Asian Cinema Digest #8

This November, AFA ventures into new and exciting projects: a debut podcast series with Singapore Community Radio, as well as a series of commissioned video essays on Asian cinema. 

In this month’s edition we bring together writings on the latest festival favourites by Hong Sang-soo, Dea Kulumbegashvili and Lav Diaz along with a retrospective look on the oeuvre of Naomi Kawase and Wang Bing. Also, check out the works of artist-filmmakers, Sherman Ong, Mania Akbari, and Trinh T. Minh-ha, presented via online and on-site screenings and exhibitions. 


Rewired: The (In)Hospitable World 

While cinema screenings for Reframe: The (In)Hospitable World continue at Oldham Theatre, selected films from the programme will be available on VOD, starting with Double Bill: Taklub (2015) + Snapshot Mon Amour (2015) and Double Bill: Nothing to be Afraid Of (2019) + All Movements Should Kill the Wind (2019), from 9 – 23 November 2020. 

Releases: There is No Evil (2020) 

The Southeast Asian premiere of Mohammad Rasoulof’s Golden Bear-winning film screens exclusively at Oldham Theatre from 1 – 21 November 2020. 

From the Asian Film Archive Collection: Black Cherry (2005) 

An early student work by Indonesian filmmaker Lucky Kuswandi (Selamat Pagi, Malam), Black Cherry was shot and edited on 16mm and took inspiration from Laura Mulvey’s influential treatise on the Male Gaze. Available to view from 10 November – 31 December 2020. 

Monographs 2020

A new series of commissioned essays on Asian cinema by the AFA, Monographs will  be making its Southeast Asian Premiere at the Singapore International Film Festival (SGIFF) on 1 December 2020. 

Singapore International Film Festival (SGIFF) 2020

The 31st edition of the festival is happening from 25 November – 6 December 2020 and will adopt a hybrid model of both in-cinema and online screenings. 

Moving On (2019, dir. Yoon Dam Bi)

14th Korean Film Festival in Singapore 

Presented by the Embassy of the Republic of Korea to the Republic of Singapore, 8 films will be available to stream for free from 16 – 29 November 2020. 

ArtScience on Screen: Prophecy (2020)

A collaboration between filmmaker Gladys Ng, writer Zoea Tania, and musician thistlemorse, Prophecy invites audiences to contemplate our earthly and spiritual existence through imageries that depict the vast and the microscopic. Available from 11 November 2020 onwards with a livestream Q&A at 9pm (GMT +8) on 11 November. 

Objectifs Film Club: Exorcize Me (2013)

Exorcize Me is a photography, videography and live performance project by Ang Sookoon (Singapore / Paris) addressing coming-of-age anxiety and teenage alienation. The film will be available to view on the Objectifs Film Library from 2 – 25 November 2020 with a live online dialogue on 25 November 2020, 8-9pm (GMT +8) between Ang and curator Silke Schmickl.

Aurora (2018) by Bekzat Pirmatov

Screened in June 2020 as part of AFA’s Whose House is This?: New Cinema of Central Asia programme, this darkly comical film from Kyrgyzstan is now available to view on MUBI. 

10 + 4 (2007, dir. Mania Akbari)

Films of Mania Akbari 

A selection of features and short films made and curated by Iranian filmmaker Mania Akbari is available for a limited time on VOD. 

MUBI Special: Pelin Esmer 

A presentation of documentaries and narrative films from the past two decades by Turkish filmmaker Pelin Esmer. 

Doclisboa: Georgia’s Restless Cinema

A curated programme of features and shorts spanning a decade of Georgian cinema. Presented by DAfilms in collaboration with Doclisboa

Forgetting Vietnam (2015, Trinh T. Minh-ha)

Trinh T. Minh-ha. Films.

Presented by NTU CCA Singapore, Trinh T. Minh-ha. Films. is the first institutional exhibition of filmmaker, music composer, writer, anthropologist, feminist and postcolonial theorist Trinh T. Minh-ha (Vietnam/United States) in Asia. The exhibition runs from 17 October 2020 – 28 February 2021, featuring screenings, talks and writings. 

