BUS-STOP Apr 2018: Your Monthly SG Film Calendar

Festival frenzy heats up in Singapore in April offering audiences an esteemed selection of films with critical acclaim hitting the screens. Fans of Swedish director Ingmar Bergman will have a field day at The Projector. The third edition of the Swedish Film Festival places the spotlight on some of his most seminal works, including the not-to-be-missed classic The Seventh Seal. Following the Swedish Film Festival is the Polish Film Festival which features a small but powerful selection of award-winning works. Film has become a fixture at the Singapore International Festival of Arts (SIFA) and this year SIFA continues to programme fiercely independent fare as part of the festival. Many of these gems, which have screened at overseas films festivals, are actually having their Singapore premieres as part of SIFA. In fact, there is a total of 12 Singapore premieres and one Asian premiere, all under the Singular Screens special programme. The Singapore Chinese Film Festival is also back end of April so stay tuned for its line-up of films this year. Meanwhile, be sure to catch Eric Khoo's ode to food and friendship, the cross-cultural Ramen Teh, still serving in cinemas.

  1. Ramen Teh
Ramen Teh may sound like Eric Khoo watered-down, if one is used to his edgier, grittier works, but it is actually a reasonably flavourful piece of work just like the fusion dish, Ramen Teh. The producers and Eric had a more than a handful of elements to blend together - two different cultures, a popular contemporary star in the form of Takumi Saitoh, the gigantic presence of 80s Japanese pop star Seiko Matsuda and of course, the unmissable Mark Lee. Thankfully, these elements melded together rather harmoniously in the film. Just in case, you were wondering Ramen Teh is now an actual dish that is available at Keisuke Tokyo, Suntec City till the end of April. Don't miss either the dish or the film! Watch Ramen Teh in cinemas islandwide.

  1. Swedish Film Festival

The third edition of the Swedish Film Festival places the spotlight on one of the most important auteurs of the last century – Ingmar Bergman. 2018 actually marks the 100-year anniversary of Ingmar Bergman’s birth. Over 6 decades, Bergman has written and directed more than 60 films. This tribute to Bergman by The Projector  is part of the Bergman centenary celebrations taking place around the globe, and is supported by the Embassy of Sweden and the Swedish Institute.
Director of POP AYE, Kirsten Tan, who is a devoted fan of Bergman, is the curator of this special tribute, which coincides with the late Swedish director’s 100th birthday. She has selected 8 iconic films for this festival, all celebrating his enduring influence and iconoclasm. Swedish meatballs and Scandinavian beers will be served throughout the festival, which will happen from 12 to 15 April.

Here are some of our recommended titles to catch.

12 April, 8pm
Cries and Whispers (1972)
(M18), 91 min

Crimson rooms, an extraordinary visual spectacle, a dying woman taken care of by her two sisters and their maid in a red-drenched mansion.

Cries and Whispers demonstrates Bergman’s complete clarity of vision as a true master of cinema. Featuring his representative ensemble of actresses (Liv Ullman, Harriet Andersson and Ingrid Thulin), their haunting performances coupled with Bergman’s painterly wizardry come together in laser sharp focus to illuminate his signature obsession of mortality and female familial bonds.

A striking piece of pure cinema (that swept awards from Cannes to the Oscars), Cries and Whispers is a potent and unforgiving study of the strengths and defects of the human spirit in the face of death. An unflinching gaze into the deepest reaches of the human heart, Cries and Whispers is a powerful film that will sit with you long after the lights have come on

14 April, 2pm
Summer with Monika (1953)
(NC16), 97 min

Considered a sexually risqué work of 1950s European arthouse cinema—and once notoriously marketed in the US as a skin flick—Summer with Monika remains one of Bergman’s most important early works. Inspired by the earthy sensuality of a young Harriet Andersson, the film is a story of heady, escapist teenage love, swiftly brought down to earth by the harsh realities of growing up. Summer with Monika is the beginning of a lifelong collaboration between Ingmar Bergman and Harriet Andersson

14 April, 8.30pm
Persona (1966)
(NC16), 85 min
Thoroughly unmissable, Persona demonstrates Bergman’s timeless, stylistic genius. This is the work of a master using imagery at his freest and most daring, without ever having it feel inconsequential or excessive.

