John Lui Film Correspondent recommends

Belle Familles, Millenium Mambo and more

PHOTOS: ALLIANCE FRANCAISE, SCUM CINEMA

FRANCOPHONIE FESTIVAL 2016

In Belle Familles (main photo, NC16, 82 minutes), bank executive Jerome Varenne (Mathieu Amalric) leaves his posting in China to handle a crisis at his childhood home in France.

Once there, he has to deal with issues he thought he had left behind.

This comedy-drama is directed and co-written by Jean-Paul Rappeneau, maker of Cyrano De Bergerac (1990).

Mustang (PG13, 97 minutes) returns for an encore screening. It tells the story of five girls in a remote Turkish village who have to cope with social disapproval following a scandal.

The film, based on the personal experience of Turkish-French writer-director Deniz Gamze Erguven, was lauded at the Cannes and Toronto film festivals. 

WHERE: 1 Sarkies Road, Alliance Francaise de Singapour 

MRT: Newton/Novena

WHEN: Till Tuesday, various timings; Belle Familles is screening today at 8pm 

ADMISSION: $13

INFO: Schedule and booking at www.alliancefrancaise.org.sg


ALSO LIKE LIFE: THE FILMS OF HOU HSIAO-HSIEN

Ask any Singapore film-maker who he admires and this Taiwanese icon is likely to be in the top five.

The 68-year-old is not as well-known as his compatriot Lee Ang, but his influence here runs deep - his preference for non-actors, long takes, meticulous staging, sparse dialogue and unspoken emotions is widely copied.

A woman (Shu Qi) reflects on her encounters with men in Millenium Mambo (M18, 101 minutes).

In this 2001 mood piece, Hou plays with visuals, especially ones that evoke the passage of time. 

WHERE: 93 Stamford Road, National Museum Of Singapore, Gallery Theatre, Basement 

MRT: Dhoby Ghaut/City Hall 

WHEN: Till Sunday, various timings; Millenium Mambo is screening tomorrow at 8pm 

ADMISSION: $11 

TEL: 6348-5555 

INFO: Go to nationalmuseum.sg for screening schedule. Buy tickets at www.sistic.com.sg


SINGAPORE CULT & UNDERGROUND FILM FESTIVAL

Remake, Remix, Ripoff: About Copy Culture & Turkish Pop Cinema (above, R21, 96 minutes) is a documentary about the wild and wonderful industry that flourished in Istanbul from the 1960s to 1980s. Local film-makers lifted stories and characters from James Bond, Star Wars, Rocky, Jaws and other films to create something uniquely Turkish.

The film is one of four international works in the second edition of a festival by fans of weird, obscure and forgotten works, the Scum cinema collective.

WHERE: 6001 Beach Road, Golden Mile Tower, The Projector

MRT: Nicoll Highway 

WHEN: March 24 to 27, various timings; Remake, Remix, Ripoff is screening on March 26 at 5pm

ADMISSION: $13 

INFO: Bookings and schedule at scumcinema.com/events/scuff2016


HAIL CAESAR! (PG)

106 minutes

4.5 stars

Remember when it was compulsory to have at least one musical salute to Hollywood? The Coen brothers do.

This is their feature-length tribute to Tinseltown's golden age and it is also their best work in years.

Writer-directors Ethan and Joel Coen vacuum up every scrap of film culture they love about the 1950s - autocratic studios, singing cowboys, dancing sailors, Bible epics, the Red Scare - and stuff them into one package.

Eddie Mannix (Josh Brolin) is a mid-level troubleshooter at a movie studio, coping with a string of disasters.

Matinee idol Baird Whitlock (George Clooney) vanishes during a shoot of Bible spectacular Hail Caesar!. DeeAnna Moran (Scarlett Johansson), star of synchronised swim extravaganzas, has a reputation crisis.

This is a warm, funny and uncomplicated blend of satire and tribute, bursting with affection for a medium at the height of its influence, while gently sending up the craziness behind the scenes.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 18, 2016, with the headline 'Film Picks'. Print Edition | Subscribe