LONG LONG TIME AGO follows the trials and tribulations of a family from 1965 to the early 1970s. Their journey through the years from their humble kampong to a modern HDB flat, runs in ... See full summary »
After the 1969 nationwide floods, Zhao Di takes over her father's family farm with the help of reformed gangster Ah Long. As Singapore's economy prospers, the Singaporean mindset is also ... See full summary »
Kok Pin, Boon Hock and Terry are classmates in "EM3" stream. In Singapore, that means that at the age of 12, the government has decided that they are not as academically inclined as their peers. Kok Pin is creative and a born artist but his parents would rather he focus on his Maths and Sciences. Boon Hock comes from a low-income family and needs to balance school and helping out at the food stall. Terry, a spoilt brat is just too lazy a student. While the three children suffer from the pressure of school, their parents have another set of problems - their jobs and careers ... Written by
L.H. Wong <firstname.lastname@example.org>
At one point, someone says that "Chinese New Year is coming soon" (the date of Chinese New Year varies, but it is always in January or February), but later Jerry Khoo receives a text message and says that "terrorists flew a plane into the tallest building in the US" (September 11, 2001). Since Chinese New Year occurs at the end of the movie, perhaps the filmmakers added the second line as a memorial to 9/11 but forgot that it was the wrong time of year in the movie. See more »
At the begining of the show, you will see Chinese words telling you to turn off your mobile phones and to applaud for the movie. At the end of the show, 3 of the cast will ask you to applaud for the movie See more »
More than a month ago, my eyes got all puffy again and I blamed Jack Neo for it. If a law was ever passed against making women cry using movies, he would be in death row by now.
Of course, as you can gather from my reaction, I am actually starting to love Neo (just don't remind me about his Liang Po Po slapstick). After watching Homerun, here was another Neo flick that had my tears streaming down my face uncontrollably - I Not Stupid (I.N.S.). Clever devil. Even his title screams with comic irony.
Compared to the first film aforementioned, I.N.S. is another Singaporean political and, more specifically, social satire. The treatment, however, is more direct though not literal. Without ever having to guess, one would not need to read any background on Singapore to realize that the film is satirical.
The whole movie is full of similes and metaphors - mostly directly injected in dialogue - that pertain to the country's government and its people. For around two hours, we are given a peek, a good peek, at one of Asia's well-known nations. At the same time, neighboring countries may recognize a thing or two about Singapore that resemble(s) a thing or two about themselves.
Strictly speaking, the story is about and narrated by Terry (Huang Po-Ju), a little rich boy who could be so obedient to an annoying fault. Actually, the story revolves not only around Terry, but also around poor toughie Boon Hock (Joshua Ang) and misunderstood artist Kok Pin (Shawn Lee). Well, around them and their parents, to be more exact. The adults have their own sub-plots that cannot be simply ignored. Each of the boys belong to section EM3 where all the kids perceived as lazy, troublesome and dumb always end up and are considered hopeless future adults. The parents, on the other hand, basically play the part of society and government. Special focus is on Singaporean education, both in school and in society.
As a satire, I found I.N.S. simple, direct, and effective in communicating the message. As a non-Singaporean, I cannot, in all honesty agree with all of Neo's opinions. I cannot, simply because I have never been to Singapore, personally talked to anyone who has, discussed the country with online buddies, nor met a Singaporean in the flesh. But as far as freedom of speech is concerned, through the use of a powerful medium, I say, yes, Neo conveyed his message very well. In fact, right at the start, he made it clear through the narration.
However, it wasn't the "underlying" content that got to me. It was Kok Pin and his mother that made me cry. I was doing fine until Kok Pin got up the building and...I should have known it would be about family again or I would have bought some tissue! As for funny moments, even if it was supposed to be comedy, there wasn't a lot to laugh at, literally or not. At least I didn't find much of the story funny. Sorry.
I.N.S. is a brave, intelligent film done in-your-face. It was created not to confuse but rather inform the audience and perhaps, serve as a wake-up call. It is not a stab (in fact, there is an "appreciative" comment near the end regarding "mothers") but rather, just a prick to remind the government to do what is proper and right when it comes to educating its people. No need to beat around the bush. After all, we not stupid.
Therefore, I highly recommend this movie. Not as powerful as I found Homerun, but still a very commendable piece. I can't wait to see another one of Jack's Neo-isms. This guy is not to be missed. After all, he most definitely not stupid! *May 15, 2005*
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