Partly sunny

Mahjulah Singapora!

It’s hard to find something you don’t like about Singapore. A mix between the traditions of
the east and the fast paced industrialization of the west, it’s found itself a unique identity.
For one of the smallest countries in the world, it hasn’t done too badly, with 10 million
people visiting from all over the globe. And while a four hour flight might not let you
experience the wonders of Clarke Quay, Takashimaya or Marina Bay Sands, a Singaporean
Film Festival right here in Chennai will.

Think of Pin Pin Tan as an Eastern Sofia Coppola, minus any connections to the (fictional)
Italian mafia. She’s a female director in male dominated industry, made a ton of great
movies, and doesn’t stop getting better. Two degrees, one from Oxford, and a bunch of
Asian cinema’s biggest awards, her movies are probably worth a watch. Singapore GaGa,
a documentary, is her best known and most acclaimed work to date. 55 minutes long, it
shows a side of Singapore no brochure or website would, the genuine side. The quirky, fun
loving, colourful and festive atmosphere found, literally, everywhere. It doesn’t take much
to faze a Singaporean, unless it’s a lack of good hawker food. Then there’s a problem. The
film also focuses on the country’s equally vibrant past that influenced its present, as well
its diversity, found right in its streets; from cheerleaders to street vendors, people of Arab,
Latin and Taiwanese descent are proud to call themselves Singaporean. A midnight street
performer, a puppeteer, and a tap dancing, juggling, harmonica player make up just a few of
the cast found in Singapore’s first ever theatrically released documentary.

Also playing is the film 881 directed by Roystan Tan. A graduate of Temastek Polytechnic,
he started off with widely praised short films before going on to produce his feature
length. A musical and a comedy and a drama, it focuses on two friends trying to make it
big in the getai scene. Taking place in the annual Ghost Festival, getai is a loud, boisterous
performance that acts as a contrast to the otherwise solemn nature of the festival. They
must achieve stardom, defeat a rival group, struggle with a friends cancer and generally deal
with being named Little Papaya and Big Papaya (really.)

Both shows are being shown at the Rani Seethai Hall, Anna Salai, on the 5th of Feb, at 7:00

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