'Naps' (dir. Wildermann) — ADM 26

This short film has a grain of an idea: why not shoot a low-res rebels' manifesto (in the style of a terrorist video) in which the rebels argue amongst themselves? The whole film is a sustained shot of a guy sitting in front of a blackboard, on which excerpts from our national pledge are scrawled in the four official languages, clearly meant to give us the impression that these are Singaporeans who want to make a stand. However, the guy onscreen has to first try to mediate the egoistic self-assertions of his offscreen director, which culminates in the cheap joke of the director moving onscreen to argue with him, inadvertently filling the camera frame with his ass.

Once the bickering is done, the guy dons a sock over his head and starts ranting something about being a "National Association of Pure Singaporeans", which forms the unflattering acronym of the film's title—almost as though it's suggesting an alternative use of our time. I'm not sure what the point of all this bluster is, except maybe to show that even our local dissenters can't agree on what they want done, or to have us ponder what exactly makes a "pure Singaporean", what with the present furore over immigration in a nation of immigrants. But the film doesn't earn these reflections. It's easy to come away from Naps thinking that it falls prey to the same problems that its characters do: that it hasn't got much to say, or many more ideas about how to do it.

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