This year's Singapore International Film Festival is worth getting out of bed for
The Singapore International Film Festival (SGIFF) is the largest and longest-running film event in Singapore. This year, its 29th edition will be held from 28 November to 9 December, across a diverse range of locations: from theatres at the Capitol and The Cathay to museums such as National Gallery Singapore and National Museum of Singapore, and even at youth lifestyle hub SCAPE. Dedicated to recognising local and regional cinematic talents, SGIFF will be casting the spotlight on Filipino filmmakers as the country celebrates its centennial anniversary of cinema this year. For an experience beyond the usual sit-in cinema, this year's festival is also offering free outdoor screenings at Gardens by the Bay for the first time. Here are three highlights worth getting out of bed for.
Moonlight Cinema series at Gardens by the Bay
Forget the freezing air-condition and pin-drop silence of a conventional cinema; SGIFF has partnered with Gardens by the Bay to host two free outdoor screenings amidst the attraction's lush botanic wonderland. The inaugural series beings with My Girl (USA, 1991) and My Girl (Thailand, 2003) — two coming-of-age films about the bittersweet experience of a first crush.
Spotlight on Filipino cinema
The key films from the Philippines to be showcased include Season of the Devil by accomplished director Lav Diaz, a surreal and bleak musical drama set in the tumultuous martial law era in the Philippines, Shireen Seno’s magical-realist story Nervous Translation on the fantastical world inside a girl's head that won the Rotterdam 2018 NETPAC Award, and Manilla is Full of Men Named Boy, a strange story about a man who purchases a child to be his son just to impress his father.
Notable film screenings
SGIFF opens with Cities of Last Things, an ambitious creation by Malaysian-born Ho Wi Ding who took on multiple roles as lead producer, writer, director and co-editor. Set in Taipei in the present year and in 2049, the film — which was shot on expired 35mm film stock — flashes back and forth between policeman Zhang's current retirement as well as memories from his younger years, weaving together a tale about infidelity, revenge and how three women played a pivot role in shaping his identity.
Directed by Yeo Siew Hua who studied at the National University of Singapore, A Land Imagined won the coveted Golden Leopard award at this year's Locarno International Film Festival. The film follows insomniac police inspector Lok as he investigates the mysterious disappearance of a Chinese construction worker from a land reclamation site.