Saturday, November 29, 2008

Episode 68: PROJECT: slingSHORT 08/2

Went down to London to catch the second instalment of this year's PROJECT: slingSHORT. These were the Singaporean short films screened:

4 Days 3 Nights by Ming
Zo Hee by Jacen Tan
Wet Season by Michael Tay
Embryo by Loo Zihan
Duck by Rae Lyn Lee
Haze by Anthony Chen
Overhead Clouds by Yeo Lee Nah
Love Through The Ages by Wendy Chee
Unarmed Combat by Han Yew Kwang
Nation Builders by Martyn See

Aside from some technical issues, which were due to the need to switch back and forth between several DVDs, the screening was great. I'd seen Wet Season before, at a screening in Sinema Old School, and it was still as bittersweetly poignant as the last time. Other films I especially enjoyed were Embryo, Overhead Clouds and Nation Builders. Embryo was experimental, but not to the point where it alienated the audience, and you could definitely see a sort of narrative in it, even if it wasn't fleshed out in its entirety. The scene in which the girl was sucking on the plant was undeniably sexual, but the sequence that stood out for me was when she collected the eggs and then dyed them red, a subtle reference to pregnancy. I really enjoyed Overhead Clouds because it was just so whimsical! That animated cloud was too cute for words. As for Nation Builders, it made me uncomfortable, but that was because it made me question the 'official' picture of Singapore that's always painted for us. I found it interesting that the locations filmed seem to be concentrated around the 'older' areas of Singapore, which is perhaps why the full extent of the problem doesn't occur to people like me. The juxtaposition of the final shot was sheer brilliance by the way. The paternal figure on a poster, set beside one of the citizens who've slipped through the cracks that he claims to have kept them from. Not the kind of film you'll be seeing in any genuinely public space in Singapore in the near future.

I actually bumped into a lot of MOE people at Charlotte Street Hotel, which was quite a surprise. The Londoners were so surprised that people like me and Andrea would travel down to London just for the screening. Bella, Michelle and I were in McDonald's after the screening, where I found that McDonald's here sells chicken strips! I was so happy that I ordered a meal. Bella and I ended up missing our coach back to Coventry though, so we had to buy tickets for another one. I spent half of the journey listening to my iPod, but the battery died, so I switched to reading Frederick Crews The Pooh Perplex: A Freshman Casebook. Finished most of it, so I went to the Library to get through the last few pages and pick up some books on Sir Gawain And The Green Knight. Crews's book is a hilarious satirising of literary criticism, and there's a companion volume called Postmodern Pooh, which covers more recent developments in the field. The freaky part is that some of the stuff that's written about A. A. Milne's books sound entirely plausible! In fact, it's the kind of stuff that I might write in an essay, assuming I were doing one on Winnie-the-Pooh, of course. Now I feel like I've been missing out on so much by not having read either of Milne's books. Haha...

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