Sunday, April 18, 2004

My first ever day of volunteering at the Singapore Int'l Film Festival. A Saturday with scorching sunshine spent mostly indoors at the Singapore History Museum. I need sleep. Will be brief.

KAFA Animations: My favourite was The Letter. Surreal and quietly humourous. The unnamed male narrator sends letters to his ex-girlfriend, pouring his feelings out in the hope that she'll return to him. The local post office is staffed by only one person, and all Ami does is stamp envelopes. Actually, she's been opening the narrator's letters, reading them, and falling in love with him. Then their little unnamed town is suddenly infested with benevolent, mail-eating dinosaurs.

Cosmic Tree was also excellently drawn and animated.

Fear Factor (Star Galaxy): One in a series of documentary shorts that focus on the recent Indonesian elections. Star Galaxy focuses on the activities of a dangdut group that performs for all the major parties. This short was screened as part of the launch of a book about the work of Indonesian New Wave director Garin Nugroho. Nugroho is actively nurturing a new generation of directors through projects like Fear Factor (which he produced), and he talked about his experiences in dealing with film censorship and oppression during the Suharto years.

Parasite Dolls: I took off in the afternoon to catch this with David. Too bad it was a dud. Mediocre plots, quality of animation above average but I expected nothing less. Hope the filmfest people get a better anime offering next year!

Morning Sun: 2 hour documentary about the Cultural Revolution. Nothing that I didn't know from classes, but I loved the extensive media footage used throughout the film. I also liked that the interviews with leaders who were persecuted during that period and with their children, which helps to reinforces the film's thesis of misguided, uncontrolled youthful fanaticism. The sense of religious fervour mixed with rock-star idolatry that fueled the excesses of the Cultural Revolution is crystal-clear in this polished effort.

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