The premise is simple enough—a famous actress (Liv Ullmann) refuses to speak; a nurse (Bibi Andersson) is assigned to take care of her; they spend time alone on a cottage by the sea. From that point, we delve into complex themes of identity, and subconscious repressions brought on by their symbiotic relationship. The film is radical yet completely literal, experimental yet utterly comprehensible.

We are propelled from moment to moment with probing imagery and mysterious yearnings. At the end, like a perfect full circle, you feel like you have understood nothing and yet the experience is enigmatically complete. Persona is an experimental psychodrama that is considered one of Bergman’s fines.

15 April, 4.30pm
The Seventh Seal (1957)
(PG), 96 min

A knight by a black sea, playing chess with Death—we witness early on in The Seventh Seal one of cinema’s most iconic images. This existential and allegorical tale of man’s searching for meaning and God is long hailed as one of the great classics of world cinema.

Set during the Black Death, this seriocomic medieval masterpiece tells the story of a wandering knight (Gunnar Björnstrand), returning home from the Crusades, who encounters Death (Bengt Ekerot) personified. To forestall his end, he challenges Death to a simple game of chess. This clever conceit buys him just a bit of time to dive into life’s deepest question: to what purpose are we put on this earth? This earnestly soul-searching quest is accompanied by some of cinema’s most powerful and enduring images.

The Seventh Seal is widely considered by critics to be one of the most important works of cinema ever made.

  1. Singapore International Festival of Arts - Singular Screens

Singapore International Festival of Arts 2018 (SIFA 2018) celebrates independent voices across the world with an international line-up of 13 new films in the programme Singular Screens — one Asian premiere and 12 Singapore premieres. Singular Screens is curated by the Asian Film Archive,
Opening Singular Screens on 28 April is A Man of Integrity (Lerd) by Iranian film director Mohammad Rasoulof who is known for his socially and politically engaged works. As a scathing critique on the inherent corruption in contemporary Iranian society, the film tells the story about a man who lives in a simple life tending to his goldfish farm in northern Iran, but is threatened by the growing power of corruption. Banned in Iran, it won the 2017 Un Certain Regard prize at the 2017 Cannes Film Festival, as well as the Best Director (International) and Best Actor (International) at the 54th Antalya Golden Orange Film Festival.

A Man of Integrity (Lerd) leads a line-up of films that seeks to respond to the general sentiment of the Festival programming with ideas revolving around the notion of resistance and the experience of the individual, from the adversity of fictive or real-life icons to the positions of the marginalised.

Here are some of our recommended titles to catch.

28 April, 4pm
3 May, 7.30pm
A Man of Integrity (2017)
Director Mohammad Rasoulof, Iran
117 min, Farsi
Reza, having distanced himself from the urban quagmire, leads a simple life along with his wife and son in a remote location in northern Iran. He spends his days working in his gold fish farm. Nearby, a private company with close links to the government and local authorities, has taken control of nearly every aspect of the regional life. Resisting the pressure from the growing power of corruption, Reza faces a series of biblical setbacks to maintain his moral compass and keep his integrity.

28 April, 7.30pm
I’ve Got a Little Problem (2017)
Director Zhang Ximing, China
44 min, Mandarin  
In our world, the human nude figure is ubiquitous, from classic art to pornography through hyper-sexualized advertising. On the other side of the planet, though, in China, nudes are banned. Ren Hang, a young photographer, poet and artist in search of his own artistic voice and freedom stumbles against this taboo and pays the price of his own mental health in this film with an infectious visual energy that is, ultimately, a sign of optimism.
30 April, 7.30pm
1 May, 7 pm
Die Tomorrow (2017)
Director Nawapol Thamrongrattanarit, Thailand
75 min, Thai

Death often comes unexpectedly - what happens the day before is usually ordinary. Documenting the last day of six individuals in Bangkok, Die Tomorrow combines their stories with documentary-like interview footage, news reports, sound recordings, statistics and archive material. Yet, Die Tomorrow celebrates the present in all its small and ordinary moments, presenting a sweet, melancholic and philosophical reflection on fate and the ephemerality of life.

