Category Archives: documentary

From 3 to thousands

Ah, technology!

But if you are cheap, desperate and inventive, smaller crowds can be generated from no crowds at all — just a couple of people.

From Kevin Kelly’s blog, via SGFilm.


Japanese Film Festival 2007 – tickets on sale today!

(More info on the JFF festival website:


(from Imamura Shohei’s Eejanaika)

Japanese Film Festival 2007: 15-23 Sept 2007

As with previous years, most of the screenings in the Japanese Film Festival are free — just turn up on the day of the screening. Queue numbers are given out from 10.30am on weekends and from 7pm on weekdays.

Some of the screenings are ticketed, and you can buy tickets through Gatecrash:

  • On-line at
  • Through GATECRASH Hotline: 6222-5595
  • At the Substation, all SingPost Branches & S.A.M. Kiosks.


Director-in-Focus: Imamura Shohei – one of the few directors who received the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival twice in his lifetime. Best remembered for depictions of humanity at its most raw, primitive and energised level.

Actress-in-Attendance: Yoshiyuki Kazuko – collaborated with Imamura in one of their earliest films: NIANCHAN, a gritty, realistic look at poverty in a mining town. This work will be screened at the Festival along with two of Ms. Yoshiyuki’s recent films: ORIUME and GABAI GRANNY, in which she played leading roles.

Director-in-Attendance: Ichikawa Jun – one of Japan’s most acclaimed postwar directors, with an internationally established reputation for his unique film vocabulary and eloquence in depicting emotional subtleties. Three of his films (including his latest, HOW TO BECOME MYSELF) will be presented at this year’s Festival.

More info on the JFF festival website:

A Singaporean in Pyongyang

Oikono blogs about his visit to North Korea. 5 parts so far, with the first post here.

It’s depressing to think of how resilient that totalitarian regime is, despite its anguished millions.

There were times in Pyongyang when it felt like a strange horror movie, where everyone is stuck in a warped world from the past and you are the only person to realize it. Then you realize you have no mouth and you cannot scream.


Invisible City (备忘录)


Clever advertising for Invisible City at the Arts House — except that if you were already there then there was a good chance you were already going to watch it, like the Better Half and I.

Still, great concept (probably by Mindwasabi) that echoes the subject matter of Tan Pin Pin’s latest documentary very well.

(You’d probably have read all the reviews by now, so I don’t need to tell you that Invisible City is about how people remember and how those memories are recorded or – often – not)

She said, during the post-screening Q&A, that one of the points she wanted to make is that the act of remembering — whether dredging up personal memories, re-recording old footage, or literally digging in old army forts — requires much effort and time. The process is painstaking.

Invisible City is also meant to be a record of its own, as the Mandarin title implies. 备忘录 might be the more accurate title: a record prepared with the expectation that one will forget.

Moreover, it seems clear that remembering is rarely appreciated, in this country at least. In the documentary Han Tan Juan, trying to carve out what he sees as the rightful place of 1960s Chinese student activists in Singapore’s history, remarks after a talk he gave to students that they didn’t seem to care about his story, let alone Singapore’s history.

So at the risk of sounding trite, this work is as much about forgetting as it is about remembering. If I may borrow Alex Au’s words:

By the end of the film, I was slumped in my seat, feeling quite defeated. Ken Kwek, a Straits Times journalist, told me on the way out that far from showing us how history is recorded, the film showed “how big the gaps are”.

(earlier posts on Invisible City)

Tan Pin Pin wants YOU


To go watch Invisible City. If you’re not convinced, um, here’s a Reuters article.

Oh, so you’re Singaporean. Fine: free tickets are available (so you don’t have to pay like I did :p)

For 19 July at NUS Cultural Centre Theatre, 8pm, email cfregister at nus dot edu dot sg or call 6516 4229.

For 20 July at 72-13, 8pm, email tworks at singnet dot com dot sg or call 6737 7213

For 21 July at The Substation, 8pm, email movingimages at substation dot org or call 6337 1535

(earlier post)

A “parallel universe” of film – UbuWeb!

Tan Pin Pin‘s dug up an awesome find: UbuWeb

UbuWeb has converted all of its rare and out-of-print film & video holdings to on-demand streaming formats à la YouTube, which means that you can view everything right in your browser without platform-specific software or insanely huge downloads. We offer over 300 films & videos from artists such as Marcel Duchamp, Vito Acconci, Pipilotti Rist, Jean Genet, The Cinema of Transgression, Richard Foreman, Terayama Shuji, Paul McCarthy Jack Smith, Carolee Schneeman, John Lennon and hundreds more — of course all free of charge.

Mmm… what to look at first? Probably Peter Whitehead’s Wholly Communion. Am curious after reading about him in Sight and Sound. Wittgenstein’s Tractatus looks interesting too. And Pin Pin was looking for Harun Farocki’s Inextinguishable Fire, so yes that as well.