Home  /  Everything Else: Article  /  4 award-winning critically-acclaimed movies you can only watch at Singapore Film Society

4 award-winning critically-acclaimed movies you can only watch at Singapore Film Society

By Say Peng  /  29 May 2019 (Wednesday)

Not all great films are commercially released in cinemas. It's an unfortunate reality.

That's where organisations such as the Singapore Film Society comes in. 

And boy does SFS have a treat for us this June and July, with exclusive screenings of some of 2018's best films. 

1. Touch Me Not

Romanian director Adina Pintilie's debut film, 'Touch Me Not' won the Golden Bear at the Berlin International Film Festival in 2018 to much controversy.

A kind of fiction-documentary hybrid, 'Touch Me Not' explores sensitive but important issues of human intimacy and sexuality. It's something that we normally don't talk about (except perhaps to very close friends). It takes a film like 'Touch Me Not' to make it not embarrassing for viewers to openly discuss such issues.

The film features many characters dealing with their own bodily issues. There's Laura, a middle-aged woman who struggles to be physically intimate with people. And there's Christian Bayerlein, who is born with spinal muscular atrophy and has a very open and non-pitying attitude towards his body and is unafraid to pursuing his sexual interests.

Praising the film for its "fascinating and original" approach towards intimacy, the Hollywood Reporter writes: "Though not every moment is fascinating to watch, most moments are, and adult audiences should find its frank presentation of the diversity of intimacy thought-provoking and possibly therapeutic."

2. High Life

French director Claire Denis is well known for making small-scale intimate but highly political films. Born in France but raised in colonial French Africa, Denis explores issues related to French colonialism and its effects on Africa and the African psyche.

But with her latest film 'High Life', Denis takes a sharp left turn into science fiction territory. 

Starring Robert Pattison and Juliette Binoche, 'High Life' revolves around a group of criminals and scientist who have been tasked to travel to a black hole to extract energy from it. En route to the black hole, the scientist, played by Binoche, conducts experiments on the criminals.

'High Life' is no run-of-the-mill sci-fi film and bears no resemblance to any famous sci-fi movie you might have watched ('Star Wars', 'Star Trek'). Except, perhaps, Stanley Kubrick's '2001: Space Odyssey'.

3. First Reformed

It's well known that since he was young, Schrader struggled with his religious beliefs. Influenced by French director Robert Bresson and struggling with alcoholism and spiritual alienation, Schrader went on to write one of the most seminal films of American cinema, 'Taxi Driver'. Since then, Schrader went on to make many other films, and while most of them are good, none have come close to 'First Reformed'.

'First Reformed' is a perfect marriage of form and content and stars Ethan Hawke in one of the most intense performances of his career. Hawke plays Reverand Toller, who heads a tiny suburban church, who struggles to deal with man's wanton destruction of the environment, which in his view is God's creation.

A spiritual successor to 'Taxi Driver', this is the film that Paul Schrader has been waiting to make all his life.

4. If Beale Street Could Talk

It's sad that Barry Jenkins' latest film 'If Beale Street Could Talk', an adaptation of African-American author James Baldwin's novel of the same name, did not receive the same Oscar treatment and publicity that greeted 'Moonlight'. 

The only Oscar nominations that 'Beale Street' got were for Best Supporting Actress for Regina King, Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Original Score, with King winning Best Supporting Actress.

Even if the film flew almost completely under the Oscar radar, 'If Beale Street Could Talk' is a first-rate film that proves that 'Moonlight' is no fluke. 

It is a sensual and highly romantic mood piece about a young woman (KiKi Layne) who tries to clear the name of her wrongly charged lover (Stephan James) and to prove his innocence before the birth of their child. 

For more info, check out the Singapore Film Society's website: https://www.singaporefilmsociety.com/
You say

Get Showtimes