STOP10 Jul 2017: 'The Lights Went Out' by Adar Ng

The Lights Went Out is one of many short films that will be featured in Asian Film Focus 2017. This year’s Asian Film Focus explores notions of archival and found footage.

Adar’s work displays that idea by capturing and displaying a barely glimpsed space and time. Its focus on the lights of the Singaporean nightscape is evocative and stirring and never mawkish. It is a singular and straightforward film and showcases what most would call ‘faulty light fixtures’ around Singapore, but without a political or polemical voice.

Adar’s gaze becomes a transformative gesture to the light sources around us and alters most of these inanimate objects akin to living entities. Light playing a major role in giving life and maintaining human societies, from bonfires, beacons, desk lamps to street lights. However, seeing such flickering malfunctioning lights reminds us of its strange limited life. It is not something one thinks about, especially in such an overwhelmingly light polluted community here but all sources of light eventually die out.

The work also gives a sense of spirituality. This might be my personal bias, it is Ramadan after all, imparting my ideas or identity into the work, but it should not be denied that the term light has been used in spirituality as well. From multiple Buddhas of Light, to Festivals of Light and in the bigger picture a dichotomy for good and evil. The first shot is one that gazes up to the biggest source of natural light at night – the moon.  Looking up into the sky seems such a human if not spiritual preoccupation it lends the work with a strong sense of humanity and intimacy, despite not featuring any people. Its slow interplay of natural to man-made sources of light also contributes to a larger spiritual sense. Again, at least for me.

The only thing that somewhat puzzled me is the final shot of a sign. It seemed jarringly anchored with a singular meaning, especially seeing as much of what came before was left relatively free of such heavy definitional semiosis. There is one other instance of worded signs seen under an escalator, but they seemed small enough to feel free from its text. 

However, that is a relatively minor niggle in what is a predominantly interesting work.

Screening Details:
13 July, Thursday
8:30pm to 9:30pm
Objectifs Centre for Photography & Film
Tickets here:
There will be a post screening Q&A session 

The Lights Went Out will be screened as part of Objectifs' Asian Film Focus 2017: Time Machine, which explores the different uses of archival and found footage.

12 to 15 July 2017
Admission: Screenings $5 per session, buy tickets
here or at the door. Talks are free.

This year’s Asian Film Focus explores notions of archival and found footage in the context of contemporary filmmaking in Asia, highlighting works from Vietnam, India, the Philippines and Singapore. What can we glean from these glimpses into the past, and what does it say about our present and our future?

Ever since its advent, film has been used as a means to record significant moments. From personal memories to historical milestones, its particular qualities have helped create time capsules that historians, archivists, artists, and filmmakers have turned to for insight into the past and creative inspiration. As the process of recording and archiving film continues to evolve in our lives, found footage has emerged as an important storytelling device as filmmakers seek to appropriate material to shape different narratives, and capture space and time.

Written by Rifyal Giffari
For the full list of July 2017's 10 films under STOP10, click here.
Previous Post Next Post

Contact Form