A bit on the 9th Singapore International Film Festival


Welcome to this homepage. This is my first attempt to write a bit of what I found in the film festival. Of course, I am just an ordinary accountancy student, not a film critic, so I cannot give a very good review, but please bear with me as I try my best, OK? After all, I am not getting paid for this, am I? Also, please do not copy or quote this article. Thank you. You may consult me if you want to put up a link though.


Because of the fact that I am supposed to train to be a professional, I have to explain this to all of you. Under copyright law, I am not supposed to copy other people's material without explicit consent. Under the fair use law, I may do so under these conditions - I take little parts of it, not use it for commercial purposes, use it for information purposes, not cause any loss to the relevant parties and that I add new material. As such, I will comply to these requirements, and in addition to that, I will not include any pictures without written consent.

The parties that are supposed to be acknowledge as I use their material are as follows:

  • The sponsors of the film festival,
  • The committee of the film festival,
  • The producers of the relevant films reviewed and
  • The people involved in making the film festival a success, otherwise this article will never exist.


    On the technical side, the film festival was held from April 4th to April 20th. A lot of international films were screened here in Singapore at that time. In addition to the main event, the committee had a fringe festival, whereby there were a lot of fringe films from various countries screened. Among the places of which the films were produced from were Beijing, China; India; Indonesia; Tehran, Iran; South Korea; Taiwan; Thailand; Malaysia and Vietnam. Of course, Memories ended up as the Closing Film in the festival, as may be quite reputable in the fandom. (I suspected something like this was going to happen, when I listened from the radio beginning of this year a song from the movie.)

    Based on what I have read from the programme (which was quite expensive, but still worth it, because of something I will tell you later), I have reason to believe that the films chosen was to show that the films produced and screened were still good or even great works of art. There is always something the producer or writer of the film wants to say, to pass as a message to its audience. These values can be beneficial and taking for example an excerpt from the film "The Boy Made In Japan," - "Fifty years after the end of the war, Japan has in 1995 seen the Great Hanshin Earthquake and repeated acts of terrorism by a strange religious cult. How do the youth today react to all these? The characters are youngsters with no purpose in their lives, symbolising the Japanese society today which has passed its economic peak."

    As you can see, it looks like it is showing something bad, but it we took this excerpt at face value and the film IS really what this excerpt is explaining, don't you think there is something to learn from here?

    Frankly, what is the use of watching a really wonderful film without really understanding and benefitting from it? OK, so it has great special effects, but nowadays, even the public in Singapore would know how good a film like Up Close And Personal can be and appreciate it. A film can be very well filled with action, but these come and go! Those films that really touches your heart would be remembered for a long time, won't you agree? And so, this, I believe, is what the film festival is trying to present. After all, it has to have an aim, a purpose, and objectives, doesn't it?

    And now, here is the Japanese Animation section for all those anime fans.

    Please take note that this is quoted from the programme of the film festival. I quote it assuming that I am using it under the fair use law. If in the event it is not acceptable, I will remove it and in addition to this, apologize to the relevant parties whom I may have injured.

    Japanese Animation

    Closing Film - Memories

    Production notes

  • Produced in Japan, 1995, 113 mins

  • Directors:

  • Producer:

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  • World Sales Agent:

    The Directors:

    Katsuhiro Otomo
    Creator of Japanese comics such as Good Weather(81), Boogie Woogie Waltz(82), and many others. Created and produced the acclaimed animation film Akira in 1988.

    Koji Morimoto
    Born in 1959, assistant director for animation film Akira. Also Director for animation film Tobe!Kunira no Piku.

    Tensai Okamura
    Born in 1960, directed animation films Gokuu, Yawar! and Yagi-san and Cheese.


    Latest animation film from the producer of the acclaimed Akira which won the 1995 Ofuji Reward in Japan. Katsuhiro Otomo's latest effort promises to be another exciting and imaginative visual feast for ardent anime fans.

    Episode 1: Magnetic Rose

    The year is 2029. Miguel, Ivanov and Aoshima are junk dealers, collecting and scrapping wrecked spaceships in outer space. One day, they catch an SOS signal which appears to come from a dead zone in the space called Salgassau. They rush into the zone and discover a gigantic rose-shaped spaceship. When they enter the ship, they are stunned by the sight that confronts them: right before their eyes is a magnificent opera house. They also find various objects that belong to one of the greatest opera singers at the beginning of the 21st century. Later, they find themselves trapped in a maze where images of "happy memories" of the great singer appear, inducing them to confront their own memories.

    Episode 2: Stink Bomb

    Nobuo Tanaka, a researcher at a pharmaceutical company accidentally takes a sample of a new pill which he mistakes for cold medicine. It is in fact a bacteriological weapon that the company has secretly developed for the Japanese government. It allows a human body to emit a lethal gas which eventually puts people in a state of apparent death. When Nobuo wakes up, he finds people and animals alike lying unconscious everywhere. Unaware that he is a walking lethal weapon, Nobuo heads for Tokyo...

