Film Picks: Penguins Of Madagascar, The French Minister, Keppel Latin American Film Festival

A cinema still from The Life Of Fish, which will play at the Keppel Latin American Film Festival 2014. -- PHOTO: YOUTUBE
A cinema still from The Life Of Fish, which will play at the Keppel Latin American Film Festival 2014. -- PHOTO: YOUTUBE


This year's edition features 10 films from 10 Latin American countries, including Chilean director Matias Bize's The Life Of Fish (2010, PG13, 84 minutes), about a writer who returns to his hometown, and Uruguay's The Pope's Toilet (2007, PG13, 90 minutes), about a man who cashes in on Pope John Paul II's visit to his tiny town by opening a toilet for tourists.

Where: The Cathay, 2 Handy Road MRT: Dhoby Ghaut When: Till Sun, various timings Admission: Free, ticket distribution starts 30 minutes before each screening at the venue. Go to

Yip Wai Yee

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Young speech-writer Arthur (Raphael Personnaz) goes to work for the charismatic foreign minister Alexandre (Thierry Lhermitte). The result is the political comedy The French Minister (Quai d'Orsay, 2013, PG13, 94 minutes) directed by the acclaimed Bernard Tavernier (Life And Nothing But, 1989). The satire is one of the highlights of this year's festival, which will screen 16 films and one documentary across three venues.

Other high points include the drama Clouds Of Sils Maria (2014, 124 minutes, rating to be advised), starring Juliette Binoche, who will attend the premiere of the film on Dec 5. This festival will be run in conjunction with the Singapore International Film Festival.

Where: The Cathay, Shaw Lido, Alliance Francaise de Singapour MRT: Dhoby Ghaut/Orchard/Newton When: Today - Dec 7, various timings Admission: $13 (The Cathay) & $12 (other locations) Info:

John Lui

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The true story of hearing-impaired Mexicans and Guatemalans conned by a criminal syndicate, trafficked into New York and enslaved as beggars is dramatised in The Voice Of The Voiceless

(La Voz De Los Silenciados, 2013, 85 minutes, above). The drama-thriller is largely seen through the eyes of Olga (Janeva Calderon), a young rural woman tricked into slavery. Driven by a suspense narrative, American writer-director Maximon Monihan creates a world that is immersive and slightly surreal.

Where: Various locations including Sands Theatre, Marina Bay Sands; The Salon, National Museum of Singapore; Shaw Theatres Lido; The Screening Room, The Arts House; & The Projector, Golden 2 at Golden Mile Tower, Beach Road MRT: Various When: Thu - Dec 14, various timings Admission: $25 (opening & closing films), $15 (special presentation films) & $12 (others) from Sistic (go to or call 6348-5555)


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92 minutes


Who knew oh-so-cute penguins could get up to so much trouble? Here, four of them - scene- stealers of the Madagascar movies - dance up a storm of irresistible energy and physics-defying antics as they battle an octopus with a grudge against them. Against herd instinct, three penguins, Skipper, Kowalski and Rico, inadvertently break away from their colony to save an egg, out of which hatches the baby penguin Private. The four of them become a de facto family and, later, secret agents who have to battle a diabolical octopus, Dr Octavius Brine (voiced by John Malkovich).

Dr Brine hates penguins because the likes of Skipper, Kowalski, Rico and Private are so cute they have ousted him at every marine world tourist attraction he has been sent to and stolen the affection of the public that he feels rightfully belongs to him.

That is all the backstory directors Eric Darnell and Simon J. Smith need before launching into an international adventure that unravels at a breakneck pace.

It is like the Oscar-winning animator Chuck Jones' Road Runner and Wile E. Coyote cartoons for Warner Bros - momentum, visual inventiveness and pure kinetic exuberance provide their own hilarious, absurdist rewards.

Andy Chen

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