John Lui Film Correspondent recommends

Silence, The Smalls Film Festival Apac 2017, and more

Andrew Garfield, with Tadanobu Asano in Silence.
Andrew Garfield, with Tadanobu Asano in Silence.PHOTOS: GOLDEN VILLAGE PICTURES, SHAW ORGANISATION, SINGAPORE FILM SOCIETY, SWEDISH FILM FESTIVAL 2017

SILENCE (NC16)

161 minutes/ 4 stars

Director Martin Scorsese tackles writer Shusaku Endo's acclaimed 1966 novel of the same name covering the persecution of Christians in 17th-century Japan.

From the stronghold of Macau, two Jesuits, Garupe (Adam Driver) and Rodrigues (Andrew Garfield, with Tadanobu Asano) volunteer to infiltrate the country to rescue their mentor Father Ferreira (Liam Neeson) and aid the kakure kirishitan, or hidden Christians.

This is a film of dirt and flesh - the camera takes a calm, unflinching view of the most horrible forms of torture. Scorsese takes the side of the victims, then their captors, who speak in such elegant, humanistic terms they make the priests and their followers look like fanatics.


THE SMALLS FILM FESTIVAL APAC 2017

This marks the launch of the Singapore edition of this British festival, which began in 2006.

Supported by the Singapore Film Society, it aims to showcase the best in talent from around the world. Seven short films from Singapore, Mongolia, the United Kingdom and the United States are in the programme.

In The Drum (PG, 26 minutes), from Singapore-based director Ler Jiyuan, a crisis-stricken elderly man, Kang (Wang Yuqing, photo), finds solace in a pair of Indian drums. Ler recently made a feature-length telemovie based on the writer Dave Chua's 1997 novel Gone Case.

From the US comes Night Stalker (PG, 11 minutes), an animation piece in which a couple drop into an alternate dimension after eating bad takeaway food.

WHERE: The Projector, Level 5 Golden Mile Tower, 6001 Beach Road MRT: Nicoll Highway WHEN: Tomorrow, 7.30pm ADMISSION: $8 INFO: For bookings, see thesmalls.peatix.com


THE FOUNDER (PG13)

116 minutes/ 3.5 stars

The film opens with the 50something Ray Kroc (Michael Keaton, right centre) speaking to the camera, persuading - or rather, pleading with you - to trust him. He is selling blenders, but as all salesmen know, he needs to sell himself first.

The problem is, he no longer believes in his own patter, and his order books are blank.

The story of the man who took a burger shop owned by two efficiency nerds in San Bernadino and turned it into a global enterprise is told as a bitter fairy tale, sometimes as black comedy.


SWEDISH FILM FESTIVAL 2017

Now in its second year, the festival will feature the surreal and episodic Songs From The Second Floor (M18, 98 minutes, 2000). This work and others from acclaimed film-maker Roy Andersson will be the focus.

Also screening is the heartwarming documentary Nice People (PG13, 96 minutes, photo), which tracks Somali immigrants who put on ice skates for the first time in their lives, with the aim of competing in the sport of bandy, a form of ice hockey.

WHERE: The ProjectorMRT: Nicoll Highway WHEN: Feb 16 - 19, various timings ADMISSION: $13.50 INFO: For bookings, go to theprojector.sg

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 10, 2017, with the headline 'Film Picks'. Print Edition | Subscribe