is passion? What is pleasure? Actors and non-actors contemplate questions of the heart and play a game of word association, ruminating on definitions. And when words are inadequate, they employ movement. Drunk on life, art and a youthful honesty, characters reveal their inner worlds, relating a generation’s sensibilities. (SGIFF 2020)

Screening Dates:
IN CINEMAS – November 30th, 2020 (Monday) | Filmgarde Bugis+ Hall 7 | 6:30 pm
ONLINE – Available to view on November 30th, 2020 (Monday) | 6:30 pm

Trailer:

The Salt in Our Waters by Rezwan Shahriar Sumit – Bangladesh, France | 2020 – 106 minutes

Rudro, a well-meaning artist from the city, ventures into a remote coastal village to work on his figurative sculptures. However, he finds his secular values challenged by the village’s religious dictates and social mores, which leads to conflict. Meanwhile, Tuni, the daughter of Rudro’s landlord, falls for him, but their romance is frowned upon. A seafaring people, the villagers’ survival hinges on their seasonal catches, which are in turn subject to the capriciousness of nature. Can one’s god temper an increasingly volatile climate?

Amidst exquisite cinematography framed by open waters, turbulence in the film gradually intensifies as the characters find their respective shores to cling onto. (SGIFF 2020)

Screening Dates:
IN CINEMAS – November 29th, 2020 (Sunday) | The Project Green Room | 6:30 pm
ONLINE – Available to view on November 29th, 2020 (Sunday) | 6:30 pm

Trailer:

The Shepherdess and the Seven Songs by Pushpendra Singh
India | 2020 – 96 minutes

After Laila marries a fellow nomadic tribesman, she and the rest of their tribe migrate to mountainous plains. Their move attracts the attention of local police officers, who are in awe of Laila’s beauty. Through seven folk songs, Pushpendra Singh weaves a tale in which Laila interrogates what it means to be a woman desired by many but unable to act on desires of her own—an allegory of the political situation in Kashmir. Set against the beautiful Himalayan mountains in Kashmir and Jammu, Singh’s lyrical, sometimes playful, story is a poignant comment on life at the intersection of desire, politics and culture.

Screening Dates:
IN CINEMAS – November 29th, 2020 (Sunday) | Oldham Theatre | 6:30 pm
ONLINE – Available to view on November 29th, 2020 (Sunday) | 6:30 pm

Trailer:

For more information about the festival and the programme please visit the official website here: https://www.sgiff.com

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