The Singapore Chinese Film Festival (SCFF) is back. After last year's inaugural edition, the festival is back with an expanded number of offerings, serving up the best of Chinese cinema from China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Malaysia and Singapore.
Co-organized by the Singapore Film Society (SFS) and SIM University's Centre for Chinese Studies, the SCFF will run from the 17 to 27 April with screenings at venues, the National Museum of Singapore, The Arts House as well as The Cathay Cineplex and Cathay Orchard Cineleisure.
At the press conference held on Monday 31 March, at the National Museum for the unveiling of the festival’s line-up of films, SFS chairman Kenneth Tan lauded the work of two festival directors, associate professor Foo Tee Tuan and SFS vice-chair David Lee, referring to the expansion of the festival as “immense” and one that would have taken most festivals more editions to achieve.
Certainly, going from 10 feature length films to 30 this year, along with 11 short films, is a commendable feat.
The festival is split into four main categories: Chinese Panorama, Documentary Vision, Chinese Shorts Showcase and King Hu Wuxia Classics. King Hu came to fame making wuxia movies in the 1960s and he is recognized as one of the most influential and important Chinese directors in the history of cinema.
Highlights include Chinese director Jia Zhangke’s hit film ‘A Touch of Sin’, an anthology of four stories, Hong Kong director Kiwi Chow’s ‘A Complicated Story’, which looks at surrogacy and stars veteran singer Jackie Cheung, as well as the 1967 martial arts classic ‘Dragon Inn’.
In addition, SCFF has much more planned, in the form of panels and talks featuring experts and filmmakers.
Aerial photographer Chi Po Lin, local filmmaker Wee Li Lin, Chinese actor Shih Jun and other guests are part of the spectacular line up who will be speaking at talks and screenings at the festival.
With the help of the festival organizers, we've selected some highlights for you to consider viewing...
‘A Complicated Story’ (Hong Kong)
Kiwi Chow's movie about a surrogate pregnancy gone wrong also features the first acting performance from Jacky Cheung since 2010.
Date: 18 Apr | Venue: The Cathay
‘Hong Bao and Kisses’ (Singapore)
Singapore's lone representative at the festival is a film by Wee Li Lin made for Toggle. Starring Joshua Tan and Felicia Chin as a make believe couple, this flick has romance, comedy and lots of festivity (it's set in the Chinese New Year period) in spades.
Date: 20 Apr | Venue: The Cathay
‘Kara King’ (Malaysia)
After the runaway success of ‘Nasi Lemak 2.0’, Namewee's latest is a story about the rivalry of two karaoke kings and a decades long grudge. Starring long time Stephew Chow collaborator Ng Man Tat, the film also features the last performance from legendary, late singer Frankie “Frog Prince” Gao.
Date: 25, 26 Apr | Venue: Cathay Cineleisure Orchard
‘Song of The Phoenix’ (China)
The last film of Chinese fourth generation director Wu Tianming who passed away recently in March, it showcases the traditional Chinese art form of suona music as the film follows the trials and tribulations of a young suona apprentice.
Date: 20, 21 Apr | Venue: The Arts House
‘Beyond Beauty: Taiwan From Above’ (Taiwan)
The most successful documentary ever released in Taiwan, the movie is exactly what it sounds like, it captures all of Taiwan in its splendor with some stunning aerial photography from Chi Po Lin. See Taiwan as it is and take a peek into what is to come through the filmmakers' stunning vision.
Date: 25 Apr | Venue: The Cathay
‘Boundless’ (Hong Kong)/Past Present (Malaysia)
Cinephiles will not miss these two documentaries, which key in on the lives and work of two phenomenal directors, Hong Kong's Johnnie To and Malaysia's Tsai Ming-Liang.
Date: 25 Apr | Venue: Cathay Cineleisure Orchard
‘Letters From The South’
A collection of six short films showcasing the best of six ethnic Chinese directors from South East Asia. They include Thailand's Aditya Assarat, Singapore's Royston Tan and Sun Koh, Myanmar's Midi Z and of course, Malaysia's Tan Chui Mui and Tsai Ming-Liang.
Date: 24 Apr | Venue: The Cathay
‘Come Drink With Me/Dragon Inn’
Of the many King Hu classics that will be shown, these two films arguably helped shape the entire landscape for the genre of wuxia films. Watch and notice some of his signature elements, including his use of the female warrior or the setting of the inn for many of his works.
Date: 18 Apr | Venue: National Museum of Singapore Gallery Theatre
Singapore Chinese Film Festival | Date: 17-27 Apr | Time: Various | Venue: National Museum of Singapore, The Arts House, The Cathay Cineplex, Cathay Orchard Cineleisure | Tickets: $12-13 from Sistic, www.bytes.sg and www.cathaycineplexes.com.sg. For complete timings, please log on to www.sfs.org.sg/scff/schedule.html