Film and TV Picks: New Life Begins, Infernal Affairs Trilogy and SGIFF

Tony Leung (left) and Andy Lau kicked off the Infernal Affairs trilogy in 2002. PHOTO: GOLDEN VILLAGE

Infernal Affairs Trilogy: 20th Anniversary Showcase

The iconic Hong Kong film series Infernal Affairs is celebrating its 20th anniversary. The first movie in the trilogy, about the cat-and-mouse game between undercover cop Wing-yan (Tony Leung Chiu-wai) posing as a triad member and Kin-ming (Andy Lau), a mole for the triad in the upper echelons of police leadership, was released on Dec 12, 2002. 

The second film stars Edison Chen and Shawn Yue as younger versions of Leung’s and Lau’s characters in the first movie, while the final film depicts Kin-ming’s struggle to hide his identity.  

To celebrate the trilogy, Golden Village is presenting the three films remastered in 4K and Dolby Atmos in the original Cantonese language. 

The first will screen on Dec 12, followed by Infernal Affairs II on Dec 13 and Infernal Affairs III on Dec 14. 

Where: Golden Village VivoCity, 02-30, 1 HarbourFront Walk
MRT: HarbourFront
When: Dec 12 to 14, 7.20pm
Admission: $20, with concessions for GV Movie Club members

New Life Begins

iQiyi International and Viu

4 stars

Bai Jingting and Tian Xiwei in New Life Begins, a Chinese period comedy set in the royal court. PHOTO: IQIYI

This period series set in a fictionalised ancient China, where the country is an alliance of nine states and Xinchuan is the most powerful, is an easy-to-watch, light-hearted comedy.

An appetite-whetting slice-of-life tale set in the royal court, it follows the journey of Li Wei (Tian Xiwei), a girl from an ordinary farming family in the rural state of Jichuan, who unexpectedly gets selected to be a concubine for Yin Zheng (Bai Jingting), the oft-neglected sixth prince of Xinchuan.

Though dramas of women in the royal court are often about catfights and underhanded schemes, New Life Begins subverts those stereotypes as Li Wei forms a strong sisterhood with the other concubines and royal wives of Xinchuan’s princes. Bonding over their status as foreign brides shipped to Xinchuan for marriage, they hold potlucks together, allowing for many scenes of delicious Chinese cuisine. 

Together, they confront the deep-seated patriarchal norms of Xinchuan society by starting their own business and advocating women to participate in public life. 

The romance between Li Wei and Yin Zheng, which blossoms gradually, is also fun to watch.

Singapore International Film Festival

Ahalya Shetty (left) and Ritvik Tyagi in The Cloud Messenger, a mythical coming-of-age love story. PHOTO: SINGAPORE INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL

Head out for the last weekend of the Singapore International Film Festival to catch a selection of Asian films. 

Making its Asian premiere is India’s The Cloud Messenger, a mythical coming-of-age love story (M18, 152 minutes, with two screenings on Saturday and Sunday) about a 16-year-old boy (Ritvik Tyagi) who attends boarding school in the Himalayan mountains and develops a deep attraction to a new student (Ahalya Shetty). A tragic incident reveals a predestined connection between the couple.

Or catch Archaeology Of Love (PG13, 162 minutes, screens Saturday at 11am), a South Korean film about the grief that follows in the aftermath of abuse, which will be making its international premiere. 

In the character-driven drama, archaeologists Young-sil (Ok Ja-yeon) and In-seek (Han Ki-yoon) fall for each other just eight hours after their first meeting. Swept away by bold declarations of love, Young-sil finds herself unable to move on even after their eventual break-up.

Where: Various locations including Filmgarde Kallang, Kallang Leisure Park, 5 Stadium Walk; and Golden Village Plaza, Plaza Singapura, 68 Orchard Road

MRT: Nicoll Highway/Dhoby Ghaut
When: Till Sunday, various timings
Admission: From $15, with concessions
Info: sgiff.com

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