Singapore may be packed with film festivals throughout the year — there’s a new one almost every week — but the Singapore International Film Festival (SGIFF), with its status as the biggest and longest-running festival, is surely the biggie most film buffs look out for every year. The 29th edition takes place from November 28 – December 9, featuring a total of 103 works sourced from 44 countries, spread out over 12 days.
It’s also a progressive platform — for example, the jury panel for the Southeast Asian Short Film Competition this year is an all-women team (including local director Kirsten Tan) — while the launch of the new SGIFF Film Fund means independent filmmakers in Singapore and Southeast Asia working in both fiction and non-fiction genres will be receiving grants to support their endeavours.
Ahead of the film fest, we’re giving away 5 pairs of tickets for the screening of fashion documentary The Gospel According To Andre, centred around Andre Leon Talley who was Vogue‘s creative director for well over a decade. Many would have seen his larger-than-life presence in documentaries like The September Issue, or on reality shows like America’s Next Top Model where he served as a judge. Now the spotlight is on him in this feature replete with archival footage and star power in the form of Diana Ross, Tom Ford, Marc Jacobs, Valentino Garavani and his former boss, Anna Wintour.
Sign up below for a chance to win one of 5 pairs of tickets to the screening.
Contest ends 26 November 2018.
On the next page, more films that caught our eye from SGIFF’s 103-strong line-up.
A Land Imagined
In a year as riotous as 2018 (Trump-Kim summit, Crazy Rich Asians etc), the news that a local feature film had won the top prize at a top-tier festival like Switzerland’s Locarno Film Festival might have been overlooked. But with A Land Imagined by director Yeo Siew Hua finally making its local premiere here, you’d be crazy not to snap up tickets for this surrealist work, which follows a police investigator as he sets out to solve the mystery behind the disappearance of a migrant Chinese construction worker from a land reclamation site. The director and the film cast will be in attendance.
8 DEC, SAT / 2:00 PM / NATIONAL MUSEUM OF SINGAPORE
A Dance for Ren Hang
Part of the larger Singapore Panorama programme which features a group of short films, A Dance For Ren Hang by local director Lei Yuan Bin is a tribute of sorts to the late Chinese photographer. He enlists modern dancers to re-enact Ren Hang’s provocative images — the results should prove interesting.
29 NOV, THU / 7:00 PM / NATIONAL MUSEUM OF SINGAPORE
Oscar winner Natalie Portman is back with another mind-bender in Brady Corbet’s Vox Lux, playing a talented musical ingenue who survives a shooting incident and goes on to become a superstar musician. With the trappings of a mega famous personality comes its negative sides — drugs, drinking problems and yes, ageing. Portman’s turn as a popstar has received rave reviews a la Black Swan and while it’s early, there’s talk of success at next year’s Oscars.
1 DEC, SAT / 11:00 AM / FILMGARDE BUGIS+
5 DEC, WED / 7:00 PM / NATIONAL MUSEUM OF SINGAPORE
Read more on the next page.
Cities of Last Things
Coming across a tad like The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Cities of Last Things by Ho Wi Ding follows the life of a middle-aged police officer and the three women who each shaped his life indelibly — in reverse chronological order. There’s his wife, who continually cheats on their marriage, Ara, a foreign teenager he arrested years before and finally, Big Sister Wang, a criminal.
28 NOV, WED / 8:00 PM / CAPITOL THEATRE
A Broad Bellflower
If you’ve ever wondered what life is like in North Korea, here’s an insightful look: A Broad Bellflower was one of the most popular films in the regime in the ’80s. A romantic drama, it focuses on a pair of sisters, Song-rim and Song-hwa, who live in a rural village. Their lives are upended when Song-rim’s boyfriend decides to leave the village for a better life in the city — with or without her.
1 DEC, SAT / 4:30 PM / NATIONAL MUSEUM OF SINGAPORE
Based on the real life story of American writer Billy Hayes, Midnight Express follows his account of how he was sentenced to 30 years in jail when he was caught with drugs while on a flight out of Istanbul. He has three options after being sentenced: be killed in prison, wait for a diplomatic intervention or basically, prison break.
2 DEC, SUN / 4:30 PM / NATIONAL MUSEUM OF SINGAPORE