“Lost Cinema 20/20” (2020) – What We Find Amidst Loss

I was having lunch with a friend when we talked about whether Lost Cinema 20/20 benefited from its move to YouTube. My friend thought that digitising theatre has its losses - what could have been an immersive communal experience is now sealed off into a box on a screen. I agree with him in general, … Continue reading “Lost Cinema 20/20” (2020) – What We Find Amidst Loss

“I Dream of Singapore” (2019): To Become Grievable

We live, in a daily way, with knowledge of nameless groups of people abandoned to death[.]Judith Butler, The Force of Nonviolence, 28 In her latest book, The Force of Nonviolence, Judith Butler writes that society is built on a distinction between lives that are grievable and lives that are not. Often based on little more … Continue reading “I Dream of Singapore” (2019): To Become Grievable

“A Land Imagined” (2018): Radical Inclusion at the Borders of Being

A Land Imagined (2018) is not an easy film to watch - and I mean this in the best way possible. Loosening the structures of narrative and form, A Land Imagined demands persistence as it dissolves the boundaries of person, culture and nation. Tied into this dynamic is a difficult ethical question that everyday life evades: where does … Continue reading “A Land Imagined” (2018): Radical Inclusion at the Borders of Being

Dignity and Self-Narration in “$alary Day” by R. Madhavan (2019)

What is the ethical purpose of film in light of capitalism, migration and labour?  As the first film acted, directed and produced by migrant workers in Singapore, $alary Day offers a few ways of thinking about representing the self through the screen. Resisting the notion of the cinema as that which quietens and tames its audience, $alary Day is … Continue reading Dignity and Self-Narration in “$alary Day” by R. Madhavan (2019)

The Ghosts on the Screen – “Stranger Things” (2019) by Nigel Cheah & Royal Estate

Time flies, never to be recalled, and so does the tunnel that carries my car into the night. Yet, perhaps against my better judgment, I cannot resist looking backwards. "Stranger Things" by Nigel Cheah and Royal Estate is an attempt at resisting the growing distance between the man I am now and the boy I … Continue reading The Ghosts on the Screen – “Stranger Things” (2019) by Nigel Cheah & Royal Estate

Style and Sincerity: Some Thoughts on Singapore’s Ethnic PSA Videos

I'm a bit late to the party, but I only just chanced upon this series of Tamil PSAs on CHAS and "Adapt and Grow" skills upgrading programmes. Since these PSAs aired during the recent Deepavali festive season, they were conceptualised as riffs off the Indian palace drama genre, much like how the Health Promotion Board … Continue reading Style and Sincerity: Some Thoughts on Singapore’s Ethnic PSA Videos

“Runaway” (2019): Penat, Yearning and Loss in Black and White

Singapore will languish if its lovers are uncritical and its critics are unloving. What Singapore needs is not sycophants but loving critics and critical lovers.Tommy Koh As of writing, Singapore has been mired in a debate about what it means to be a patriotic citizen. In a society where dissent is eyed with suspicion and … Continue reading “Runaway” (2019): Penat, Yearning and Loss in Black and White

Moving Onwards, Moving Back: Nostalgia and National Policy in “Semoga Bahagia” (2019)

Blink and you might miss it. In Gov.sg's 2019 cover of "Semoga Bahagia", our official Children's Day song composed by musical legend Zubir Said, a CPF advertisement suddenly punctures a sepia-toned daydream. A poster of an elderly citizen fades into focus as Hilmi walks out of the lift, and we're left to contemplate what "raising … Continue reading Moving Onwards, Moving Back: Nostalgia and National Policy in “Semoga Bahagia” (2019)

Space, Light and Urban Existence in “The Promise” (NTUC Income)

NTUC Income’s short film, “The Promise”, is one of the insurance company’s most well-received public awareness campaigns, with more than 9000 positive Facebook reactions as of writing. “The Promise” follows its protagonist Yong Tian (Robin Tiang) as he goes through life sandwiched between the financial needs of the generations above and beneath him. As many … Continue reading Space, Light and Urban Existence in “The Promise” (NTUC Income)

Visual Poetry: The Twin Cinema of Race and Ritual in “Religious Procession” (2019)

As Kopimotion's last article has shown, race is a trigger topic in Singapore's media landscape. As a concept that structures our thoughts and policies, race entrenches ways of categorising and dominating people through the enforcement of difference. This fixation on classifying people also becomes the dominant mode of thought within which we develop our own … Continue reading Visual Poetry: The Twin Cinema of Race and Ritual in “Religious Procession” (2019)