JOHN LUI RECOMMENDS

Film Picks: Boundless, The Babadook, Pasolini Revisited and Perspectives Film Festival

Boundless, a documentary biopic of Hong Kong film-maker Johnnie To (pictured), was supposed to have been screened earlier this year at the Singapore Chinese Film Festival, but was withdrawn after its director, Ferris Lin, objected to cuts suggested b
Boundless, a documentary biopic of Hong Kong film-maker Johnnie To (pictured), was supposed to have been screened earlier this year at the Singapore Chinese Film Festival, but was withdrawn after its director, Ferris Lin, objected to cuts suggested by the Media Development Authority. -- PHOTO: SINGAPORE FILM SOCIETY

BOUNDLESS (NC16)

This documentary biopic of Hong Kong film-maker Johnnie To was supposed to have been screened earlier this year at the Singapore Chinese Film Festival, but was withdrawn after its director, Ferris Lin, objected to cuts suggested by the Media Development Authority. Now, it can be viewed uncut because of a successful appeal. Made by Beijng-based fan and film student Lin for his graduation thesis and shot over two years, the documentary follows the life of To, known for either directing or producing acclaimed action thrillers such as Election (2005) and Drug War (2012). This screening is jointly presented by the Singapore Film Society and The Arts House.

Where: The Arts House, Screening Room, 1 Old Parliament Lane MRT: City Hall/Raffles Place When: Oct 26 & 27, 7.30pm Admission: $12 from www.bytes.sg, with discounts for members of the Singapore Film Society & The Arts House Info: www.sfs.org.sg


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PASOLINI REVISITED: POET, WRITER, FILM-MAKER

Presented by The Arts House and the Italian Cultural Institute, this retrospective of iconic Italian film-maker, writer, poet and intellectual, Pier Paolo Pasolini, includes a selection of his early, rarely-seen works, such as his debut feature Accattone (The Scrounger, PG, 1961, 117 minutes), about a pimp and how his affections for a prostitute get the better of him. The film is in Italian with English subtitles.

Where: The Arts House, Screening Room, 1 Old Parliament Lane MRT: City Hall/Raffles Place When: Till Sun, various timings Admission: Free with registration Info: www.theartshouse.com.sg


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PERSPECTIVES FILM FESTIVAL

"Sixth generation" Chinese director Lou Ye's Suzhou River (PG, 83 minutes, 2000) might have courted controversy with the authorities, but it made his name overseas. It did, however, cause him to be banned from film-making in his native country for two years, after he screened it at the International Film Festival Rotterdam without permission from the Chinese authorities.

The story of doomed love taking place in and around Shanghai looks at the lives of four characters, two of them played by actress Zhou Xun.

Now in its seventh edition, the festival is organised by students of the Wee Kim Wee School of Communications at the Nanyang Technological University.

There are seven films on the roster, built around the theme of displacement. Speakers this year include Sooni Taraporevala, screenwriter for the celebrated drama Salaam Bombay (1988, NC16, 113 minutes) and film-maker Jasmine Ng, who will speak on the topic of film-making for social change.

Where: National Museum of Singapore, 93 Stamford Road (Suzhou River) MRT: Dhoby Ghaut/Bras Basah When: Oct 18, 4.30pm Where: GV VivoCity or the National Museum Gallery Theatre (Perspectives Film Festival) MRT: HarbourFront/Dhoby Ghaut/Bras Basah When: Oct 16 - 19 Admission: $10 each or $45 for a festival pass to all seven films from Sistic (call 6348-5555 or go to www.sistic.com.sg) Info: Go to perspectivesfilmfestival.com for full schedule


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THE BABADOOK (NC16)

94 minutes

****1/2

It would be easy to call this a thinking person's horror film, but that would be to deny its many deliciously visceral moments of flesh-crawling terror.

Widow Amelia (Essie Davis) finds herself unable to cope with the tantrums of her son Samuel (Noah Wiseman). One day, she finds a strange pop-up book on her son's shelf and reads it to him. It turns out to be a tale about a monster, the Babadook, who asks to be let into homes with a rap on the door.

Australian writer-director Jennifer Kent employs every tool to create a sustained mood of dread, from the grey, washed-out palette that recalls Scotland at its dampest and most Gothic, to the faces of the mother and son - hers looks drained of colour, as if she was already dead, while his has the young-old look of a child who has seen too much.

Samuel's fixation on the creature in the story book and the bad behaviour that springs from it puts a heavy strain on his mother's love for him. At the heart of the story is the question: How does a mother love an unlovable child?