John Lui Film Correspondent recommends

Moonlight, Brimstone, European Union Film Festival

Alex R. Hibbert as a boy (with Mahershala Ali) in Moonlight.
Alex R. Hibbert as a boy (with Mahershala Ali) in Moonlight.PHOTOS: EUROPEAN UNION FILM FESTIVAL, SHAW ORGANISATION, THE PROJECTOR, UIP

MOONLIGHT (M18)

111 minutes/ 4 stars

In this poetic and gorgeously filmed coming-of-age story and winner of this year's Best Picture Oscar, three actors - Alex R. Hibbert as a boy (with Mahershala Ali), Ashton Sanders as a teen and Trevante Rhodes as an adult - play Chiron, a boy growing up in Miami under the care of struggling single mother Paula (Naomie Harris).

Chiron's life is pretence: Pretending to be attracted to girls and to sports, all the while suppressing any tenderness inside him so as to act like a "real man".

Writer-director Barry Jenkins puts the audience inside Chiron's state of discomfort through the use of silence and the close-up, inspired by the cinema techniques of Hong Kong's Wong Kar Wai.


THE RED TURTLE (PG)

The story of a castaway is told through the lens of magical realism, and illustrated by mostly hand-drawn animation. Wordless, dream-like and minimalist, this film from London-based Dutch animator Michael Dudok De Witt was in the running for a Best Animated Feature Oscar, but was beaten by Zootopia.

It premiered here at an animation festival, but is now back for a regular run at The Projector.

WHERE: The Projector, Level 5 Golden Mile Tower, 6001 Beach Road MRT: Nicoll Highway WHEN: From today, various times. The screening on Thursday at 8pm includes a Skype Q&A session with director De Witt ADMISSION: $13.50


EUROPEAN UNION FILM FESTIVAL

The Finnish sports comedy The Happiest Day In The Life Of Olli Maki (M18, 92 minutes, 2014) tells the true story of Olli Maki (above), a boxer with a shot at the world title in 1962 - if he can keep from being distracted by a budding romance. The film has won warm reviews as well as a prize in the Un Certain Regard section at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival.

WHERE: National Gallery Singapore, 1 St Andrew's Road MRT: City Hall WHEN: May 11 to 21 ADMISSION: $12 INFO: For schedule and bookings, go to www.sistic.com.sg/events/ceuff0517


BRIMSTONE (R21)

149 minutes/ 4 stars

There are Italian westerns, Australian westerns and even Korean westerns. Writer-director Martin Koolhoven from the Netherlands thinks it is time we had a Dutch western. Tonally, it means very bloody deaths, operatic themes of sin and punishment, all with a tinge of the supernatural. Liz (Dakota Fanning, above) is a young mother on farm, just like any other, until the Reverend (Guy Pearce) comes to town. And in the manner of the thunderous Old Testament warnings, the preacher rains down on his flock and terrible Biblical punishments befall Liz.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 28, 2017, with the headline 'Film Picks'. Print Edition | Subscribe