STOP10 Jan 2017: 'Timeless' by K Rajagopal

Riding on the critical acclaim received for K Rajagopal's debut feature A Yellow Bird, the Singapore Film Society (SFS) has organised a retrospective of all his films to celebrate his journey and contributions to the local film industry.

Rajagopal is no stranger to the scene, with numerous short films under his belt since his journey from 1995 and winning the Special Jury Prize three years in a row at the Singapore International Film Festival Silver Screen Awards from 1995 to 1997. The is the second retrospective of his films since the National Museum did one back in 2010.

Here are the event details:

Date: 14th January 2016
Venue: SCAPE Gallery, Level 5
Time: 2pm to 6pm
- If you are an SFS member, you get in for free
- If you are an SFS Reel Card holder, you can get in for free also bring up to 2 guests
- If you are not a member you can sign up as a member for $95.68; or your could buy the SFS Reel Cards at either $95.68 (for 20 shows) or $53.62 (for 6 shows)

For more details and purchase tickets, head down to this link.

Among the short films screened, two of our favourites include The Glare (1996) as well as Timeless (2010). Timeless was a short film commissioned by the National Museum of Singapore for his retrospective in 2010. Told through 4 different time periods, Timeless is a film about the frailty of human connections in which Siva, the main character, appears interacting with the characters in different states of existence but in the same temperament. In each of the situations, including facing a murder in 1875 and the racial riots in 1969, fear consumes him and he walks away. The overarching theme of the film is how little people had change over time, as the cycles of violence and pain are repeated. 

Rajagopal shares, in a phone interview with SINdie, that Timeless was his first attempt at making a short film with a given theme and he was asked to make something about art and history. Casting a spotlight on his own history, the history of the Indian man in Singapore, was natural choice. As for art, he recalls seeing this self-portrait of Francies Bacon at London's Tate Modern and was very attracted to the piece. So he started thinking about how he could put art and history together and put it into a local or his own context. Francis Bacon's self-portraits were themselves actually inspired by a 15th century painting series called The Crucification of Christ. So he drew parallels between the idea of the self-portrait to the history of the Indian man and the history of Singapore itself.

David Lee, Vice-Chairman of the SFS and Managing Director of The Filmic Eye, who put together this programme, shares,"I am intrigued by the fact that there is no dialogue in the entire film, and the inter titles only provides some hints of the meanings of the preceding scene. This style is very similar to that of an early silent film, and I think it is very relevant to his theme of time."

With a rich body of work made over 2 decades, this is one retrospective that you should not miss. Capturing stories that are heartfelt and always about people, there are definitely realisations and lessons to take away from each work.

Read our review of Timeless, written following its world premiere at the National Museum 6 years ago.

About K Rajagopal

As a filmmaker, Rajagopal has won the Singapore International Film Festivalʼs Special Jury Prize for 3 consecutive years with his first three short films I can't sleep tonight (1995), The Glare (1996) and Absence (1997). His commissioned work Timeless (2010) won Best Cinematography and Best Editing at the Singapore Short Film Awards 2011. In 2015, he directed a short film The Flame, which was also part of the SG50 MDA commissioned omnibus film 7 Letters.

He has written and directed several television films for Channel 5 and Okto Channel. He has also worked on stage for over ten years where he has collaborated with many notable theatre directors. He appeared in the role of King Lear in The King Lear Project at Kunsten Festival Des Arts in Brussels and at the Singapore Arts Festival in 2008 and played Faust in Film Faust for Esplanade Presents Series in 2009. In 2012, K. Rajagopal was a recipient of the New Feature Talent Grant from the Media Development Authority of Singapore.

Written by Dawn Teo

For the full list of January 2017's 10 films under STOP10, click here.
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