Film picks: Mexican Film Festival, Painting With Light, Elvis

A still from the movie Impossible Things. PHOTO: THE PROJECTOR/MEXICAN FILM FESTIVAL

Mexican Film Festival 2022

Presented by the Embassy Of Mexico in Singapore, with the support of The Projector, the eighth edition of this festival features films that cover all moods.

The drama Impossible Things (2021, NC16, 89 minutes, screens July 7, 8.30pm) takes place in a Mexico City apartment complex. There, ageing widow Matilde (Nora Velazquez) lives with the memory of years of abuse by her dead husband. She meets Miguel (Benny Emmanuel), a young drug dealer who is also damaged inside. Against the odds, they find common ground.

The film comes from Ernesto Contreras, whose romantic drama I Dream In Another Language (2017) won the Audience Award at the Sundance Film Festival.

The drama The Gazelle's Dance (2018, PG13, 90 minutes, screens July 9, 5.30pm) follows a former soccer star who has never won a championship. He sees his chance to redeem himself at a dance contest and rehearses rigorously with an instructor Daniel, a gay man in his 70s.

Or check out immigration family drama The Wolves (2019, NC16, 95 minutes, screens July 10, 8.30pm), which won the Grand Prix award at the Berlin International Film Festival. Lucia, a young Mexican mother, crosses the border into the United States with her young sons in search of a better life. Spending their days in an unfurnished apartment as their mother juggle multiple jobs, the boys wait for the day they can finally visit Disneyland.

Where: The Projector, Golden Mile Tower, 6001 Beach Road
MRT: Nicoll Highway
When: July 7 to 17, various timings
Admission: $15
Info: The Projector's website

Painting with light

Firestarter - The Story Of Bangarra documents the beginnings and growth of the Bangarra Dance Theatre. PHOTO: NATIONAL GALLERY SINGAPORE

This film festival presented by National Gallery Singapore returns for its fifth edition. The hybrid event features 60 films with a focus on works about art and artists, including institutions dedicated to art.

Showing this weekend is Firestarter - The Story Of Bangarra (2020, NC16, screens July 8 and 9, 7.30pm, at the Supreme Court Wing). The feature-length documentary is about the beginnings and growth of Bangarra Dance Theatre, a company of professional Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander performers.

It follows the three Aboriginal brothers who turned an amateur dance group into a successful First Nations company. The film is presented in tandem with an exhibition at the gallery - Ever Present: First Peoples Art Of Australia - which celebrates Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art while grappling with Australia's complex histories.

Where: Online and at National Gallery Singapore, 1 St Andrew's Road
MRT: City Hall
When: Until July 24
Admission: Some programmes are free, others start at $10, concessions are available
Info: National Gallery Singapore's event page

Elvis (PG13)

Cinema still from Elvis, starring Austin Butler. PHOTO: WARNER BROS

159 minutes, now showing, 4 stars

This sprawling biography of singer and actor Elvis Presley (Austin Butler) adds an extra dimension by taking in the point of view of his manager, the shrewd but shady Colonel Tom Parker (Tom Hanks).

It traces the arc of Presley's life, from his impoverished childhood in Tupelo, Mississippi, to his later years as a global phenomenon, ensconced in his Graceland mansion.

This movie assumes you do not care or know very much about the man who ruled pop music before the coming of The Beatles and the British Invasion, and who made a comeback when the counterculture was in full swing.

Australian film-maker Baz Luhrmann (Moulin Rouge!, 2001; and The Great Gatsby, 2013) treats Presley's life story as a superhero myth, a journey to be savoured on its own. The film is all surface and has no subtlety, but Luhrmann's worst surfaces are still wildly imaginative.

Presley's exhilarating rise is delivered with verve and emotion, but the story falters when it tries to weave in Parker's cosmic comeuppance.

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