Film Preview Singapore

Film Fanatic: Perspectives Film Festival 2021 – “What the __?!”

Now in its 14th edition, Singapore’s biggest student-led film festival, Perspectives Film Festival, is back this October. Taking on a hybrid format, a total of nine films will be presented at this year’s festival, themed around the intriguing statement ‘What The __?!’.

‘What The __?!’ is a wonderfully universal phrase. Whether uttered in hushed tones or shouted at the top of our lungs, the phrase conveys shock, surprise, or simply wonder. With that in mind, Perspectives 2021 will present cinema at its most daring and audacious, resisting categorisation, and dancing along the fine line of the comprehensible and the eccentric, revealing and reveling in the grimy underbelly of existence. More importantly, these headscratchers or puzzles of films inspire conversation, and certainly, forced to fill in the blanks.

Festival directors, Amira Yunos and Erwin Lim, shared that this year, programmers pushed the boundaries and challenged the status quo. “This year, our films explore the troubles, taboos, and anxieties of living in an ever-changing world. We have a loyal following with a big appetite for cinematic experiments, and we are proud to present films that will make them go ‘What The__?!’ ” they commented. “This edition’s theme invites the audience to form their own unique interpretations, and immerse themselves in the bizarre and daring worlds created in the films.”

Films being presented include several Singapore premieres, such as Shooting the Mafia (2019) and We’re All Going to the World’s Fair (2021). The nine films from our lineup cater to a diverse audience—from documentary lovers, to musical geeks, to movie fanatics.

The festival will also screen restored films from the 1970s and 1980s, such as the animated Belladonna of Sadness (1973) and lost Polish sci-fi gem, On the Silver Globe (1988), for a true blast to the past.

Perspectives Film Festival will close with a physical screening of 2021 Cannes opener Annette (2021), starring Marion Cotillard and Adam Driver. The musical romance directed by avant garde filmmaker Leos Carax features an original soundtrack by veteran art-pop duo Sparks. Contrary to the conventionally joyful nature of popular musicals, Annette carries a bizarre and eerie twist. The film starts off like any other romantic drama when Henry, a provocative stand-up comedian, falls in love with the world-famous soprano, Ann. However, things take on a dark turn in a dance between love and death, all while featuring explosive toe-tapping songs.

Strawberry Mansion (2021), another notable film in this year’s lineup, was named the Best Film by the Independent Visions Award at the Sundance Film Festival. This lighthearted indie film envisions a world where dreams are audited by an all-seeing surveillance state. The film follows James, who falls in love with the eccentric Arabella, whose dreams he has to tax. The film also employs an innovative editing technique, shot digitally and transferred to 16mm film in post-production, creating its signature blown-out light and grainy aesthetic.

Nikki Draper, the founding faculty and course coordinator, shared her experience of organising a hybrid festival: “It was a challenge because we usually screen a big range of films from all around the world—some that are old, some from small distributors who don’t have digital copies, and more. Despite that, we have a hybrid format where most films will be online with the exception of our closing film, Annette, This film fits the ‘What The __?!’ theme and complements the other great films available online.”

Each standard ticket for a film costs $7. Viewers can also purchase bundles of three films from the line up at SGD16. Upon purchase, films will be available for viewing strictly between 21st October 2021 at 0000h to 31st October 2021 at 2359h. Once the ‘Play’ button is clicked, the viewer has up to 48 hours to complete the film. Viewers are advised to complete watching the entirety of their purchased films before the end of the festival, as no refunds will be made for incomplete viewings.

The film Belladonna of Sadness will only be available to watch from 25th October at 0000h. The regular tickets for the physical screening of Annette will be priced at S15, while concession tickets are priced at S13.50. The screening will take place at The Projector, more details will be released early October.

Perspectives Film Festival 2021: What the __?! runs from 21st to 31st October 2021. Full programme and tickets available here

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