ShoutOUT!: Singapore Short Cuts returns this weekend @National Museum - Weekend #2

Being, as a Horse by Mark Chua
Check out the second group of films at the National Museum of Singapore’s Singapore Short Cuts this weekend from 22 to 23 October. Screenings are free of charge, and tickets can be collected at the National Museum of Singapore (Visitor Services Counter @ Level 1).

22 October
Being, as a Horse by Mark Chua

Being, as a Horse is a whimsical take on the nature of personal freedom performed by two men with horses as heads. Mark Chua’s film is an ambitious attempt to encapsulate complex philosophical ideas resulting in an intoxicating experience that confounds as much as it illuminates.

An Autumn Afternoon by Lei Yuan Bin

An Autumn Afternoon modestly documents, an autumn afternoon visiting master Japanese film director Ozu Yasujiro’s grave in Kita-Kamakura, Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan. Methodical in his documentation, with ravishing yet simple details, Lei Yuan Bin has created a pean to Ozu himself, utilising much of the same trademark rigorous style of static shots that capture moments of transcendence in places and everyday objects. A simple day out in the crisp autumn air is conveyed with equal parts economy and poetry.  

Silent Light by Liao Jiekai
Silent Light is part of Liao Jiekai’s series of short films that continues to defy traditional narrative structures and his profound contemplation of the material nature of celluloid-based cinema. An intoxicating cocktail of found footage and home movie aesthetics, Silent Light dwells deep into the psyche of a restless filmmaker in love with the material world of cinema.
The Sarkais by Joshua Lau
A joint meditation on dreams and personal identity by Joshua Lau and his fellow schoolmates at School of the Arts (SOTA), Shirin Keshvani and Alexis Sng, The
Sarkais unfolds with diary-like confessions spoken over images of seemingly random order, interspersed with found footage from home videos. The filmmakers gently invite viewers into a mystery where the answer serves no purpose other than a thematic lynchpin. Like its cryptic title, the heart of the short film remains a delicate enigma not to be unravelled but savoured.
5 Dollars of a Passport by Jason Ye
In 5 Dollars for a Passport, filmmaker Jason Ye sets out on a journey across the Causeway to find out about his father’s past in a tiny shophouse in Labis, Johor. As Ye forges deeper into his family history, questions of identity and nationhood surface. Despite its conventional structure, the short film succeeds through its sincerity. Moments of connection between family members are rendered without frills, giving the scenes weight and integrity. The most striking feature of 5 Dollars for a Passport is the cinematography. Shot on 16mm film stock, the film captures a lost past hidden in the present.
Untitled by Terry Ong
Filmmaker Terry Ong has been making series of experimental short films over the past few years. Untitled is the latest short film to explore intangible connections between people. Ong employs a variety of video effects to create impressionist renderings of spaces that alternate between obfuscating and illuminating human figures within any given frame. Sequences are devoid of audio, which serves to further accentuate the urgency of the image such that when the dominance of silence is lifted by an occurrence of natural sound towards the end, the film jolts into a different register, unsettling the viewers’ notions of reality.

 23 October
Coney Island by Rashad Bin Faizal
Of all the known islands dotting the shoreline of Singapore, Coney Island is perhaps the least known. Situated along the sliver of waterway separating mainland Singapore and Johor Bahru, Coney Island has experienced a recent surge of interest due in part to the rapid urbanisation of the Punggol area in the last ten years. It is thus no surprise that burgeoning filmmakers, such as Rashad bin Faizal and fellow students of SOTA (School of the Arts), would situate a film about the shifting nature of friendship and the abandonment of youth on the island’s characteristically remote woodlands.
Open Sky / 其实哪里都好 by Tan Jingliang
Tan Jingliang’s Open Sky alludes to a particular brand of observational cinema that rewards due viewers’ patience. The film realises the depth of friendship between two friends in their early twenties through their aimless wandering among housing estates, revealing the uneasy reconciliation between the ideals of adolescence and the realities of surviving young adulthood in Singapore.
Happily Ever After/ 祝你幸福 by Shan Neo, pple Hong, Pek Hong Kun
Happily Ever After attempts to add layers of meaning to the ubiquity of wedding photography services. In so doing, the filmmakers adopted an ingenious methodology. Three wedding photography sessions are framed in long shots to provide viewers with unfettered access to the dynamics of a family. The unfurled dramas are further enriched by the sense of real time elicited from fixed camera positions, giving way to a story told beyond the narrative constraints normally associated with family dramas.
Quinn by Rave Phua
Quinn begins as most other issues-driven documentaries would with talking heads that aim to establish the subject’s background. In this case, the trials and tribulations of a young middle-class couple’s decision to keep a baby in the face of uncertain financial circumstances. However, in its unflinching sense of honesty on display in front of and behind the camera, Quinn transcends the typical issues-driven subject matter to reveal a truth more startling in its humanity.
The Drawing Room & Episode from Art Studio by Liao Jiekai
Liao Jiekai’s restless exploration of the tangible amid the intangible continues with a loose abstraction of Yeng Pway Ngon’s Art Studio in the form of a short film. Yeng’s novel sought to reconcile the place of artists in Singapore society over the span of 30 years. Liao eschews all notions of narrative legibility to carve out his own interpretation of Yeng’s literary achievement through two parallel yet disparate narrative trajectories: The first trajectory follows an artist and a model in the act of creation. In the second strain, passages from Yeng’s Art Studio are narrated to scenes of the National Gallery Singapore’s set up of the Siapa Nama Kamu? exhibition. The sheer disparity between these two strains sets up a dichotomy of perception which adds depth to the short film.
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