Jeremy Chua, the producer for The Substation's On the Block Film Fest shares his choice reads
On the Block: The Substation’s Film Fest Weekend is a prelude to the centre's August programmes that focus on the issue of conservation in Singapore. Guest producer Jeremy Chua recommends the books you should read
The Glass Bead Game by Hermann Hesse "A book that shaped my mindset and principles. It reminded me about simple values, what it means to be a human, and what it means to devote your life to pursue the highest level of any subject. You know how sometimes the hardest thing to realise is what you don't know that you don't know? It was an intimate experience, like an awakening, it's hard to describe."
Shades of Grey by Jasper Fforde "I've always preferred crime novels as a child. My sister recommended my favourite author to me 10 years ago. He writes whimsical-crime-fantasy-sci-fi-thrillers. My favourite from him would be Shades of Grey. Not to be confused by 50 Shades of Grey, it depicts existentialism in a science fiction dystopia where people are classified based on their perception of chroma. On the opposite spectrum of reality, I admire Fforde's books for stretching my imagination to an extreme elasticity and his ability to depict life in complete make belief."
The Orchid Thief by Susan Orleans "A book I read after watching the film adaptation was The Orchid Thief by Susan Orleans. Spike Jonze titled the film, Adaptation. The curious thing is that The Orchid Thief is a non-fiction book investigating John Laroche, a horticulturist who was put on trial in 1994 for rare orchid poaching. The film, however, is about Hollywood screenwriter Charlie Kaufman trying to adapt this book into a film that in satirical fashion turns into a crime thriller in a totally different direction. I love them both for different reasons like apples and oranges, because through words or images they look at crime and obsession through the fragile beauty of orchids but this evolves into mania in an unsuspecting, terrifying way."
The Optic Trilogy by Alfian Sa'at "I would choose The Optic Trilogy [to be adapted into film] because it is written with simplicity yet in a rich, humane universe, delicate in its reveal of the Singaporean ennui, our inner melancholy, the inexplicable uncertainty of who we are, an overwhelming desperation to reach towards something seemingly unattainable. It's all very cinematic in mood and tone. K. Rajagopal would direct it. He understands sorrow and the depths of it. It needs to be told because there are many material obsessions in our daily life, and we easily abandon our dreams, our soul, in search of artificial riches."
Jeremy Chua is the guest producer for On the Block: The Substation's Film Fest Weekend that takes place from 27 July to 29 July. The films from Brazil, Colombia, Germany and China demonstrate how land and infrastructural changes affect our psychology, philosophy and way of life, reminding us that the identity of community is inextricable from its environment. Tickets here.