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Eric Khoo’s 'Mee Pok Man' and Yonfan’s 'Bugis Street' Celebrates 20th Anniversary at SGIFF 2015!

By InCinemas  /  03 Sep 2015 (Thursday)


Two iconic Asian classics: Eric Khoo's 'Mee Pok Man' and Yonfan's Bugis Street celebrates their 20th anniversaries at the Singapore International Film Festival.

SGIFF Executive Director, Yuni Hadi, said, “Mee Pok Man and Bugis Street are two classics that not just tell a Singapore story, but also reflect a milestone of an era for our filmmaking industry. They have inspired bolder voices since their premieres in 1995 and are exemplary of the quality storytelling our filmmakers are capable of. As both films mark their 20th anniversaries this year, it is fitting for the Festival to celebrate their legacies that have helped pave the way for the rich cinematic culture we enjoy today.”


Singapore’s Cultural Medallion recipient and award winning filmmaker Eric Khoo’s Mee Pok Man was an instrumental film that placed Singapore on the world map in 1995, bringing forth a resurgence for Singapore cinema after a decade of lull in the 1980s. Screened at 35 film festivals between 1995 and 1997, it was widely recognised for its independent spirit and focus on locality, which inspired and influenced Singapore films to come.

This year’s SGIFF also presents the newly restored Bugis Street Redux which was groundbreaking for both Asia and veteran film director Yonfan back in 1995. Filmed in Singapore, it illustrated the beginnings of cross-cultural filmmaking within the region. The iconic piece was also Yonfan’s first foray into independent filmmaking, and is an essential filmic document that captures the heartbeat and colour of 1960s Bugis Street as it once existed.


(Head over to the official website for updates!)

The 26th edition of SGIFF will take place across various venues, including Marina Bay Sands, which returns this year as Presenting Sponsor. The other screening venues are National Museum of Singapore, Shaw Theatres Lido, National Gallery Singapore, The Arts House, The Projector and The Substation. Film line-up for this year’s edition will be curated from the over 1,400 submissions received since its open call in May 2015.

Singapore International Film Festival (SGIFF) will take place from 26 November to 6 December 2015!

[Synopsis of Mee Pok Man]
Mee Pok Man is the quintessential film that placed Singapore cinema on the world map after a decade of near silence in the 1980s. It harbours a sense of urgency, rawness and authenticity that defined the defiant face of local filmmaking that emerged during the 1990s.

Based on a short story and script by local writer Damien Sin, the film casts an uncompromising gaze into the marginal losers of society, following a dim-witted mee pok seller who is obsessed with Bunny, a prostitute who frequents his stall. Bunny dreams of a better life and remains unaware of the man’s affections, until circumstances lead to a most unlikely union - a resolution that conflates fatalism and the macabre to unparalleled emotional heights.

An unforgettable start to Eric Khoo’s oeuvre, Mee Pok Man was awarded the FIPRESCI Special Mention Prize at the 8th Singapore International Film Festival, Special Jury Prize at the 9th Fukuoka Asian Film Festival, and the Best New Asian Director and Special Mention from the Jury at the 1st Busan International Film Festival.

[Synopsis of Bugis Street]
The pulsating atmosphere of Singapore’s infamous red light district during the 1960s is nostalgically evoked in Yonfan’s flamboyant and affectionate portrait of a milieu that was once a notorious tourist spot replete with uninhibited sexual desires and encounters; a famed destination for visiting sailors and American GIs looking for some corporal respite, and a popular location for a number of Western films shot in Singapore, such as Saint Jack (Peter Bogdanovich, 1979) and Wit’s End (Joe M. Reed, 1971).

In Yonfan’s Bugis Street, we are introduced to a community of transgender women through the eyes of Lian, a youthful girl from Malaysia working in a hotel in the district. On the surface, the film captures the glamour, seediness and theatricality of the community with unabashed flamboyance and humour. As Lian forms real attachments with these individuals and comes of age, the film gently reveals its humanistic core, capturing the yearning and integrity of a marginal community and the turbulence of life with its inevitable farewells and beginnings.

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