Set in familiar stomping grounds such as Far East Plaza, Chinatown, Sungei Road and even HDB flats, the five films chosen cover a melange of themes such as martial arts, Japanese Occupation-era historical drama and even prostitution. Below, three films you have to catch – and as if a David Bowie film made in the +65 isn’t enough, all screenings are free with registration:
Made during the legendary musician’s Serious Moonlight tour (where he stopped over in Bangkok, Hong Kong and Singapore – a super rare occasion, especially in the ’80s), Bowie took the time after rehearsals to explore the sights of Singapore. If you find the scene above familiar, it’s the escalator leading to Far East Plaza, then a spanking new mall.
The neon glow of the settings lent a sci-fi edge to the film, which reimagines the famously boundary-pushing singer as an explorer in alien territories. Screens Jan 6 at 8 pm and Feb 5 at 9 pm at the Plaza, National Library
Ring Of Fury (1973)
Hailed as Singapore’s first and only martial arts film (and sparked by the kung fu craze brought about by Bruce Lee), the film focuses on a humble noodle seller who transforms into a righteous pugilist battling against the triads.
While the likes of Donnie Yen’s Ip Man may be popular around the Asian region, Singapore admittedly is not typically associated with the martial arts, making this film all the more of a gem. It was even banned at the time for its depiction of “gangsterism”. Screens Jan 7 at 9 pm and Feb 3 at 8 pm at the Plaza, National Library
Saint Jack (1979)
While Singapore may have been the setting of recent Hollywood films (Independence Day: Resurgence and the Nicholas Hoult/Kristen Stewart sci-fi vehicle Equals), Saint Jack was the first Hollywood film to be shot entirely on our shores.
Essentially the story of an American pimp trying to lead a decent life in an “indecent” trade, Saint Jack too received a ban in its time due to its unsavoury portrayal of Singapore. Screens Jan 7 at 5 pm and Feb 4 at 8 pm at the Plaza, National Library
Images: Asian Film Archive
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