Film picks: Saint Maud, Hong Kong Film Festival, Middle East Film Festival

Film still from Saint Maud starring Morfydd Clark. PHOTO: THE PROJECTOR

Saint Maud (M18)

85 minutes, now showing at The Projector, 4 stars

In this scarily beautiful work of psychological horror by first-time feature director Rose Glass, palliative care nurse Katie (Welsh actress Morfydd Clark, giving a phenomenal performance) has a traumatic experience at work, which alters her profoundly.

She changes her name to the old-fashioned Maud and becomes deeply religious, believing that God speaks to her directly.

After she becomes a carer for the terminally-ill American Amanda (Jennifer Ehle), Maud tries to convert her cynical, pleasure-loving patient to her brand of evangelical worship, with its ecstatic trances and divine visions. It does not go well.

British writer-director Glass's confident visual language is rooted in small-town England. In a joyless seaside spot covered in damp stone and deep shadows, Maud is beset by unbelievers she believes have been sent to test her faith.

Hong Kong Film Festival

Film still from Lion Rock. PHOTO: SINGAPORE FILM SOCIETY

Presented by the Singapore Film Society (SFS) and the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office in Singapore, this hybrid online-physical cinema event features 11 features and short films in original Cantonese dialogue, with the physical screenings followed by Zoom Q&As with film-makers.

The opening film, Lion Rock (PG, 2019, 96 minutes, screens March 12, 7.30 pm ) tells the story of rock climber Ki Tai-Wai (Alex Lam), who after a traffic accident becomes paraplegic. He finds a way to climb again, with the help of friends and family. It is based on the true story of climber Lai Chi-Wai.

Where: Cinema screenings at Golden Village Suntec City, virtual screenings at Shaw KinoLounge

When: March 12 to 14

Admission: Cinema screenings: $13 at any Golden Village box office and Golden Village's website.

Virtual screenings (tickets on sale from March 4): $9.99 per title or $34.99 for all titles at kinolounge.shaw.sg. Discounts for Singapore Film Society Friends and Fam members.

Info: Hong Kong Film Festival's Facebook page

Middle East Film Festival 2021

Film still from The Day After I'm Gone. PHOTO: LUXBOX

From Israel comes The Day After I'm Gone (2019, PG13, 95 minutes), a nominee for Best First Feature for director Nimrod Eldar at the 2019 Berlin International Film Festival, among other awards.

The family drama covers the period after Yoram (Menashe Noy), a veterinarian and single dad, discovers that his teenage daughter Roni (Zohar Meidan, pictured) has tried to kill herself. He suggests they take a road trip, hoping it will give parent and child time and space to process the event.

Writer-director Eldar will take a Zoom Q&A session on Sunday Feb 28 at 8pm. Check the film page on Kinolounge for details.

The film is among the six works in this streaming-only festival, organised by the Middle East Institute at the National University of Singapore and curated by the Singapore Film Society.

Where: Kinolounge's website

When: Till Wednesday (March 3)

Admission: $7.99 for each film, with a 48-hour viewing window. A bundle of any three films is $17.99; all six films, $29.99

Info: Kinolounge's website

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