#ThrowbackThursday: Our favourite local films

#ThrowbackThursday: Our favourite local films

Editor's pick

Text: Adibah Isa

Image: Courtesy of Glen Goei and Tiger Tiger Pictures,
Cathay-Keris Films Private Limited,
Far Sun Films,
J Team Productions

The 11-day 26th Singapore International Film Festival kicks off today, celebrating the 20th anniversary of Eric Khoo’s Mee Pok Man and Yonfan’s Bugis Street Redux. We look back on our favourite local films

Bugis Street Redux (1995)
Director: Yonfan

"I obviously didn't know about this movie when it was first released — and even if I did, I'm sure I wouldn't have been allowed to watch it based on the subject matter alone. Yes, the film's about Bugis Street back in its raunchy '60s heyday, where transgender women of the night rule the little lane that is now the iconic shopping district. I love how it even got past Singapore's strict censorship — LGBT issues aren't something that go unnoticed. The film's a great way to experience a slice of Singapore's past that doesn't immediately zero in on nation-building - instead, it's a celebration of some of the most colourful characters to ever roam our streets." - Adibah Isa
 Bugis Street

Army Daze (1996)
Director: Ong Keng Sen

"Based on Michael Chiang's 1987 play, Army Daze is hands down one of my most memorable local productions to date. Utterly funny and oh-so relatable, I personally love how the film was kept real with colloquial slang and all other local languages were spoken throughout. A funny representation of our diverse society, my favourite characters were Johari Salleh, the sentimental mat played by Sheikh Haikel and the effeminate outcast, Kenny Pereira, played by Kevin Mark. Just for another good dose of tickles, I'll be watching it again over the holiday season." - Dora Aljoofri

Army Daze

Forever Fever (1998)
Director: Glen Goei

"This joyful and exuberant dance film, set in 1970s Singapore and starring Adrian Pang, is not just a homage to seminal disco flick Saturday Night Fever, but a love letter to a simpler, grittier, livelier Singapore. Watching it at the time with my parents brought back a wave of nostalgia. The lead character, Hock, lives in a Singapore that is much messier and less sanitised than what we're used to. It also has fun cameos and supporting turns from Kumar and Pamela Oei." - Renée Batchelor

Forever Fever (1998)

I Not Stupid (2002)
Director: Jack Neo

"It was 2002 and as part of a "cultural journey" my primary school organised, we watched Neo's I Not Stupid, a comical satire of Singapore's education system. The movie owes its success to surprisingly accurate depictions of the struggles faced by Singaporean children as we follow three young boys, Terry Khoo, Liu Kok Pin and Ang Boon Hock as they face the trials of being in the lowest academic stream, EM3. The truisms in the film jolts you with a reality check and leaves you feeling grateful for all that you have in life. That was one field trip that did not go to waste." - Vanessa Caitlin

I Not Stupid (2002)

Singapore GaGa (2005)
Director: Tan Pin Pin

"All year long, we've seen SG50 tributes attempt to make sense of what Singapore is and what it means to be Singaporean. Tan Pin Pin's Singapore GaGa — while not conceived as an SG50 initiative — is for me the rawest, and most honest distillation of our national identity. From itinerant buskers to public announcements, this 55-minute film captures the aural landscape of Singapore that many Singaporeans would be familiar with. The sounds we encounter daily might fade into snippets of white noise, but Tan's Singapore GaGa awakens our senses to the rich aural dialogue taking place around us." - Denise Kok

For last week's #ThrowbackThursday, click here