John Lui Film Correspondent recommends

Film Picks: Singapore International Festival of Arts: Singular Screens, Have A Nice Day, and more

The Widowed Witch
The Widowed WitchPHOTO: SINGAPORE INTERNATIONAL FESTIVAL OF THE ARTS
Have A Nice Day
Have A Nice DayPHOTO: ANTICIPATE PICTURES
Fly Away Home
Fly Away HomePHOTO: KGP KRANZELBINDER GABRIELE PRODUCTION
A Quiet Place
A Quiet PlacePHOTO: UIP

SINGAPORE INTERNATIONAL FESTIVAL OF ARTS: SINGULAR SCREENS

In The Widowed Witch (NC16, 2018, China), Wang Erhao, a homeless woman, pretends to be a shaman in the hope that a village will offer her a place to live.

To everyone's surprise, especially hers, she finds she does have real powers. How long can she pull off her bluff, in a place where everything has a price?

For this directorial debut, Cai Chengjie won top prize at the Rotterdam Film Festival.

This film is among the selections in this annual event, which showcases the best and boldest new voices from around the world.

WHERE: Screening Room, The Arts House, 1 Old Parliament Lane MRT: City Hall/Clarke Quay WHEN: April 28 to May 11, various times ADMISSION: $9 a film, $24 for three films. Go to sifa.sg/programmes/singular-screens


HAVE A NICE DAY (PG13)

75 minutes/4 stars

A bag containing one million yuan (S$204,000) is at the centre of a web of murder and deceit, involving a wannabe gangster, his boss, a pork seller-turned-assassin and a motley crew of small-time business people with big dreams.

In this bleakly comic work, winner of the Best Animated Feature prize at last year's Golden Horse Awards, Nanjing-based animator and director Liu Jian depicts a city without pity, shown not just in the things the characters do and say, but also in how it looks: The backdrop is a wasteland, a dystopia reeking of neglect, a place left behind by China's economic miracle.

WHERE: The Arts House, 1 Old Parliament Lane MRT: City Hall WHEN: Till Sunday, various times ADMISSION: $13.50 INFO: For schedule and bookings, go to haveaniceday.peatix.com


EUROPEAN UNION FILM FESTIVAL

For its 28th edition, the European Union Film Festival opens with Fly Away Home (PG13, 109 minutes, 2016, Austria).

Based on a book by acclaimed children's author Christine Nostlinger, this drama is set in 1945. The victorious Russians have moved into Austria and the family of nine-year-old Christine has to adapt to living with foreign occupiers in the home. Stars Konstantin Khabensky.

WHERE: National Gallery Singapore, 1 St Andrew's Road MRT: City Hall WHEN: May 10 to 20, various times ADMISSION: $12 from Sistic (call 6348-5555 or go to www.sistic.com.sg) INFO: For schedules, go to www.euff.sg


A QUIET PLACE (PG13)

90 minutes/ 3.5 stars

In this thriller about an Earth overrun by bear-sized bugs that hunt using sound, director, co-writer and co-star John Krasinski dispenses with the gimmick blighting the modern monster movie: Kill one character every 15 minutes.

Within 15 minutes of opening, a terrible event happens, proving that no character is safe. In so doing, he gives this character-driven work about an isolated family its power to send chills down the spine. It also stars Emily Blunt.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 13, 2018, with the headline 'Film Picks'. Print Edition | Subscribe