Film picks: Mexican Film Festival, The Eight Hundred, #Alive

In #Alive, Yoo Ah-in must play a real-life version of a game in which the player explores surroundings while picking up makeshift weapons, tools and food.
In #Alive, Yoo Ah-in must play a real-life version of a game in which the player explores surroundings while picking up makeshift weapons, tools and food.PHOTO: NETFLIX
This Is Not Berlin is among the five films that will be screened at this year's Mexican Film Festival.
This Is Not Berlin is among the five films that will be screened at this year's Mexican Film Festival.PHOTO: THE PROJECTOR/WALTER NAVARRO

MEXICAN FILM FESTIVAL SINGAPORE 2020

Inspired by film-maker Hari Sama's life, the drama This Is Not Berlin (2019, R21, 115 minutes, screening at The Projector from Sept 17) is among the five films that will be screened at this year's Mexican Film Festival.

Carlos (Xabiani Ponce de Leon) is a teenage misfit, unable to find a group willing to accept him for who he is. That is, until he finds a club that not only accepts but celebrates aspects of himself that he cannot display in public.

The film was selected for the 2019 Sundance Film Festival, where it was nominated in the World Cinema - Dramatic section.

WHERE: The Projector, #05-00 Golden Mile Tower,6001 Beach Road; streaming at The Projector Plus

WHEN: Sept 17 to Oct 4

ADMISSION: $13.50

INFO: theprojector.sg

#ALIVE (M18)

98 minutes/Netflix/4 stars

This zombie apocalypse flick is a uniquely Korean version of the survivor format. We have seen Americans making forts of supermarkets, malls and Mexican bars to fend off monsters. Often, guns - usually, many guns - are involved.


This zombie apocalypse flick is a uniquely Korean version of the survivor format. PHOTO: NETFLIX

But in this near-perfect blend of satire of survival drama, Joon-woo (Yoo Ah-in from 2018's acclaimed mystery drama Burning), a lonely and petrified video-game addict trapped in his apartment, must play a real-life version of the game in which a player explores the surroundings while picking up makeshift weapons, tools and food. Unless he takes risks, he will die of starvation or thirst.

Who knew that zombie films could be as inventive and nerve-racking as this, despite there not being a dozen characters with backstories to care about?

THE EIGHT HUNDRED (NC16)

149 minutes/now showing/3.5 stars

The lesson from Western war movies - show the patriotism, don't just talk about - has not been lost on the makers of this drama re-enacting a pivotal moment in Chinese history.


The Eight Hundred serves as a big-budget corrective to myths about war generated by Western cinema. PHOTO: SHAW ORGANISATION

Near the end of 1937, Chinese military leaders decided to make a stand at the Sihang Warehouse in Shanghai, following months of humiliating retreats forced on them by the better-trained and better-armed Imperial Japanese Army.

This action-oriented ensemble piece, featuring powerful performances from actors like Wang Qianyuan and Jiang Wu, who play country folk asking if they are suckers for sticking around to fight when others have fled.

It serves as a big-budget corrective to myths about war generated by Western cinema, such as the idea that Asians stood by as Westerners fought their battles.

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