18th Singapore International Film Festival

01 Apr

It’s the time of the year again.

Film enthusiasts (notice how I seldom use ‘buff’ after film, after all, most of film freaks are not, sadly, buffed!) in Singapore embrace the long-month of April with one clear intention in mind which, as sacred as pilgrimage, has become some kind of routine that will defy any other daily activities, at least they will be put on hold for two weeks. Hey, it ain’t that bad! Two weeks of nothing but films unlikely getting theatrical releases, or if they will, surely scissors of censorship would be happily butchering them into some, well, butchered flicks.

Welcome to the 18th Singapore International Film Festival, 14-30 April 2005.

As years pass by, as the number increases, so are the “guides”, and here’s 18 ways to behave, to adapt, to not be yourself, to transform, to survive, and most of all, to enjoy the whirlwind experience throughout the festive season:

1. Set your dates free
Surely you don’t want to be interrupted with late-nite work or unannounced visit of your friends or relatives who do not know your antics being a film-maniac. This will include using up your annual leave days, and do it in style: if you have to catch a 7 pm-film and your workplace is quite a distant from the cinemas (note: it’s the cinemas that are not accessible, folks!), get a half-day leave! Honey, Michael Douglas may say “Greed is Good” and won an Oscar for it, but greediness for watching films? Get a life!

2. Complains!
Oh oh oh! Flood the forums in SGFilm or the SIFFest website itself with your complains! Surely no SIFFest would properly start without hearing any complains on a) the choice of films that lacks of mass-appeal, b) increase steep of ticket price, c) clash-schedule of latest Godard’s work vs. some new indie director whose film sweeps many awards, d) neglected cinemas, e) inefficiency of SIFFest team (hey, give them a break! They’re running on a cash-strapped management!), and the list goes on and on. Oh, did I mention about increasing number of banned films?

3. Do not stay up late on weekends!
Chances are that you will be watching more than two films on weekends when the schedule on both days start as early as 11 am, and lasts until the usual 9 pm-schedule. What I’m trying to say is that you’ve got to keep your stamina when you watch 4 films in a row (!!!), and certainly having sex the nite before that lasts until dawn is not recommended.

4. Or go clubbing, partying, c’mon, give them a rest for a while. Don’t be afraid they’ll close down soon like Centro or Embassy, they’ll be fine if we’re absent for a little time.

5. Get yourself familiarized with the route!
Most of the screenings you’re gonna attend will be shown in Shaw Tower, Bugis, which is inconveniently located exactly between Bugis MRT and City Hall MRT. Which one? Not both of them! It’s time to get used to taking bus, and kindly refer to SBS website for the bus information. Hey, not every information I’ve got in hand!

6. And getting handy with meals would be another challenging thing!
Let’s see if you can survive on Burger King for those two weeks! And no matter how you claim that Subway is healthier, it doesn’t help if you put way too much mustard on it. The solution? Try out some outlets in the food court only when you have morning shows on weekends as most of them are closed by 7 pm., so by the time you are catching 9 pm-show, you’ll be starving. And believe me, there can be no greater pleasure in bringing your own food, after all …

7. Oooppss! Have you extra money to spare?
This event is surely the most money-draining activity for any underpaid breadwinner, and things do not look good within horizon if the rumors that they’re going to increase the ticket (again!) by next year does come true. The increase in this year itself already forms to be a burden, moreover with SISTIC handling the ticketing system, God knows what kind of cursing has been uttered.
Oh well, rob the bank, break kindergarten pupils’ piggy-banks, ask for loan, guess we all should learn from those junkies on how they survive, don’t we? Hmmm…

8. No popcorn! No latecomers!
Erm, no easily-forgotten Hollywood trash is shown here, and anyone walking inside a theater with a bucket of popcorn would be met with a lot of eyebrows raising. No eating please, this is the time when everybody gets seriously pretending to be serious, so it’s all a hush-hush affair.
And that also explains why you can’t afford to come late, not only it will disrupt the people sitting next to you or basically anyone in the theater, but those cinemas in Shaw Tower belong to some of the darkest cinemas here. No flashing sign of rows and seat number, and my oh my, you have no idea how you may get lost in Prince 1 with 1,000-plus seats! Which brings me to something else …

9. Get your tickets early!
A one-time showing to feed a country in which its cinema-attendance is one of the highest in the world? Be kiasu or be left behind! Even if the film is shown in that Prince 1 theatre, No Man’s Land was a box-office hit some time back, and even Uzak for last year.

10. You get to know the crowd, which is fairly predictable. Arisan! was flooded with Indonesians, so was Bridal Shower with Filipinos, and Lan Yu was jam-packed with gays, the fact goes on and on …

11. It’s wonderful!

12. It’s marvelous!

13. It’s superb!

14. It’s great!

15. It’s a life-changing experience!

16. It thrills!

17. It’s gorgeous!

18. It’s the festive season which you surely will indulge. What else can I say, except to ENJOY, have fun and if you get hooked up with fellow cinephiles, you know who to thank 😉

Yeah, lucky you!

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Posted by on 04/01/2005 in English, Film


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