John Lui Film Correspondent & Yip Wai Yee recommend

Film Picks: Perspectives Film Festival, I Am A Hero and more

Endless Poetry
Endless PoetryPHOTOS: CARTOONS UNDERGROUND, NATIONAL MUSEUM OF SINGAPORE, PERSPECTIVES FILM FESTIVAL, SHAW ORGANISATION, THE PROJECTOR

PERSPECTIVES FILM FESTIVAL

Designed to expand the mind (or send it into orbit), the festival is in its ninth year.

This year's theme is surrealism, so it is only natural to put the spotlight on French-Chilean film-maker Alejandro Jodorowsky, an artist famed for non-linear stories rich in allusion and symbolism. Two of his most recent works, Dance Of Reality (2013) and Endless Poetry (2016), will make their Singapore premieres.

WHERE: National Museum of Singapore, 93 Stamford Road; and The Projector, Level 5 Golden Mile Tower, 6001 Beach Road MRT: Dhoby Ghaut/Nicoll Highway WHEN: Thu to Oct 30, various times ADMISSION: $11. Festival passes cost $40 (four films) and $65 (seven films) INFO: For schedule, go to www.perspectivesfilmfestival.com

John Lui


I AM A HERO (M18)
127 minutes/ 3.5 stars

A manga artist, Hideo Suzuki (Yo Oizumi, left, with Kasumi Arimura), is going nowhere in his career and his girlfriend is on the verge of dumping him. When a mysterious virus turns citizens across Tokyo into zombies, he must become the hero he has always imagined himself to be.

For a gory zombie movie, I Am A Hero contains a surprising number of laughs - albeit not the kind one gets from straight-up zombie film parodies such as British film Shaun Of The Dead (2004), where everything from the genre is exaggerated and mocked.

It trades in humour through meticulous details, such as a sumo-sized zombie barrelling down the road, threatening to do more harm to the protagonist with his weight than his teeth.

There are no surprises as to whether Hideo rises to the occasion to do the right thing, but his journey to get there is believable.

Yip Wai Yee


MIDDLE EAST FILM FESTIVAL

Singapore's first festival featuring films from the Middle East includes the powerful The Paternal House (2012, 97 minutes, above) from director Kianoush Ayyari, a drama about an honour killing that was banned in the film-maker's home country of Iran.

Barakah Meets Barakah (2016, 88 minutes) is a romantic comedy from Saudi Arabia. A World Not Ours (2012, 90 minutes) is a serio-comic look at the lives of Palestinians in Lebanon's refugee settlements. The festival is organised by the National University of Singapore's Middle East Institute and The Projector.

WHERE: The Projector MRT: Nicoll Highway WHEN: Till Oct 30, various times ADMISSION: $13.50 INFO: For bookings and schedules, go to theprojector.sg

John Lui


SINGAPORE SHORT CUTS

Singapore's premier showcase of short films is now in its 13th year.

This weekend's programme stretches from the realism of 5 Dollars For A Passport to the oddball whimsy of Being, As A Horse (above). Jason Ye's Passport shows the film-maker making a trip to Malaysia to discover his father's past, while Horse explores the limits of creative self-expression.

WHERE: Gallery Theatre, Basement, National Museum of Singapore, 93 Stamford Road MRT: Bras Basah/Dhoby Ghaut WHEN: Tomorrow and Sunday, 2pm ADMISSION: Free. Tickets are available from the visitor services centre on a first-come, first-served basis INFO: For full brochure, go to nationalmuseum.sg

John Lui


CARTOONS UNDERGROUND

The festival's programme director Tan Wei Keong says that "there has always been a gap between auteur and commercial animation in Singapore".

"We hope to bridge that gap by bringing in works by international animation artists and shining a spotlight on our artists," says Tan, himself an award-winning local animator.

He singles out In Other Words (above), by Israeli director Tal Kantor, as "a great film on an adult theme of estrangement between father and daughter".

One of 20 works showcased at the event, it blends live-action footage with traditional drawn animation.

WHERE: Kult Kafe, 11 Upper Wilkie Road MRT: Little India WHEN: Tomorrow, 6pm ADMISSION: Entry by donation INFO: To RSVP, go to www.cartoonsunderground.com

John Lui

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 21, 2016, with the headline 'Film Picks'. Print Edition | Subscribe