An emotive anthology by seven of Singapore's most illustrious filmmakers, celebrating SG50 through the lives and stories of Singaporeans. Directed by Eric Khoo, Jack Neo, K. Rajagopal, Royston Tan, Tan Pin Pin, Boo Junfeng, Kelvin Tong.
Johanna, a young drug addict, falls into a deep coma after an accident. Doctors miraculously manage to save her from death's doorstep. Touched by grace, Johanna cures patients by offering ... See full summary »
The river Suzhou that flows through Shanghai is a reservoir of filth, chaos and poverty, but also a meeting place for memories and secrets. Lou Ye, who spent his youth on the banks of the ... See full summary »
Set in 1930's in Puebla, Mexico, a young woman finds herself in an arranged marriage to a prominent politician (Andres Ascencio). As his career progresses, she finds it more difficult to remain a loyal, loving wife.
Ana Claudia Talancón,
Daniel Giménez Cacho,
José María de Tavira
Tsai Ming-liang returns with this latest entry in his Walker series, in which his monk acquires an unexpected acolyte in the form of Denis Lavant as he makes his way through the streets of a sun-dappled Marseille.
Aiman is a 28-year-old Malay correctional officer who is recently transferred to the territory's top prison. His parents have long passed away, leaving only his older sister Suhaila as his ... See full summary »
Sandcastle is a half-decent film that impresses only to a certain extent. It is never a landmark of contemporary Singaporean cinema.
Although it made waves at the Critics' Week in Cannes, Sandcastle receives only a splash from me. But it is an encouraging one, a playful slap on the water, rather than a reaction of so-so-ness. Singaporean director Boo Junfeng's first feature film is a promising debut, a composed effort that with good word-of-mouth would attract a fair share of viewers. The film, while not autobiographical, has a story that is loosely based on Boo's life experiences. It is part family drama, part rooted in Singapore history, and is quite an excellent take on the Singaporean culture.
Sandcastle explores the relationship between the older and younger generation of Singaporeans through the lives of one particular family. Boo focuses on the lead character, En (Joshua Tan), who plays a typical 18-year old teenager, who while waiting to enlist for National Service discovers the secret past of his late father through his grandparents his grandfather's old videos and photo negatives kept in a box, and the remnants of past memory from his Alzheimer-ravaged grandmother.
Boo's film opens with a reel of archival footage documenting briefly on the fervent political scene in the fifties, where passion drove many of the Chinese "protesters" to stage rallies against unpopular government policies. This is set to a Mandarin choir rendition of a poignant Singaporean song, Home, immediately creating a "patriotic shared memory" of the past by those who may or may not have been around during that tumultuous chapter of Singapore history.
Boo stressed in a dialogue session that his film is not meant to be political and should be read as a social study of that "patriotic shared memory" that continues to bind Singaporeans across all generations together. However, I feel that his film is an observation (or even an indirect criticism) of the state of Singaporeans' perception of their political role in society. Where has that fervor gone to? Has it just simply dissipated over a generation? Are we happy to lose our voice just because things are going so well for us?
Sandcastle is slow-moving, almost poetic in its visual style with shots of a moving ship passing through the harbor, and still shots depicting the serenity of urban dwelling. Boo's film is consistently melancholic in tone, which is a plus point for me, because it creates a quiet feel of sadness for the nostalgia of the past. The characters, however, are not quite fleshed out to their fullest, resulting in only a slight emotional attachment to them. The acting is also only above average in that respect.
Sandcastle is a half-decent film that impresses only to a certain extent. It is never a landmark of contemporary Singaporean cinema. But Boo shows that he has the potential to elevate his game, to probe at issues of our society through his personal stories. If he sticks to this direction and slowly improves on the quality of his output, he will be one to look out for, and also one to be remembered in decades to come.
SCORE: 7/10 (www.filmnomenon.blogspot.com) All rights reserved!
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