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10th Singapore Film Festival
1997
     
The 10th Singapore Film Festival brings you a total of 114 features in the main programme and 200 fringe films from 40 countries. 40 percent of the movies are Asian. Media Mail brings you a pick of six must-see films.
   
Little Sister
Netherlands, 1995
Director: Robert Jan Westdijk

Winner of three Dutch Film Festival awards including best film in Utrecht, voyeurism, videotape and incest are compelling ingredients in Little Sister. Shot entirely with subjective camera, the micro-budget Dutch feature is seen through the eyes of Martin, Daantje's big brother who is obssessed with her.

Martin is only seen when the camera falls into other hands or is left stationery. Almost playful at first, the little sister turns the tables on him when she takes control of the camera. A shocking plot develops when an old Super-8 film replays totally unexpected traumatic childhood scenes.
     
Marian
Czech Republic, 1996
Director: Petr Václav

Classed as mentally retarded on account of hereditary defects inherent in his race, three year old Marian is taken into state care when his mother a Romany, is judged incapable of bringing up her child. Marian grows up wild and rebellious surviving through orphanages, correctional centres and in and out of prison.

Unable to develop durable relationships with people he meets along the way, can he escape the circle in which he is caught? The true story was awarded the FIPRESCI Award and won the Silver Leopard at the Locarno Film Festival.
     

Suzaku
Japan, 1997
Director: Naomi Kawase

Twenty seven year old female filmmaker, Naomi Kawase well-known for questioning family fundamentals in her past short documentaries brings you Suzaku.

The story centres on a Tahara family living at the south end of Nara where Kawase comes from. As the townspeople slowly move in search of a better life, Kozo Tahara, a father of a family who loves his village stays on, helping with building railway tracks to his town. However his hope is suddenly broken broken when the construction is vainly left. Tracing their lives from the 1970s recession to present, the film is filled with sexual tension and the small town's idealistic wonder.

     
Naseem
India, 1995
Director: Saeed Akhtar Mirza

Naseem which means the morning breeze, is a 15-year-old Muslim school girl growing up in Bombay's decaying inner city. She shares a special relationship, with her ailing grandfather, a scholar who tries to infuse in Naseem's mundane life, a sense of history, poetry and music.

He talks lovingly of a language, culture and value system that is rapidly being eroded (sometimes presented in Rashomon-like contradictory flashbacks). With his death, it appears that a whole era - now denigrated and disowned - is being wiped out of our collective memory. Now Naseem is forced to face the frightening future - alone.
     

Three Friends (Sechinku)
Korea, 1996
Director: Soonrye Yim

The story opens with three close friends on high school graduation day in a provincial Korean town. Failing their entrance exam leads Independant, Fatso and Petal to an uncertain future. Without a degree, our three protagonists must look for another way.

Their compulsory military service call-up is lurking near. They face different destinies in their army and reunite only much later. Each in their own way have been betrayed by the system. They are not so much losers as anti-heroes. Portraying Korea's Generation X, director Yim Soon-Rye's debut is a daring mix of light-hearted comedy and realist drama.

     
Small Faces
United Kingdom, 1995
Director: Gillies MacKinnon

From the makers of Shallow Grave, brothers Gillies and Billy MacKinnon bring you the story of three MacLean brothers, in Glasgow back in 1968. Fourteen year old Lex lives with his widowed mother and two older brothers Bobby and Alan. Bobby, 18 fancies himself as Glasgow's hard man hangs out with local gang - the Glen. Alan, 17, longs to escape to art school. Lex, a genius is torn between Bobby's danger and excitement and Alan's creative promise, is an uneasy hybrid of the two. Then there is Joanna McGowan, a sweet girl courted by Lex but awkwardly hankered by Bobby with his sensational stories. However, she is attracted to the sensitive Alan.
     

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