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Asian folktales in films of yesteryear take centerstage at this festival

Pontianaks, mediums, flying dragons and more

By Adam Kerr | Oct 10, 2017

  • Asian folktales in films of yesteryear take centerstage at this festival
    The Fantasy of the Deer Warrior

Yes, another film festival; but with so many coming up with a great variety of themes, we're still far from suffering "festival fatigue" (look it up, it's a thing). Coming up this month is another film series that we're pretty thrilled about.

On selected dates between Oct 14-29, relive Asian tales that reflect the power of human imagination through films from the 1960s to 2000s about deities, mythical creatures, superstition and the supernatural at the fourth edition of Fade In/Fade Out, a collaboration between the National Library Board and Asian Film Archive. The screenings all free, though limited seats are on a first-come-first-served basis. Unfortunately industry peeps won't be there to give talks post-screening like last year.

Happening at Woodlands Regional Library, the film series will open with The Fantasy of the Deer Warrior on Oct 14, a fantastical tale about a Sika Deer’s plotting for revenge on a pack of wolves after they disrupted and attacked a couple of forest animals. You’ll see a couple of familiar characters from Aesop’s Fables interspersed with musical interludes.

Following that is a Singapore-made film by B. N. Rao during the peak of Malay horror cinema in the 1950s. Pontianak Gua Musang follows the lives of three people caught in a sort of love web. Amran eventually picks Rohani over her relative Halimah, and all hell breaks loose. Halimah plots to Rohani, but unfortunately dies after giving birth to a baby girl, Comel, who grows up to look like a carbon copy of her mother. The story is based on the folklore of Pontianaks, a vampire-like ghost of a woman who tragically dies during childbirth and entices victims before revealing their true monstrous nature and attacking them.

The other films are Shaw Brothers’ first superhero action film and “Hong Kong’s answer to Ultraman”, Super Inframan; Thai romantic comedy that has made its round in the film festival circuit (and often compared to Amelie), Citizen Dog; Singapore’f first full-length English language feature, Medium Rare; and an ode to Teochew cinema, Red Haired Steed

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