This is shaping up to be a good year for film fans in Singapore – apart from the usual big blockbusters, several film events and festivals with really impressive lineups are also happening (four of them in March alone). Here are some that we are most excited about:
#1: Smash The Glass (1 – 22 March)
The Singapore Committee for UN Women and European Union in Singapore has teamed up in a spectacular way to celebrate International Women’s Day this year – by screening a series of films centred around women’s stories every Thursday this March. The film festival aims to ‘smash the glass’ ceiling by showcasing inspiring tales of women around the world.
The four films that will be screened include Canadian documentary film Driving With Selvi (2015), Finnish-Danish drama film Little Wing (2016), electronic music documentary Amplify Her (2017) and acclaimed drama flick Noces (A Wedding) (2016).
Star picks include the screening of Driving With Selvi – the film focuses on South India’s first female taxi driver, Selvi, who, along with the director Elisa Paloschi, will be present at the screening for an interactive discussion. Similarly, the director of Amplify Her, Nicole Sorochan, will also be present at the film’s screening, along with local female DJs Masia and Rah, to discuss more about talented young women in the electronic music scene.
$8 – $20 per ticket. Various locations and timings. Visit www.unwomen.org.sg for more information.
#2: Japanese Film Festival (2 – 18 March)
While there has been no official explanation as to why the Japanese Film Festival went on hiatus in 2017, it’s now all water under the bridge as the festival is returning this year, albeit at a new time slot of March instead of the usual September.
With a slew of 16 films being shown this time, we are all ready to celebrate the best of Japanese cinema. The lineup is an eclectic mix of digitally restored classics, modern drama and romance films, and even an animated flick about cats.
What we recommend: opening film Survival Family (2017), a drama/comedy which tells the story of a normal family living in Tokyo whose lives are suddenly upended when they realise all their electricity supply has been shut off. Director Shinobu Yaguchi will be in attendance at the screening, and will be available for a post-screening Q&A. Also, check out the digitally restored classics, which are mostly films from the 50s. Highlights include celebrated director Yasujiro Ozu’s Floating Weeds (1959) and The Flavor Of Green Tea Over Rice (1952), as well as Kenji Mizoguchi’s timeless masterpiece Sansho the Bailiff (1954).
$13 per ticket, Gallery Theatre, National Museum of Singapore. Various timings. Visit http://tickets.jpfilmfestival.com for more information.
#3: Francophonie Festival (8 – 22 March)
Ooh la la – it’s time to celebrate all things French. The Alliance Française de Singapour, along with the embassies of France, Belgium, Canada and Switzerland and Lycée Français, is once again presenting the Francophonie Festival, which rounds up the best of the best of Francophone culture. From iconic comics to world music to topical conferences, there’s surely something for everyone.
Of course, our focus will be on the award-winning movies that will be screened as part of the festival – this time, the lineup consists of nine movies, all of which are Singaporean premieres. The whole list includes Oscar-nominated documentary Visages Villages (Faces Places) (2017), comedy flick Le Brio (2017), Senegalese drama film Félicité (2017), WWII drama film Un Juif pour l’exemple (A Jew Must Die) (2016), fantasy dark comedy Le Tout Nouveau Testamen (The Brand New Testament) (2015), Canadian drama film 1:54 (2017), Moroccan drama film Razzia (2017), animation Les Moomins (Moomins on the Riviera) (2015) and Noces (A Wedding) (2016), the last which is also screened under Smash The Glass.
If you had to choose one to watch, definitely don’t miss Visages Villages, which will be screened on the festival’s opening night, with a cocktail reception before the movie. With a current 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, the film is a roving personalized documentary co-directed by director Agnès Varda and photographer and muralist JR. The pair recounts their journey through rural France and the formation of an unlikely friendship along the way.
$8 – $21 per ticket, Alliance française Theatre, Level I. Various timings. Visit www.alliancefrancaise.org.sg for more information.
#4: Danish Film Festival (16 – 18 March)
The Projector is back again with another exciting offering – co-presented with the Royal Danish Embassy in Singapore and with the support of the Danish Film Institute, our favourite independent cinema is now curating and presenting the first ever Danish Film Festival.
With a heavy emphasis on art and design in all the five films of the festival, take a look at the making of the very best of Scandinavian furniture (which, let’s face it, has taken over the world by storm) in BØRGE MOGENSEN, Designs for Life (2015), a documentary of the internationally renowned Danish furniture designer. If art is something more up your sleeve, then check out Olafur Eliasson: Space Is Process (2009), a close study of the Danish-Icelandic artist and the stories behind his monumental installations.
The rest of the films include Big Time (2017), a documentary about young architect Bjarke Ingels, who was named one of TIME’S 100 Most Influential People in 2016. Then there’s Bugs (2016), which might interest you if you’re either an ardent foodie or passionate about sustainability – the film follows a chef and a food lab researcher as they go around the world investigating edible insects. Lastly, the LGBT documentary How Are You (2011), which tells the tale of two famous artists falling in love, rounds up the lineup.
$11.50 – $13.50 per ticket, The Projector. Various timings. Visit www.theprojector.sg for more information.
#5: Peroni Sunset Cinema (2 – 13 May)
There’s still some time to the open-air beach cinema event, but going by the popularity of the sold-out inaugural edition last year, it might be wise to get on the tickets fast. For its second run, the Peroni Sunset Cinema will replicate all the elements that made it so successful in 2017 – an award-winning movie lineup, DJs, coastal cuisine, sunset drinks and an all-around chillax (and very Instagrammable) environment.
This time, the programming is filled with brand new, acclaimed releases such as the star-studded crime thriller All The Money In The World (2017), biographical sports comedy-drama Battle Of The Sexes (2017), romance-drama flick Breathe (2017), Oscar contender Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (2017), crime drama film Molly’s Game (2017), political thriller The Post (2017), British war drama film Darkest Hour (2017), the Tom Cruise-helmed crime film American Made (2017), fantasy drama and fellow Oscar contender The Shape Of Water (2017), biographical ice-skating film I, Tonya (2017) and lastly, tear-jerker drama film Wonder (2017).
All the films will be screened as a silent cinema event, where viewers get to listen to the audio via noise cancelling, state of the art wireless headphones for a fully immersive cinematic experience. Freshly prepared coastal cuisine by Tanjong Beach Club will also be on hand to cure hunger pangs.
$29.80 per ticket, Tanjong Beach. Various timings. Visit www.sunsetcinema.com.sg for more information.
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