BUS-STOP Jan 2018: Your Monthly SG Film Calendar

 
Catch 'Noor Islam' and other Malay classics in the Asian Film Archive's 'State if Motion: Sejarah-ku' event
 
It's becoming quite a fixture now that there is a bus tour to look forward to. The Asian Film Archive will take visitors to go 'Jalan Jalan' to old film locations in Singapore. When we are lost and in need of direction at the start of the year, it's always good to just hop on a bus and let the thoughts sink in. Film watchers are rather spoilt for choice these days in Singapore because every cultural and arts organization is doing a film festival, from the Design Film Festival to the film selection at the Singapore International Festival of the Arts to [insert country] Film Festival. Not forgetting the big one in November. If time is like a bus service, there is certainly only one shift and it takes some discipline to be on the leg of the journey you desire, to be able to see what you want to see. Making films require not just passion but discipline. But watching films require discipline too (something I learnt from being late for some films).

However, discipline can be made easier with a plan. We will bring you a viewing roadmap for all the film happenings in Singapore every month, so that you have no more excuses on missing out in the films you want to watch. January may be the start of the year but its engine is already bumbling away with a full slate of film events. So here goes... 
1. State of Motion - Sejarah-ku
Revisiting snippets of Singapore’s past, State of Motion, the Asian Film Archive’s (AFA) annual flagship and visual art series, returns for its third edition with the theme ‘Sejarah-ku’ (‘My History‘ in Malay). Showcasing seminal Malay films produced by Shaw Malay film productions and Cathay Keris studios during the 50s and 60s, State of Motion 2018: Sejarah-ku will explore film as a product of cultural and ideological changes in Singapore during 1955 to 1965.  

As part of AFA’s efforts to cultivate an appreciation of Singapore and Asia’s film heritage in a wider audience, State of Motion 2018: Sejarah-ku, held from 12 Jan - 11 Feb 2018, will feature a selection of 10 films that were filmed in pre-independent Singapore including Seniman Bujang Lapok (1961), Mogok (1957), Hang Tuah (1956), Hang Jebat (1961) and more. Other programmes include an exhibition, talks, and guided film location tours where participants can look forward to newly-commissioned artworks responding to the films and the film locations at each tour site, by local artists such as Khairulddin Wahab, Izzad Radzali Shah and Wu Jun Han.   

Line-up of films
The selected films were produced at a time of great change with the Malay community grappling with modernity, nationalism and the imagining of a new society. Malay legends, star-crossed lovers, aspiring comic actors and scheming mothers-in- law were just some of the familiar archetypes embedded within discourses and cultural ideas of a burgeoning new Singapore – waiting to be rediscovered on screen more than 50 years later.
Darah Muda (1963) Fauziah is the daughter of a poor itinerant food vendor whose brother has forsaken them for a life of luxury. On a particularly stormy night, Fauziah's already frail father is hit by a car during his return home. The driver Yazid is a young kind man who takes to caring after Fauziah and eventually marries her.
Hang Tuah (1956)
An adaptation of Irish-born colonial civil servant Mubin Sheppard’s The Adventures of Hang Tuah, the film was a familiar hero’s journey and one of the rare Malay-language films of the era that was rendered in ‘Eastmancolor'.
Hang Jebat (1961)
The antithesis to Phani Majumdar’s Hang Tuah (1956), Hussain Haniff’s Hang Jebat is based on a 1958 radio play titled Tragedi Hang Jebat (Tragedy of Hang Jebat) by Ali Aziz and portrays the eponymous anti-hero in a more sympathetic light.
Seniman Bujang Lapok (1961)
A comedy that follows Ramli, Aziz and Sudin—the eponymous “bujang lapok”, or cruddy bachelors—on their misadventures living in a crowded long house and auditioning at the Jalan Ampas film studio in a bid to become movie stars.
Noor Islam (1960)
Hailed in a magazine advertisement as the first Malay-language film to feature a religious theme, Noor Islam is set in an imagined pagan nation during the early days of the spread of Islam.
Mogok (1957)
Set in contemporary 1950s Singapore in a climate of highly active left-wing trade unions, strikes and ‘go-slows’, Mogok is a story about disgruntled workers at an Eveready battery factory and the devious ploy of the factory manager and his other colluders to take over the factory from the benevolent but incapacitated factory owner.
Ibu Mertua Ku (1962)
Ibu Mertua Ku tells a doomed love story between Sabariah, the daughter of a wealthy matriarch, and Kassim Selamat, a small-time musician played by P. Ramlee.
Isi Neraka (1960)
In 14th century Melaka, an Arab preacher named Syed Abdul Aziz persuaded the sultan and his court to convert to Islam and Islam begins to flourish. But in a nearby village, Wira, a young man scorns the teachings of Islam and its restrictions even as his mother and sister become newly devout converts.
Selamat Tinggal Kekasehku (1955)
Adapted from the 1936 Tamil film Devdas and based on the popular Bengali novel of the same title, the local version focuses on the romantic relationship between childhood friends Hassan and Lai Lai.
Sri Menanti (1958)
Adapted from an original novel titled Fatimah《花蒂玛》by Chua Boon Hean, Sri Menanti is a poignant portrayal of an intercultural romance inhibited by racial prejudice and segregation, religious conservatism, and repressive social mores.
Hang Tuah
  Hang Jebat
 
Seniman Bujang Lapok

Like in previous, there are also guided tours in relation to the theme. Participants will be presented with a compilation of clips from the featured films before they set off on the tour. The mainland tour will take participants from the Plaza at National Library Building to five different film locations. The offshore island tour will take participants to Pulau Ubin and Pulau Sekudu, the latter a film location for Hang Tuah (1956) and Hang Jebat (1961). A site-specific artwork in response to each film awaits their encounter.

