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Revisit classic Singapore Films like Money No Enough and Forever Fever

By Say Peng  /  30 Oct 2018 (Tuesday)
As part of the 5th edition of the Singapore Media Festival this year, there will be free screenings of three local films - 'Teenage Textbook Movie', 'Forever Fever' and 'Money No Enough' – this week and the next, under the Singapore Classics Reignited programme.

Marking the 20th anniversary of the release of these beloved films, all three have been digitally restored in 4K by the Asian Film Archive using the original surviving film elements and presented through digital cinematic projection for the first time.

This is a great opportunity for the local movie-going crowd to discover and acquaint themselves with Singapore’s rich film history.

The Teenage Textbook Movie
1 Nov, Thursday | 7pm
The Cathay Cineplex
Directed by Phillip Lim 
Starring Melody Chen, Caleb Goh, Lim Hwee Sze, Steven Lim

Adapted from Adrian Tan’s bestselling novel, 'The Teenage Textbook', the film follows the life of student Mui Ee (Melody Chen) and her best friend Sissy Song (Lim Hwee Sze) at the fictitious Paya Lebar Junior College, where she encounters boys and experiences first love for the first time.
'The Teenage Textbook Movie' topped the Singapore box-office for four weeks following its release in 1998. The soundtrack featured all-Singaporean music, presenting the songs of singers like Ger (My Special Angel) and John Klass (Falling in Love), a first for English-language Singapore films.

Forever Fever
2 Nov, Friday | 7pm
The Cathay Cineplex
Directed by Glen Goei
Starring Adrian Pang, Maddy Barber, Pierre Png, Anna Belle Francis

Hock (Adrian Pang) is a bored and frustrated young man faced with a dead-end job and overbearing parents. He seeks solace in Bruce Lee films, fantasizes of owning the hottest and fastest motorbike, and pursues entertainment with his equally aimless friends. On a night out, Hock gets bitten by the disco bug and does not look back from there.
'Forever Fever' was the first Singaporean film to be bought for worldwide commercial release by major film distributor Miramax.

Money No Enough
3 Nov, Saturday | 7pm
The Cathay Cineplex
Directed by Tay Teck Lok
Starring Jack Neo, Mark Lee, Henry Thia

'Money No Enough' revolves around the lives of three close friends - a spendthrift white-collar worker Keong (Jack Neo), a general contractor Ong (Mark Lee), and a coffeeshop assistant Hui (Henry Thia). As they battle their personal financial woes, the three friends decide to overcome their difficulties by starting a car polishing business together.
'Money No Enough' earned over S$5.8 million at the Singapore box office and was the all-time highest-grossing Singaporean film until 2012.

The Curious Case of the Local English-Language Movie
10 Nov, Saturday | 2pm
Gallery Theatre, B1 National Museum of Singapore
Aside from the film screenings, there will also be a special panel discussion titled The Curious Case of the Local English-Language Movie. The discussion will be hosted by Glen Goei, who is one of Singapore’s leading film and theatre directors; Edna Lim, a senior lecturer with the Theatre Studies Programme at the National University of Singapore; and Professor C.J. Wee Wan-ling, who is a Professor of English at Nanyang Technological University and an expert in the Asian modernity.

Proving to be an exception rather than the rule, the box-office success of 1996’s comedy 'Army Daze' failed to result in further box-office achievements for subsequent English or Singlish-language Singapore films. In the landmark year of 1998, four local films – 'Money No Enough', 'The Teenage Textbook Movie', 'Tiger’s Whip' and 'Forever Fever' were released. 'Money No Enough', the only film in Mandarin-dialect-Singlish, became the all-time highest-grossing Singapore film till 2012, raking in more than the other three films put together.
Most of the more successful titles in recent Singapore film history, whether in terms of box office returns or film festival awards, all largely existed within a vernacular story. What is the reason for this dismal appeal for local English language films even with English as Singapore’s default lingua franca? More importantly, how has the market, media and linguistic patterns of society over time affected the reception and production of such local films?
This panel discussion featuring cultural studies academics and pioneers in the media field will reflect on this phenomenon and consider any cinematic cultural turn for the reflection of the English or Singlish-language experience within the local film industry.
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