Review - 'Snakeskin' by Daniel Hui
If you ever wonder what it feels like to be a wandering spirit in Singapore, ‘Snakeskin’, Daniel Hui’s film, will simulate the experience of drifting around the streets, looking for meaning and finding epiphanies in the darkest corners of Singapore. ‘Snakeskin’ is a collection of narratives interweaved with one another to form a tapestry of memories associated with Singapore, most of which are haunting, or the fact that they represent a lost and obscured figment of our past.
An arts programmer tries to reconcile her feelings about her overly-prudish mother who would judge her choice of friends or partners. Then by chance, she discovers an old picture which carries a still from an old Cathay film, in which her mother was supposedly in, and appears to going in a more liberated state of her life.
What’s clear in the film is the heavily deliberated narrative that director wants the audience to hear. While the film is a varied collection of voices, it is also tightly curated to have many of the voices sing similar tunes. The lines between fiction and documentary are blurred in several instances. The identities of the interviewees are not fleshed out clearly, as if they are just vessels of the directorial message. The premise of the film, which is a time-travelled look from the future back to the present time, lends a hypothetical tint to our understanding of the stories. Of course, the oddball ‘cat’ account in the film, is not only genre-shifting but a reflection of the director’s attempt to tamper directly with the narration.
Review by Jeremy Sing
The film was screened in Singapore during this year's Southeast Asian Film Festival in May. While there are no immediate plans for another screening, we will keep you posted if there are new screening opportunities. Stay tuned on our Facebook page here.