Loose Relations by Sherman Ong

Presented by the Singapore International Photography Festival (5 November 2020 – 17 January 2021), Loose Relations brings together the filmic and photographic works of Sherman Ong (Malaysia). The films in the presentation will include the diptych I Want to Remember (2012), The Warm Breeze of Winter (2015) and his feature film Flooding in A Time of Drought (2009)

Jockey Club ifva Everywhere 

Organised by the Hong Kong Arts Centre and funded by The Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust, Jockey Club ifva Everywhere presents a series of short films, videos, animations and media art  online and onsite from 1-30 November 2020. 


Coming Attractions with Asian Film Archive

AFA’s debut podcast series, Coming Attractions was conceived in collaboration with Singapore Community Radio (SGCR) as a platform to open up conversations about Asian cinema. 

The Cow (1969, dir. Dariush Mehrjui)

Sounds on Screen: Iranian Cinema

A playlist of sounds and music from Iranian films from 1960s to the 2000s. 


Living in Color: A Dialogue on Hong Sang-soo’s The Woman Who Ran

Two critics discuss Hong Sang-soo’s latest work in which Kim Min-hee is a woman who encounters three old friends whose lives diverge from her own. The film will be making its Singapore premiere on 1 December 2020 at SGIFF. 

Waiting for the Miracle: Dea Kulumbegashvili Discusses Beginning 

The Georgian director discusses her award-winning feature film debut, about a Jehovah’s Witness beset on all sides of her life. Beginning will be vying for a Silver Screen Award at the upcoming SGIFF. 

Genus Pan (2020, Lav Diaz)

An Interview With Lav Diaz, the Filipino Master of Slow Cinema

Lav Diaz speaks with the BFI London Film Festival about his newest film Genus Pan, also screening at SGIFF on 28 November 2020

Three Wishes for Cinderella (1973, Václav Vorlíček)

Once Upon a Time in the East: 2020’s Mulan and Classic Czech Fairy Tales

A non-traditional take on Disney’s  Mulan and how it pales in comparison to classic Czech fairy tale films.

Three Sisters (2012, Wang Bing)

Dossier: Wang Bing

A collection of articles and interviews with the prolific documentarian from 2009-2018. Til Madness Do Us Part, Wang Bing’s nearly four-hour film on an isolated mental institution in Yunnan is currently available to view on MUBI. 

The Mourning Forest (2017, Naomi Kawase)

Where to Begin With Naomi Kawase 

With her newest heartrending family drama True Mothers making the festival rounds, including a stop at SGIFF, this article serves as a beginner’s guide to the filmmaker’s 20-year ouevre.    

The Old Bamboo – Bamboozled and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: Twenty Years Later

Writing for SSENSE, A.S. Hamrah weaves together the overlapping careers of former classmates Ang Lee and Spike Lee, whose respective films Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and Bamboozled turn 20 this year.

Blood Brothers: The Ramsay Film History

A career-spanning look at India’s groundbreaking horror film family, The Ramsays.

Lady Vengeance (2005, Park Chan Wook)

This Side of Parasite: New Korean Cinema 1998–2009

An era that brought Korean genre cinema to the world stage, and featured the first works of stalwarts such as Park Chan-wook and Bong Joon Ho, this essay on New Korean Cinema serves as an accompanying piece to Criterion Channel’s new programme that runs until 31 March 2021. 

Downpour: Furtive Glances

A debut feature that helped usher in the Iranian New Wave, Bahram Beyzaie’s Downpour, is the subject of this essay by media scholar, Hamid Naficy. 

An Anguish at Arm’s Length: Supriya Choudhury in The Cloud-Capped Star 

A study of the Bengali actor’s distinctive starring role as the dutiful daughter, ruined by her own selflessness, in one of the most celebrated works in Indian cinema. 

Film Censorship and Singapore’s National Imaginary 

A post by academic Dr Fong Siao Yuong, based on the article Imagining film censorship in Singapore: The case of Sex.Violence.FamilyValues (Fong, 2020) published as part of a special issue on Singapore cinema by the journal Asian Cinema

Nang Magazine Issue 8: Loud Mess 

Co-edited by filmmaker-curator Shai Heredia and artist-filmmaker, Oliver Husain, Nang’s latest edition features writers, artists, filmmakers, record collectors, photographers, and sound designers coming together to reflect on moments of madness and excess embedded in the experience of spectatorship and the craft of filmmaking.

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