Film Picks: The Green Knight, One Second, The Silence Of The Lambs

A still from the movie The Green Knight starring Dev Patel. PHOTO: SHAW ORGANISATION

The Green Knight (M18)

130 minutes, now showing, 4 stars

In the hands of film-maker David Lowery, this adaptation of the 14th-century poem Sir Gawain And The Green Knight is a dream-like journey - hypnotically beautiful, but also tinged with horror.

During a Christmas feast, King Arthur and his court are interrupted by The Green Knight, a ghastly figure who issues a challenge. The bravest among them must "with honour" try to land a blow against him. The following Christmas, the same man must seek out the Knight, then submit to having the blow returned.

Arthur's nephew, the reckless, pleasure-loving Sir Gawain (Dev Patel), a young man eager to prove his worth, takes up the offer. It does not go as expected and, with a heavy heart, he sees that in a year's time, he has to keep his promise.

Patel delivers a striking performance as Gawain, a naive mama's boy who in this weird and wonderful tale happens to be an immensely likeable and relatable protagonist.

One Second (PG13)

104 minutes, now showing, 4 stars

The film starring Zhang Yi (left) and Liu Haocun opens in the 1960s or perhaps the early 1970s. PHOTO: GOLDEN VILLAGE

Directed and co-written by Zhang Yimou, the legendary creator of sagas celebrating the sturdiness of the common people (Red Sorghum, 1987; To Live, 1994), this drama was withdrawn at the last minute from the 2019 Berlin Film Festival.

It is not known if cuts were subsequently made to make this work more acceptable to Chinese censors, but the version this reviewer saw is coherent structurally and, most importantly, thematically.

Viewers will still get the sense that a fugitive played by Zhang Yi and an orphan (Liu Haocun) are two persons at the bottom of the heap looking for scraps, doing their best to not get squashed by the powerful.

The film opens in the 1960s or perhaps the early 1970s, in the era before the arrival of television in rural China. The fugitive is skulking around villages somewhere in an arid region, eyeing the motorbike ferrying projector reels from town to town.

He runs into another outcast, the orphan and a projectionist, Mr Movie (Fan Wei), a man worshipped by villagers because he operates their primary source of entertainment - the cinema.

Co-written by playwright and poet Zou Jingzhi (the Wong Kar Wai martial arts film The Grandmaster, 2013), this tearjerker is, as one would expect, an ode to films and an embrace of humanity.

What stands out, however, is the craft. The elegant, sensitive photography, writing, acting and soundtrack come together to make this simple desert tale come alive.

The Silence Of The Lambs (PG, 1991)

118 minutes

A still from The Silence Of The Lambs starring Jodie Foster. PHOTO: PARK CIRCUS/METRO-GOLDWYN-MAYER STUDIOS INC

Back in cinemas in time for its 30th anniversary, this portrait of a young agent (Jodie Foster) who teams up with a serial killer (Anthony Hopkins) to catch another mass murderer made history when it became the first - and so far only - horror movie to win a Best Picture Oscar.

It is also astonishing to note that it achieved its scares with only a PG rating, due largely to an indelible performance by Welsh actor Hopkins as the caged predator Hannibal Lecter. He and Foster also scooped the best acting awards at the Oscars.

This screening is presented by the Singapore Film Society, Golden Village and film distributor Park Circus.

Where: GV VivoCity, 02-30 VivoCity, 1 HarbourFront Walk
MRT: HarbourFront
When: Saturday (Sept 25), 7 pm
Info: Golden Village's website

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.