Film picks: The Battleship Island, Israel Film Festival, Tokyo Ghoul, Malaysian Film Festival

The Battleship Island
The Battleship IslandPHOTO: CLOVER FILMS
The Women's Balcony
The Women's BalconyPHOTO: 25TH ISRAEL FILM FESTIVAL
Tokyo Ghoul
Tokyo GhoulPHOTO: ENCORE FILMS
Adiwiraku
AdiwirakuPHOTO: INAUGURAL MALAYSIAN FILM FESTIVAL IN SINGAPORE

Boon Chan Media Correspondent and John Lui Film Correspondent recommend

THE BATTLESHIP ISLAND (NC16)

133 minutes/3.5 stars

During World War II, South Korean workers and sex slaves were forcibly held at the Japanese island of Hashima to support a brutal mining operation.

Bandmaster Lee Kang Ok (Hwang Jung Min) and his young daughter So Hee (Kim Su An), as well as notorious gangster Choi Chil Sung (So Ji Sub), are among those shipped off to it.

Park Moo Young (Song Joong Ki) infiltrates the island to rescue a fellow independence fighter, but eventually tries to help about 400 Koreans escape.

While the escape is fictional, the island exists and was inscribed as a Unesco World Heritage site in 2015.

At the end of the film, a coda notes that Japan has yet to acknowledge the events that took place there, a sombre reminder that the shadows and scars of war linger on today.

Boon Chan


25TH ISRAEL FILM FESTIVAL: THE WOMEN'S BALCONY (PG)

In this 2016 drama-comedy, a close-knit community is shattered when the women's balcony - a part of the synagogue reserved for women - collapses. A charismatic young rabbi takes over, but his stricter, more male-centric teachings do not go down well with the women. This film was a hit in Israel and nominated in five categories for the Israeli Film Academy awards.

WHERE: The Projector, Level 5 Golden Mile Tower, 6001 Beach Road WHEN: Sept 3, 5pm ADMISSION: $13.50 INFO: theprojector.sg

John Lui


TOKYO GHOUL (NC16)

120 minutes/ 3.5 stars

Ghouls, indistinguishable from regular folk, roam Tokyo and feed on human flesh.

Kaneki (Masataka Kubota, with Hiyori Sakurada) undergoes surgery after an attack and finds himself turning into a half-human, half-ghoul hybrid whose loyalties are torn between the two worlds.

Ghouls are monsters who must be exterminated at all cost. Or are they? It is a measure of how balanced the storytelling is that you do not know whom to root for when the humans battle the ghouls.

Boon Chan


MALAYSIAN FILM FESTIVAL IN SINGAPORE: ADIWIRAKU (PG)

An English teacher in a rural school in Kedah is unhappy to find that her students are falling behind in national standards. She organises a choral-speaking competition, but will she be able to find anyone to do the job? Based on the true story of teacher Cheryl Ann Fernando, this 2017 drama opens the inaugural Malaysian Film Festival In Singapore (from Thursday to Sept 3).

WHERE: The Arts House, 1 Old Parliament Lane WHEN: Thu, 2pm; Sept 2 & 3, 4pm ADMISSION: $13, $10 (concession) INFO: mffsg.peatix.com

John Lui

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 25, 2017, with the headline 'Film Picks'. Print Edition | Subscribe