As cinemas open up this week, it may be time to enjoy the movies again! However, if you’re not impressed by the offerings currently, why not consider films made by Singaporeans? Here are some noteworthy Singapore-made movies that have made waves at prestigious film festivals around the world, many of them chronicling the many aspects of life in Singapore and its multifaceted population.
Wet Season (2019)
Wet Season is a story that tells the life of Ling, a Mandarin-language schoolteacher who deals with infertility and a husband who grows distant while she has to care for her infirm father-in-law. She finds herself slowly drawn towards a promising student who seems to have been abandoned by his parents, and a dangerous relationship grows – will she survive her marriage, and what will come of her student-teacher relationship?
A Land Imagined (2019)
This film noir production tells the story of Lok, a weary police investigator who is investigating the disappearance of Wang, a Chinese migrant worker working at a land reclamation site. The investigation leads him to the disappearance of another worker – Ajit, a Bengali national who was on good terms with the missing worker. As Lok retraces their steps, he uncovers the dirty secret behind the employers of migrant workers in Singapore.
Ramen Teh (2018)
After the death of his father, Masato, a young ramen chef from Japan, comes to Singapore to find his birth mother. Hoping to piece together the story of his life with just a notebook left by his father, he meets a food blogger and his maternal uncle. He also finds his grandmother, Madam Lee, who holds the key to his parents’ turbulent love story – together, they find salvation in the kitchen where the meals they cook become more than just sustenance.
A Yellow Bird (2016)
Siva, a Singaporean ex-con, has a hard time adjusting to life outside prison after his release. Unable to find forgiveness from his mother for contraband smuggling, he embarks on a journey to find his ex-wife and daughter, and along the way finds himself confronting various women, including an illegal Chinese prostitute who makes him confront the unbearable truth about his family. How far will he go to find redemption?
Aiman, a young correctional officer, is recently transferred to a top prison where he meets Rahim, a 65-year old veteran sergeant who is a long-serving chief executioner of the prison. The two form a close bond, and through a twist of fate, Aiman becomes Rahim’s apprentice just as Aiman discovers that his father was executed by Rahim. Will he overcome his conscience to take over as the next chief executioner?
In The Room (2015)
Spread over several decades, the film is a compilation of six stories featuring six different Japanese, British, and Chinese couples who spend the night in Room 27 of the once-glamorous Singapura Hotel. The story begins just after the surrender of the British to Japanese troops in 1942, and chronicles all facets of the human condition: love, joy, fear, cruelty, depravity, and redemption. With sex as the theme, it’s Singapore’s first erotic film.
Ilo Ilo (2013)
Set in Singapore during the 1997 Asian financial crisis, Ilo Ilo tells the tale of a 9-year old brattish boy, Jiale, who forms an unlikely bond with a new Filipino domestic helper, Teresa, who was hired by his stressed-out parents. As an outsider, Teresa struggles to find her footing with the family and managing Jiale’s antics at first, but as she becomes an unspoken part of the family, unforeseen circumstances in the economy will challenge the status quo.