Arts Film

Preview: Singapore Chinese Film Festival 2021

Presented by the Singapore Film Society (SFS) and Centre for Chinese Studies@Singapore University of Social Sciences (CCS@SUSS), the Singapore Chinese Film Festival (SCFF) is back for its 9th edition this May, with 45 films, including a Special Classics segment, and two “live” online panel discussions.

With films chosen from across the region, this year’s edition will feature a mix of physical and digital screenings, with the former taking place across Filmgarde Bugis+, Golden Village, and Oldham Theatre, and Shaw KinoLounge for the online programme. This year’s festival will also feature 13 online in-cinema Q&A sessions with the filmmakers and actors, besides the two “live” online panel discussions with filmmakers.

This year’s opening film is Hand Rolled Cigarette, directed by first-time Hong Kong director Chan Kinlong. Making its Southeast Asian premiere at SCFF, the seven-Golden Horse Award-nominated crime thriller tells the story of an unexpected comradeship between a retired British Chinese soldier (Gordon Lam Ka-tung) and a young South Asian man after their fateful encounter at the infamous Chungking Mansions.

Also making its Southeast Asian premiere is festival closing film ANIMA. Directed by scriptwriter-turned-director Cao Jinling, the film is centred on two brothers living in 1980s China, where local lumberjacks in the north-west mountains struggled amidst the vast deforestation as a result of the government’s aggressive economic development plans. Set in the beautiful mountains of Inner Mongolia, the film gives audience members an opportunity to contemplate our relationship with Mother Earth.

Under the Chinese Panorama segment, films include the multiple award-winners All About ING, Wisdom Tooth and A Yang Pingdao Film, a number of Hong Kong and Taiwanese films, and Malaysian film The Story of Southern Islet, which won Best new Director at the 57th Golden Horse Awards and the FIPRESCI Prize.

Under the Documentary segment, look out for topical documentaries such as the 57th Golden Horse Award-winner for Best Documentary Lost Course (Hong Kong); and Taipei Film Awards 2020 Best Documentary-winner The Good Daughter (Taiwan). Check out biopics such as 33rd Golden Rooster Award-winner for Best
Documentary/Science Education Film Like the Dyer’s Hand (China), about
the works and life of eminent literature scholar Florence Chia-ying Yeh, and
Sounds of Taiwan (Taiwan)
, which traces the efforts of composer Bao Yuankai to create a symphony built on a collection of local sounds.

21 short films will be screened as part of the Chinese Shorts Showcase, including the 57th Golden Horse Award-winner for Best Live Action Short Film Night is Young (Hong Kong), and Cannes Lions Young Director Award 2020 winner Heading South (China). Other films include The Luggage (Taiwan), starring Golden Horse Award Best Actor Tzu-yi Mo, and the 13th Xie Jin Cup Academy Award Grand Prize of the Year The Lamb is Lost (China).

Finally, this edition also marks a new segment – Generation 1960’s, where the festival will be presenting the works of three Second New Wave Taiwanese directors who produced their first films in a time of limited funding, yet were committed to portraying authentic Taiwanese stories. The three films are Tropical Fish (1994) by Chen Yu-hsun; Mirror Image (2000) by Hsiao Ya-chuan; and
Let the Wind Carry Me (2010) by Chiang Hsiu-chiung. An online panel discussion
with the three veteran directors will be held on 9th May 2021.

Directors Cao Jinling (ANIMA), Chan Kin-long (Hand Rolled Cigarette), Lu Mian Mian (Mickey on the Road), and Jacky Yeap (Sometime, Sometime) will also be sharing their experiences as first time directors making debuts during the year of the coronavirus in an interactive online discussion.

The Singapore Chinese Film Festival runs from 30th April to 9th May 2021 across various locations. More information and tickets available here

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