Film Picks: Singapore Film Society showcase, Yuni, King Richard

Stills from the psychological drama Nitram starring Caleb Landry Jones. PHOTO: WILD BUNCH

SFS showcase no. 4: Nitram

This screening of psychological drama Nitram (NC16, 2021, 112 minutes) is part of the Singapore Film Society's (SFS) monthly Showcase programme.

At the 2021 Cannes Film Festival, the film earned a Palme d'Or nomination and picked up a Best Actor award (for American actor Caleb Landry Jones).

It puts the spotlight on Nitram (Jones), a young man with behavioural issues living with his parents in an Australian suburb. Directed by Justin Kurzel (crime drama Snowtown, 2011; Shakespeare adaptation Macbeth, 2015), the story is loosely based on events preceding the April 1996 mass shooting in Port Arthur, Tasmania, which killed 35 people.

Where: The Projector, Level 5 Golden Mile Tower, 6001 Beach Road
MRT: Nicoll Highway
When: Jan 29, 1.30pm
Admission: $15, with discounts for SFS members
Info: Singapore Film Society's website

King Richard (PG13)

Will Smith in King Richard. PHOTO: WARNEO BROS SINGAPORE

144 minutes, now showing, 4 stars

Richard Williams, father of tennis champions Venus and Serena, achieved the American Dream - and in so doing, embodies everything uplifting and depressing about it.

In this biopic, he is portrayed by Will Smith, an actor who specialises in making cockiness charismatic - see the Muhammad Ali biopic Ali (2001). Williams' bellicose energy - through the magic of Smith's interpretation - segues into a salesman's jocular persistence when he has to persuade coaches and agents to put their faith in his as-yet-untested daughters.

Credit goes to director Reinaldo Marcus Green and screenwriter Zach Baylin for resisting the urge to give Williams a modern makeover. He is an old-school authoritarian who shows love by letting his children buy sweets.

Structured as a sports underdog story that begins with the family living in the crime-riddled neighbourhood of Compton, California, it shows Williams and his wife Brandy (Aunjanue Ellis) going to extraordinary lengths to keep their five children productively occupied and safe from gang violence.

Venus (Saniyya Sidney) and Serena (Demi Singleton) possess the raw talent that will make true his dream of being the father of champions - a dream he has held since he discovered the kind of prize money on offer at major tournaments.

Yuni (NC16, 2021)

Yuni examines the social pressures on Indonesian women when marriage proposals are offered at a young age. PHOTO: THE PROJECTOR

95 minutes, opens on Feb 3 at The Projector

Yuni (Arawinda Kirana), a 16-year-old Indonesian student, faces a dilemma: Should she take up an offer of marriage or fulfil her other dream of going to university?

The film examines the social pressures on Indonesian women when marriage proposals are offered at a time when they are too young to decide if they are ready to close off other life options.

The film was nominated for the Silver Screen Awards at the Singapore International Film Festival in 2021. Jakarta-based director Kamila Andini also got a nod in the Achievement in Directing category at the Asia Pacific Screen Awards.

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