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11 films to catch at this year’s Perspectives Film Festival

Get ready for a ride into unconventional territories

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By SG-Promoted | Sep 28, 2017

  • 11 films to catch at this year’s Perspectives Film Festival

It’s an exciting time to be a film buff in Singapore with so many film festivals going on. One of the biggest and longest one around, the Perspectives Film Festival, is marking its 10th anniversary with its biggest lineup yet.

This year, they are promising a collection of restored classics and Singapore debuts, centered on the theme “Rebels”. Other than movies that delve into the lives of those who defy social order, the films will also shine the spotlight on directors and filmmakers who had an unconventional vision of what makes a good film. To push the boundaries even further, there will be a virtual reality showcase as well, where you get to experience a film in 4D.

We know that it’s nigh impossible to catch all the films, so here’s a quick rundown of each film to help you pick which ones to catch.

City of Ghosts (Matthew Heineman, 2017)

Directed by Matthew Heineman, opening film City of Ghosts will take you through the lives of new-age Syrian citizen journalists who are risking their lives and making full use of the Internet to document the unreported atrocities committed by the Islamic State. It’s a dangerous job, but necessary to uncover the horrors that are happening in the Islamic State on a daily basis. Be prepared to leave with a better appreciation for life while questioning the humanity of people who enjoy abusing their power.

Black Girl (Ousmane Sembène, 1966)

Restored into 4K, this film highlights Senegal’s struggle for autonomy and the strife for personal identity as she gains her independence as a state. But alas, colonialism has left its mark. It isn’t easy to change people’s perceptions, as our main character finds out, when she heads to France to take on a job as a domestic helper. Not everyone gets a happy ending, even though they deserve it.

Blow-Up (Michelangelo Antonioni, 1966)

In true 1960s British style, Blow-Up is all about sex, drugs and rock ’n’ roll. Once you look past the sex scenes, you’ll be taken into a time where truth and fantasy is hard to distinguish thanks to the jazzed-up, media-hooked world. The film follows a photographer as his camera, immense curiosity and wild imagination leads him on an adventure that could end in a murder. Or so he thought.

Behemoth (Zhao Liang, 2015)

Take a trip to China and discover the lives of coal miners. Zhao Liang, an independent filmmaker, risks going against the Chinese government to bring to you the reality of China’s rapidly growing economy. From the disastrous ecological damage that mining causes in Inner Mongolia to the hellish conditions that the workers are put through, you will definitely think more about the sacrifices it takes to build a country.

The Apple (Samira Makhmalbaf, 1998)

The Apple is a compelling docudrama about feral children raised in isolation. A pair of twin sisters who have been locked in their childhood home for the first twelve years of their existence are suddenly thrown into the outside world, which results in an interesting journey as they learn how to interact with other people. Ever wanted to see how a film would turn out when the actual people it’s based on stars in it? Well, here’s your chance.

La Haine (Mathieu Kassovitz, 1995)

It’s been twenty years since La Haine came out, and yet it remains as relevant as ever. Being a story about social unrest after the French riots, the film emphasizes the alienation of those who are silenced when they are the ones who should be heard the most. Director Kassovitz does a fantastical job pitting youthful anarchy against a corrupted government to the tune of racial and social tension.

McCabe & Mrs. Miller (Robert Altman, 1971)

The old Western movie follows John McCabe and Constance Miller who manage to turn a brothel into a money-making machine. But when someone tries to buy them out at a low price, tragedy ensues. This film was a breakthrough for starring a strong female lead character (remember: the movie was filmed in 1971), subverting genre tropes, and experimenting with multi-track recording that made the picture come to life from a reel of tape—a truly revolutionary classic.

Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors (Sergei Parajanov, 1965)

There’s just something so heartbreakingly captivating about a tragic love story. Maybe it’s the promise of a happy ending or the beauty of the romance. Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors sees a boy falling in love with the daughter of the man who killed his father. Their journey to build a life together is marked by tragedy, as always. The picture was filmed in Ukraine in full color footage in a chaotic and poetic caemerawork, which was against what Soviet cinema stood for back in the 60s. Sergei Parajanov, dead set on redefining dreary Soviet cinema, lived out his life continually persecuted by the Soviet authorities till he died.

The Lure (Agnieszka Smoczynska, 2015)

Reminiscent of Hans Christian Andersen’s The Little Mermaid, The Lure is a fresh re-telling of the coming-of-age fairytale told in a modern setting. Two mermaids are taken in by a cabaret club and eventually become big stars. But when one of them falls in love and decides to reject her own nature to love a human, the future seems bleak. And we all know that Andersen’s version of the story didn’t end well.

I Am Not a Witch (Rungano Nyoni, 2017)

When an orphan is banished to a traveling witch camp for practicing witchcraft, she meets a corrupt government official who uses her powers for his own gain. I Am Not a Witch is full of misogyny, superstition and exploitation that is part of the director’s satiric commentary on feminism and superstitious beliefs. Funny how many of the accused witches happen to be elderly relatives whose family members were keen to dispose of.

Days of Being Wild (Wong Kar-Wai, 1990)

This isn’t your typical Hong Kong movie full of comedy and kung fu. Days of Being Wild is more laidback, with drifting narratives and poignant, vivid shots following a serial playboy who isn’t able to commit to a romantic relationship because of his obsession with finding his biological mother. If you haven’t heard of Wong Kar Wai, step into his world of distorted romance with this film.

To check out these cinematic experiences that can’t be found at your local cinema, make sure to book your tickets early before they are all gone. Perspectives Film Festival runs from Oct 20 to 29. Individual tickets and festival passes are available.

Be sure to check out the virtual reality showcase and a post-show presentation by Stas Menzelevskyi of the Oleksandr Dovzhenko National Centre in Ukraine. Keep updated on their Facebook and Instagram pages too.

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