    Episode 3: Cannon Fodder

    A boy lives in a town where numerous cannons are mounted everywhere. His father loads shells at the cannon #17 and his mother works at a factory that manufactures shells. The people in the town have dedicated their lives to cannons as the town is in the middle of war. Even a maths class in school centers on cannons. The story relates a day in the life of the boy in which he dreams of becoming a star who fires shells unlike his father whose status is much lower.

    Special note from the webmaster

    It deserves the respect of a work of art. Do not appreciate it as a Japanese Animation Movie only. Appreciate it as an international work of art that has been given recognition by the Cannes Film Festival and the Singapore International Film Festival for it has been featured as the closing film of both festival.

    On the more enjoyable note, Part 1 was very romantic and the storyline was truly touching (I still remember the looks of the rose-spaceship. In fact, a lot of people clapped when the first part ended!). Katsuhiro Otomo was there and you can be sure that when we clapped, he heard too!

    Part 2 was very good too. Even as I had read the programme, the film had many unexpected turns. As you have read the synopsis, I advise you not to take it at face value, because as Tanaka-san goes to Tokyo, every bit of that journey was very funny. And it has been proven so by the laughs of so many people in the hall (though I can't imagine why someone would say he wasted his money on a lousy animated film in a newsgroup..., anybody want to flame him? I suggest not, for we must learn to forgive and to care, don't we?). And the ending was simply the greatest. (Which is why, after learning from these kinds of anime, I have managed to make ridiculous jokes on my lecturers. But lets leave that aside, shall we^_-?).

    Part 3 was quite disappointing to a lot of people because it was very solemn. But if you read the synopsis carefully, don't you agree there is a lesson to be learnt from the story? Well, I find it hard to justify that it is a very good story, but the lesson could be, "Don't play with guns, or our society will end up like that third parter."

    Ghost in the Shell

    Production notes:

  • Produced in Japan, 1995, 80 min.

  • Director:

  • Producer:

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  • World Sales Agent:

    About the Director:

    Mamoru Oshii
    Born in Tokyo in 1951, captured the industry's attention with his first feature Only You(83) and its sequel Beautiful Dreamer(84). He made several original animation videos including Kurenai Megane(86) and Patlabor(88). Other areas which Oshii is involved in are original video animation, stories for comic books and the family computer game, Sansara Naga.

    The Synopsis

    From the producers of Akira and showcasing some of the best Japanese animators including Mamoru Oshii, the director of Patlabor 1 and 2., Ghost in the Shell is set in 2029 AD. The world has become intensively information oriented and humans are well-connected to the network. Crime has developed into a sophisticated stage by hacking into the interactive network. To prevent this, Section 9 is formed. These are cyborgs with incredible strengths and abilities that can access any network on Earth. It contains highly detailed and realistic images filled with stunning action. Adapted from the the comic by Masamune Shirow, Ghost in the Shell is a dark look at cyberfuture. Coupled with advanced computer graphics and traditional cel animation, it promises to be an out of the world experience.

    The Silent Service

    Production notes:

  • Produced in Japan, 1995, 97 mins
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  • Producer:

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  • World Sales Agent:

    About the director

    Ryousuke Takahashi
    Born in 1943. Began working for the Mushi Production Company in 1964 and became a freelancer in 1969. He directed Zerotester, Fang of Sun, Dagrum, Armoured Calvary Soldiers, Bottoms. Also written many scripts including The Legend of Hero Demon Deity, Wataru 2 and Little Red Riding Hood, Chacha.

    The Synopsis

    Adapted from the best selling comic book which sold over 28 million copies in Japan. The story reflects many of the undercurrents of Japanese political thought. In the words of a right-wing political leader, "This is a dangerous manga." This animation film is a well-researched one on a serious theme done in a very entertaining and spell-binding fashion.

    A tragic accident has occurred. A Japanese submarine commanded by Captain Shiro Kaieda, sank afteeer colliding with a Russian nuclear submarine. All of the crew are reported dead. Kaieda's colleague, Captain Hiroshi Fukamachi is puzzled by the death of Kaieda who was considered a man of genius in the field submarine navigational skills. His investigations uncovers a conspiracy between the Japanese Self-Defence Force and the US Military to build a top-secret nuclear-powered submarine.

    Special note from the webmaster

    Firstly, when I got news of this film, I was suspicious of its standard of quality. When I went to the theatre, I saw from far the Director and the Producer. Quoting them, the film was inspired by Gundam. This means, that the standard for the storyline was supposed to be comparable with Gundam. To tell you the truth, it IS up to THAT standard. The story was amusing, as can be read from the synopsis. I took for granted that the story was going to be boring because it was about a nuclear submarine. The story was definitely about the submarine, but little did I expect it to be a truly excellent story. I met the Producer face-to-face and had a short chat with him. In my opinion at that time, I said, that we really shouldn't have nuclear weapons to begin with. And isn't it a sad affair? Our planet is being threatened by nuclear waste? I enjoyed the story, I got his signature, I met some fans. And I assure you all who plan to watch the animation, that even if it is low budget, not so good art, it is definitely worth watching, because of the truly excellent storyline and dialogue. After all, it is not often that you see a submarine becoming a nation in its own right.