1 May, 4pm
14 Apples (2018)
Director Midi Z, Taiwan, Myanmar
84 min, Burmese
Wang Shin-hong is suffering from insomnia and encounters many problems in his life. His mother goes to a fortune-teller for advice. The fortune-teller asks Shin-hong to get fourteen apples and take them to a temple in the rural area in Central Myanmar. He will live as a monk for fourteen days, eating an apple a day.
14 Apples is a disturbing documentary about the seductive power of a Buddhism whose ideals are not merely humanist in this era of globalization.
5 May, 7pm
Team Hurricane
Director Annika Berg, Denmark  
96 min, Danish
A punk chick flick about teen girls that mixes highly stylized fictional elements with documentary material: loneliness, pussy-power, Kawaii, electric green, hentai, graffiti, vibrators, friendship, teddy bears, resting bitch face, ART, fire, fear, bubble-gum, mom & dad, anorexia, cactuses, homemade piercings, nail art, cherries, cutting, dolphins, Lolita, secret diaries and daydreaming. Radical girls in an ordinary world.
Tickets for SIFA Singular Screens go on sale on 28 March 2018 at sifa.sg and all SISTIC authorised agents.

  1. Polish Film Festival

A selection of films by well-known and respected new generation of Polish filmmakers at The Projector. Catch critically acclaimed films on longing for love, the sense of loneliness, disturbing family life, coming-to-age-stories and endurance of the human spirit. From 27 to 29 April 2018. the Polish Film Festival 2018 is co-presented with the Embassy of the Republic of Poland with the support of LOT Polish Airlines, as part of Poland Shiok!

Here are some of our recommended titles to catch. Dates TBC

Carte Blanche (2017)
Director: Jacek Lusinski
106 min, Polish with English subtitles
Inspired by incredible but true events, Carte Blanche is the uplifting story of a charismatic high school history teacher named Kacper who hides his progressive blindness from everyone around him in order to keep his dream job and help his students prepare for their final exams.
Winner of Best Director at São Paulo International Film Festival and Shanghai International Film Festival.

All that I Love (2009)
Director: Jacek Borcuch
95 min, Polish with English subtitles
A Shakespearean tale of forbidden love set against the tumultuous era of communist Poland – a young punk musician finds himself helplessly in love with a girl despite their differing backgrounds. Will their love endure the social turmoil that threatens their families and friends?
This film was selected as the Polish entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 83rd Academy Awards.

The Last Family (2016)
Director: Jan P. Matuszyński
123 min, Polish with English subtitles
An unconventional film about an equally unconventional artist - renowned Polish surrealist painter Zdzislaw Beksinski and his complex family. As painter Beksinski tapes everything with his beloved camcorder, a 28-year family saga unfolds through disturbing dystopian paintings, near-death experiences, dance music trends and funerals….Director Jan P. Matuszyński recreates the real-life story of the fractious Beksinskis family like no other biopic.
Winner Best Actor (Andrzej Seweryn) - Locarno International Film Festival.
Winner The Grand Prix Golden Lions, Best Film - Gdynia Film Festival

  1. Singapore Chinese Film Festival

The 6th Singapore Chinese Film Festival will take place between 27 April to 6 May. It is the second largest film festival in Singapore with over 50 films screened across 11 days. Founded in 2013 by Singapore University of Social Sciences and SFS, the festival aimed to fill the gap in the screening of Chinese films in Singapore. Festival line-up will be announced on 10 April. Stay tuned!

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