Monday, April 17, 2006

SIFF 2006: Singapore Shorts - my list

hi everyone

im back. for my report for the first quarter of 2006, I think i'll write about short films.


after 3 days of back to back SIFF shorts, after watching all the finalists, and as much of the non-finalists as I could, here's my 2 cents recommend list for 2006. as usual, the best shorts are not always in the official finalist list. these are, for various reasons, the short films that needs to be seen, by a bigger audience

you can get the full list here (pdf)
and this is the list of the finalists

Blinded - Brian L Tan
my favourite short. i've waited 10 years for someone to come up with all out action shoot em up short film, and its finally here. you want guns? you want them blazing? you want a swat sharpshooter? well, here's a whole tac team. they storm an abandoned warehouse (but of cos) and each one is downed like "lambs to a slaughter" (but of cos). brian l tan and his team must have sat down in a kopi tiam somewhere and collectively thought, now what would joel schumacher do to make this short film better?
more guns. more explosions. more smoke grenades. multiple camera units. action dialogue that's lifted straight from Counterstrike the game, eg "man down, man down". cheesy dialogue to supplement a plot that makes no logical sense. and everytime it starts to drag, there's blood. and more blood. lots and lots and lots of fake blood. absolutely brilliant lo budget effort.

Peter Ho - Yee Chang Kang
Peter Ho crackles with energy. despite its ending, I believe this is a love story dedicated to singapore. everytime we get to a scene in the tour agency, every time peter drags a bunch of tourists on a "Uniquely Singapore" tour, there is palpable energy on screen. the art direction is brilliant. I love the little touches on screen. ah neh's sagging name tag. the indonesian uncle's all batik shirt. the cowboy shaking the durian that's way too small for $5 a piece. the courier guy's ever present motorcycle helmet. the biggest jackfruit i've ever seen. the girl from katong who's off to milan for the fashion week. and the tour agency office set is a sight to behold.
but more work is needed in the pacing. the scenes of peter alone is unneccesarily draggy (do we really need to see peter's bare ass in the shower?), but that can be worked on with better editing. a worthy followup to last year's equally exuberant Da Bao (Big Bun)

untitled - Kan Lume, Loo Zihan
an unhurried short that packs a punch. that's fast becoming a kan lume trademark.

Rahim - Murni Mastan
its got so many things going against it. its in bahasa. its has an elleptical narrative. its got cheesy scenes of malay guys in drag throwing come hither looks to caucasian guys in muscle t shirts. and it is a full 20 mins long. but somehow murni mastan pulled it off. rahim is compact, lean with a powerful ending.

Dollhouse - Teo Eng Tiong
Aik Khoon - Chen Bang Jun
Di - Michael Kam

3 delightful feel good shorts. these will travel well.

Heave - Gek Li San
there was another multi threaded short in the finalist selection. while the other was unneccesarily angsty, Heave kept it tight and pulled it off. good concept, well executed.

Pontianak - Raihan Harun
another audience favourite. gene sharuddin absolutely chews scenery the moment he appears on screen. when the pontianak genre is done right, it can be a cracker.

Tee Please - Kelly Lim
lovely simple animated work. a joy to watch and (I believe) a joy to create.

Stuff I missed, would have loved to see:
Short - Tan Siang Yu
Girl in the Chute - Dave Chua
Zahari's 17 Years (l), Zahari's 17 Years (ll) - Martyn See