Update: Tickets for the event are sold out.
One of Singapore’s most prominent and successful filmmakers, Eric Khoo began his career with several short films in the ’80s, rising to prominence among the city’s first generation of post-independence filmmakers. His first full-length feature, 1995’s Mee Pok Man, shot in Tiong Bahru, was about a necrophiliac noodle seller, and managed to fuse his love of horror films and local cuisine. His second feature, 1997’s 12 Storeys, was the first Singaporean film to be shown at the Cannes Film Festival, and starred a young Jack Neo as one of several tenants in a Stirling Road apartment block.
Now considered one of the best Singapore films of all time, 12 Storeys will be shown at our first ‘Time Out presents… Director’s Cut’ event. The evening will begin with a discussion with the director and a showing of three short films selected by Khoo himself. Here he introduces his picks:
Royston Tan, ‘Sons’ (2000)
‘Royston’s pretty well known now, and I’ve watched all of his short films from the start. Royston is a filmmaker who has such a great style and eye. You can immediately recognise a Royston Tan film – it has his stamp all over it. He was the first director we roped into Zhao Wei Films, about eight years ago. It was maybe after his fifth short film, called “15”, when I said to him, you’ve got to make a feature-length film. And so we turned that short into a full length by filming two additional segments.
‘“Sons” is about a father and son… If executed badly, it could have been, um, very bad [laughs]. But the way he lensed it and the way he captured the moments were very strong, especially in the expressions of the old man. And all the actors were unknowns – when this was made, he hadn’t done a feature yet. It’s told through voiceover, in Hokkien dialect. He also had a very good piece of music to enhance the work. It’s a very lyrical piece.’
Boo Junfeng, ‘Un Retrato de Familia’ (2004)
‘This was one of Junfeng’s earlier works, shot in Spain. I really don’t want to reveal too much, but it’s unique and very provocative. It’ll make people think about their own family experiences [laughs].
‘When he was about to graduate from Lasalle, he showed me a piece called “Tanjong Rhu”, named after that area of Singapore. It’s about the entrapment of homosexuals – they used to have policemen lurking out there wearing short pants and backpacks, just waiting to nail gay guys with handcuffs. It’s a brilliant piece of work, which I wanted to pick for this screening, but it has a R-21 rating, which doesn’t quite go with a PG film like 12 Storeys. After watching it, I told him he had to make a feature film. He went out to make Sandcastle with Zhao Wei Films in 2010 – it was invited to Cannes Critics’ Week and won numerous awards.’
Anthony Chen, ‘Ah Ma’ (2007)
‘This film is special because it’s the only Singaporean short film to ever get selected for the Cannes Film Festival’s short-film section. It’s a big deal – you’re competing against over 3,000 shorts from around the world.
‘“Ah Ma” is a very sensitive work, emotional yet restrained. I don’t want to say too much about it, but it’s very strong and original. The subject matter is universal – it’s essentially about how we deal with someone dying.
‘When you watch the earlier works of these talented filmmakers, you get a feel of their directorial techniques because there’s a certain type of storytelling, an individuality. Anthony has made numerous short films since then and he’s working on his first feature now.’
Snacks will be provided, with drinks available for purchase from Sinema.