Singapore Chinese Film Festival Returns For The 5th Edition! 第五届新加坡华语电影节

The Singapore Chinese Film Festival (SCFF), co-organised by Singapore University of Social Sciences (SUSS), and Singapore Film Society (SFS), returned to celebrate its fifth anniversary from April 28 through 7 May. Five years may not seem like a great length of time. However, as a festival that is carving out a niche in the area of local and regional Chinese films, SCFF's achievement is especially noteworthy. Younger generations of Singaporean cinephiles would have grown up watching Hollywood movies. In addition, Chinese films (and Asian films in general) tend to be placed on the margins when it comes to box office promotions. Hence, the fact that support for SCFF has increased over the years speaks highly of both the festival's audience, as well as its founders and organisers. Indeed, the festival began in 2013 with only 10 films and 20 screening sessions, while this year's instalment featured 45 films and 48 screening sessions. Attendance size has also steadily increased in the past few years, from 4,550 in 2015 to 6,433 this year. Furthermore, SCFF2017 garnered over 30 media reports, including pre and post screening coverage.

In observance of the fifth edition, festival co-directors Associate Professor Foo Tee Tuan (SUSS), and Mr David Lee (SFS) made the bold and welcome decision to balance contemporary and new works, with retrospective classic screenings. In addition, human relationships was a common theme that ran through many of the selections.

Golden Village (Vivo City) hosted the festival's opening night with Hong Kong director Wong Chun's family drama "Mad World" which portrays the distressing homecoming of a young man battling bi-polar disorder. The movie opened to a packed hall of over 200 audience including invited guests from the film and media industries, academia, and diplomats. The event was honoured by the presence of Professor Cheong Hee Kiat, SUSS President, and Professor Eddie Kuo, Advisor to SUSS and Centre for Chinese Studies@SUSS. In addition, the festival organisers specially flew in Director Wong Chun and screenwriter Florence Chan who interacted with audiences at the post-screening Q&A. Why choose a melancholic film to celebrate a milestone anniversary? Associate Professor Foo explained, "We wanted a theme that would resonate with our audiences and provoke reflection. In Singapore, as in Hong Kong, where sanity, space and sympathy are at a premium, mental illness needs to be recongnised and addressed." Indeed, this view seemed to be affirmed by the two sell-out screenings of "Mad World".

Closing night took place at the National Museum of Singapore with the screening of 1931 Chinese silent film "Love and Duty", featuring one of the most prominent Chinese film stars of her generation Ruan Lingyu. For many years the film was believed lost, until a complete print was discovered in Uruguay in the 1990s. Frequently referred to as the Greta Garbo of Shanghai, Ruan was able to bring a sense of emotional authenticity to her roles. This was evident from quite a few misty-eyed audience members that night.

In between, the remaining 43 selections covered a similarly diverse range – from Chinese Panorama to Documentary Vision, Short Films, as well as Restored Classics. As diverse as they were, these works were delightfully weaved together through their focus on human, especially family, relationships – including the dynamics between children and parents, spouses, the dead and the living, as well as with society in general.

As always, SCFF 2017 also featured a series of free interactive panel discussions to set the tone for and context of the films at the festival. SCFF 2017 delighted audiences with four sessions including one on screenwriting featuring award-winning writer Florence Chan. The second discussion focused on two Mediacorp-produced documentaries featuring a local family business enterprise, but filmed 20 years apart. One could say it was a 'family' re-union, with the Mediacorp Chinese Affairs group and members of the Tan family sharing intricate details of their story over the years. Another panel discussed documentaries that placed the film-makers and their, often estranged, family members as subject matter. The festival also offered a rare and unmissable opportunity for local and Taiwanese folk song lovers to see two movies, each documenting the history and cultural legacies of Singapore (Xinyao), and Taiwanese (Minyao) folk songs. "The Songs We Sang" and "Ode to Time" were curated respectively by Eva Tang and Hou Chi-jan, who also charmed the audience with an honest and authentic face-to-face dialogue. 

SCFF 2017 was the result of great effort and care put in by sponsors, festival organisers and volunteers, audiences, as well as the film-makers, and its success is the result of excellent teamwork. The Singapore Chinese Festival will be back again next year with more of the best Chinese cinema has to offer!

新加坡华语电影节欢庆5周年

由新跃社科大学及新加坡电影协会联办的新加坡华语电影节今年五岁了!从4月28日至5月7日历时10天,电影节分别在嘉华新达城、国家博物馆和艺术之家陆续上映了48场华语片。

从2013年第一届的10部电影和20场展映,到今年45部电影的48场展映,新加坡华语电影节的观众人数从4550人增加到今年的6433人。这群观众当中,很多已逐渐成为电影节的忠实支持者,这无疑是对电影节和主办单位最大的肯定。

电影节联合策展人新跃中华学术中心主任符诗专副教授和新加坡电影协会副主席李富楠先生,在选片规划时,为了使本地观众有机会看到华人世界近期有份量的电影作品,因此挑选了近两、三年获奖的剧情片、纪录片和短片。另外,也加汇集了8部近期完成修复的经典作品呈现给大家。

电影节的开幕仪式在嘉华怡丰城举行,以囊括香港电影金像奖新晉導演、最佳男配角和最佳女配角三大奖项的香港剧情片《一念无明》拉开序幕。影片改编自香港真实新闻案件,以一个家庭的悲剧來描绘社会大众对精神病(燥郁症)患者的歧视。

符诗专指出會选择这样一部有点压抑的影片作為开幕片主要是因為“我们想要有一个能够产生共鸣的主题。同香港一样,新加坡人也在狭小的空间内过着忙碌和压抑的生活,从而引发很多现代人的心理和精神疾病,这是需要引起社会的关注和探讨的。电影在娱乐大众的同时,也是一种传播和教育的渠道,在一定意义上,这也符合我們大学公共教育之目的。”

举办单位为此还特别邀请了影片的导演和编剧前来同观众进行映后交流。受邀出席开幕并观看影片的来自影视界、教育界、商界、政界的嘉宾们当晚挤满了可容纳200多人的放映厅。举办单位也非常荣幸地邀请到了新跃社科大学校长张起杰教授、学术顾问郭振羽教授伉俪出席观赏。

电影节期间,除了《一念无明》观众也欣赏了其他43部风格各异,题材新颖的影片。从华夏风情画、记录片視角、華流短片展、到經典修复版,虽然拍摄视角和题材不同,却直击華人社會恆久的议题:家庭和亲情、友情与爱情、以及生命和死亡。在展映影片的同时电影节也举办了四场讲座。让影迷们有机会更进一步了解电影、电影人以及电影制作背后的故事,并与电影人做面对面近距离的交流。

电影节于5月7日在新加坡国家博物馆放映闭幕片《恋爱与义务》(1931)。這部在中国上海默片时期由最具代表性的女影星阮玲玉主演的作品,原本被認為已經遗失了。可是卻在90年代于乌拉圭被人找到并送至台北。本片于2014年完成修复。這是《恋爱与义务》修复版在新加坡的首次展映。第五屆新加坡华语电影节就在30年代的大上海場景和阮玲玉丰富的表情以及绝佳演技中闭幕了。

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