John Lui Film Correspondent recommends

Film Picks: Middle East Film Festival, They Shall Not Grow Old, Girl and Suspiria

PHOTOS: ANTICIPATE PICTURES, MIDDLE EAST FILM FESTIVAL, WARNER BROS

MIDDLE EAST FILM FESTIVAL

Presented by the Middle East Institute at the National University of Singapore and supported by the Singapore Film Society (SFS), the festival features seven films from the region.

Highlights include the drama The Insult (2017, PG13), Lebanon's nominee for Best Foreign Language Film at the Oscars. In the heat of the moment, harsh words are exchanged between a Lebanese Christian and a Palestinian workman, which sets into motion a series of events that forces everyone to examine the divisions tearing society apart.

Other films include Turkey's The Wild Pear Tree (2018, PG13) and Palestine's Wajib (2017, NC16).

WHERE: GV VivoCity, 02-30 VivoCity , 1 Harbourfront Walk MRT: HarbourFront WHEN: Jan 10 to 16 ADMISSION: $13 (standard), $10 (concession for students, national servicemen, seniors aged 55 and above and SFS Film Addicts at the box office) INFO: Tickets are available at any GV box office or online at www.gv.com.sg

THEY SHALL NOT GROW OLD (PG13)

99 minutes

Last year marked the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I. Director Peter Jackson and his team took frontline footage of the period and processed it, adding colour and sound and filling in details the film technology of the time could not capture.

The result, given a voiceover by witnesses to the carnage, is the most striking reminder to date of the scale of the conflict, and the lives lost to it.

WHERE: The Projector, Level 5 Golden Mile Tower, 6001 Beach Road MRT: Nicoll Highway WHEN: Now showing, various times ADMISSION: $13.50 INFO: theprojector.sg

GIRL (R21)

106 minutes/4 stars

There has been opposition to this film from the trans community, who say it is a piece of voyeurism that cheapens their experience. That might well be the case, but there is much here that also deepens the understanding of the effort it takes to cross gender boundaries.

Lara (Victor Polster) is a 15-year-old Belgian who was born male, but is in the process of transitioning to female. She has begun living as a female in the months before the start of hormone treatments and sex-reassignment surgery. Her family and friends support her choices, but after she transfers to an elite ballet academy, the school's physical and psychological demands begin to take a toll. The film is based on a true story.

WHERE: The Projector, Level 5 Golden Mile Tower, 6001 Beach Road MRT: Nicoll Highway WHEN: Now showing, various times ADMISSION: $13.50 INFO: theprojector.sg

SUSPIRIA (R21)

152 minutes/Now showing at GV Paya Lebar/4.5 stars

Director Luca Guadagnino uses every trick known to modern film prosthetics to create a work that offers more than atmospheric chills. Bodies are punished in a manner rarely seen outside of the torture porn genre. Under its arthouse skin, this film has a heart of pure grindhouse.

Susie (Dakota Johnson), a naive American from a religious family, has come to West Berlin in 1977 to train at an elite modern dance academy and becomes a star pupil under the tutelage of Madame Blanc (Tilda Swinton). She is a witness to a few strange events, such as the disappearance of another student, Patricia (Chloe Grace Moretz), but her time is spent making new friends, such as with classmate Sara (Mia Goth).

Loosely based on the classic supernatural horror movie of the same name, directed by Dario Argento and released in 1977.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 04, 2019, with the headline 'Film Picks'. Print Edition | Subscribe