Click here for more ticketing details.
 
In addition, there are 2 public talks held in conjunction with State of Motion. 
Sejarah-ku: Excavating the Historical Value of Malay-language Films for Singapore 14 Jan, Sun, 2.00 -4.00pm, Malay Heritage Centre (Auditorium)
Singapore has changed since the 50s and 60s: Malay is no longer the lingua franca, our landscape is almost unrecognizable, and the social-cultural environment that fostered that particular intellectual tradition has since faded. Why look back even? And why should we care?
Speakers: Alfian Sa’at (Writer, Poet, Playwright), Dr Azhar Ibrahim (National University of Singapore), Toh Hun Ping (Film Researcher and Filmmaker), Moderator, Kamiliah Bahdar (Curator, State of Motion 2018)

The State of Singapore Stories: Films Present and Future
10 Feb, Sat, 3.00-5.30pm, Malay Heritage Centre (Auditorium)
 
The three editions of State of Motion have been looking at Singapore through the lens of past films from the 50s to the 80s. Rounding up State of Motion 2018: Sejarah-ku, this panel discussion explores what films and filmmaking in Singapore now tell about ourselves. Who are telling these stories, and why? And importantly, who have the means to re-represent us on screen, and how might we have access to those means?
 
 
2. Singapore FilmSociety Film Screenings


The Square

Jan 3, 9.00pm, GV Grand (exclusive preview in partnership with Anticipate Pictures)
2017 | Sweden | Comedy, Drama | In Swedish, English, Danish with English subtitles | 151 min | M18 (Sexual Scene and Some Coarse Language) Trailer
 
Winner of the 2017 Palme d'Ór at the Cannes Film Festival, the film, directed by Ruben Östlund, is about Christian, the respected curator of a contemporary art museum, a divorced but devoted father of two who drives an electric car and supports good causes. His next show is “The Square”, an installation which invites passersby to altruism, but yet a PR disaster with the exhibition throws the museum into an existential crisis.
The Post   Jan 13, 12.45pm, Shaw Lido (includes post screening dialogue with journalists from the Singapore Press Club)
2017 | United States | Drama, Biography, History | In English | 116 min | PG13 (Some Coarse Language) Trailer
 
Steven Spielberg directs Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks in this thrilling drama about the unlikely partnership between The Washington Post’s Katharine Graham (Streep), the first female publisher of a major American newspaper, and editor Ben Bradlee (Hanks), as they race to catch up with The New York Times to expose a massive cover-up of government secrets that spanned three decades and four U.S. Presidents.
This is a screening in collaboration with Singapore Press Club and Asian American Journalists Association. It will include a post-screening Q&A with actual journalists about the future of journalism.


Walk with Me
Jan 17, 9.00pm, GV Paya Lebar: SingPost Centre (Singapore premiere, SFS Exclusive)
2017 | United States | Documentary | English | 94 min | NC16 (Some Mature Content) Trailer
 
Slow down and breathe. This contemplative journey by Marc J. Francis and Max Pugh follows in the steps of Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh and is a rare insight into life within a monastic community. The sun rises. Everything is calm and still. Life is beautifully serene as Benedict Cumberbatch’s composed, meditative voice reads an extract from Thich Nhat Hanh’s early journals. 
It includes a post-screening Q&A with on how mindfulness can be applied in our everyday life with Positive Psychology practitioner Simon Leow.
Loving Vincent
Jan 26, 7.30–9.30 pm, Loving Vincent premieres at National Gallery followed by a post screening dialogue with art curator Russell Storer. In partnership with National Gallery and Shaw Organisation.
2017 | Poland, United Kingdom | Biography, Animation | In English | 95 min | M18  Trailer


65,000 paintings, telling the story of one man. “We cannot speak other than by our paintings,” wrote Vincent van Gogh in his last letter. In response, Loving Vincent tells the story of one of the most celebrated artists of all time, Vincent van Gogh, by reconstituting his paintings through montage to reveal their histories. This animated feature was first shot with actors playing the characters in van Gogh’s portraits, then assiduously painted over, frame-by-frame, in the style of the master. In all, 65,000 paintings by over a hundred artists around the world were produced and translated into moving image. The result is this shimmering work of art, filled with light and movement.
 
3. Singapore Palestinian Film Festival (SPFF)
 Flying Paper + Gaza From Within
Founded in 2016, the Singapore Palestinian Film Festival (SPFF) is a non-profit enterprise that showcases the work of Palestinian film makers and artists.
Happening at the Projector, the aim of this festival is to provide a viable platform for Palestinian film makers and artists to tell their stories and alternate narratives. We hope that the festival reflects the ever-changing diversity of Palestine, and we hope that through this festival, we can unite the different communities of Singapore to engage in discussions around film, art and culture. Organised by Adela Foo.  
3000 Nights (NC16)
5 Jan, 8.30pm, The Projector
A young Palestinian schoolteacher gives birth to her son in an Israeli prison where she fights to protect him, survive and maintain hope.


Flying Paper + Gaza From Within PG13
6 Jan, 2.30pm, The Projector
Palestinian youth in the Gaza Strip work to break the Guinness World Record for the most kites ever flown.
 
When I Saw You (M18)
6 Jan, 5pm, The Projector
A journey of the human spirit that knows no borders .  Palestine's entry for the Best Foreign Language Oscar at the 85th Academy Awards
 
Giraffada (PG13)
7 Jan, 5pm, The Projector
This entertaining adventure about a giraffe-obsessed boy is also a subtle reflection on the absurdities of life under occupation.
When I Saw You

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