Film Picks: The Martian, 7th Love & Pride Festival, Korean Film Festival, Perspectives Film Festival


142 minutes, 4/5 Stars

In this massively entertaining old-fashioned castaway adventure set 200 million km from Earth, Nasa astronaut Mark Watney (Matt Damon, above) is stranded on the Red Planet, a Crusoe with no communications and no hope of rescue until long after his supplies have run out.

What follows is an utterly fascinating and extremely nerdy thought experiment, first realised as free chapters on author Andy Weir's website before a Cinderella publishing deal turned it into a 2011 best-selling novel.

The what-if scenario presented to Watney sounds very much like a test Google sets for potential hires: What can you do with this many litres of water and rocket fuel, some vegetables, plastic pails, a tent and two rovers to survive four years on a planet with practically no atmosphere and minus 60 deg C nights?


The slate this year has a mix of premieres and older films. New releases include opening film Baby Steps (R21, 102 minutes), a comedy-drama about a Taiwanese-American man (Barney Cheng) who wants to have a surrogate baby with his partner.

The festival also sees second runs of acclaimed biopics such as Saint Laurent (R21, 151 minutes, above, starring Gaspard Ulliel) and The Imitation Game (NC16, 14 minutes).

WHERE: GV Suntec City and GV Grand at Great World City MRT: Esplanade/Orchard WHEN: Oct 9 to 18 ADMISSION: $35 for opening film, $18 for closing film Stonewall, $10 for others; bookings and schedules at


With the chess true-life drama Pawn Sacrifice in cinemas, the Asian equivalent might be The Divine Move (NC16, 117 minutes), a crime thriller set in the world of high-stakes baduk, a board game known in the West as Go.

The movie, starring veteran actor Jung Woo Sung, was a hit in South Korea. The festival will also give a second run of the acclaimed period drama Ode To My Father (PG13, 126 minutes, above)

WHERE: Shaw Theatres Lido MRT: Orchard WHEN: Oct 23 to Nov 1 ADMISSION: For tickets and schedules go to Ticket prices not available


This festival, now in its eighth year, continues its themes of personal and social liberation with its opening film, the Canadian drama Mommy (M18, 139 minutes, 2014), winner of the Jury Prize at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival.

In this French-language work, a single mother has her hands full when her troubled, violent son (Anne Dorval and Antoine- Olivier Pilon, both above) is expelled from state care.

British director Martin Rosen, director of the highly acclaimed feature Watership Down (PG, 1978), will hold an animation masterclass as well as a question-and-answer session after the screening.

WHERE: National Museum of Singapore MRT: Raffles Place WHEN: Oct 15 to 18 ADMISSION: $12 for single screenings, $48 for a festival pass to all seven films, $15 for animation masterclass; schedule at

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 02, 2015, with the headline 'Film Picks'. Subscribe