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  • Demons at Berlinale Forum

    Cast and crew of Demons will be at the screenings for QnA.

    Trailer

    A horror film with a point. Happily, this satirical horror film is keenly funny when it isn’t being scary. Shot in English and Mandarin and spiked with offbeat humor that sweetens its dark thoughts, the Berlinale Forum title is quite the trip for those who get into it. Although a hallucinatory journey into the psychic well is not for everyone, those willing to dip into experimental cinema will probably hang on to the dazzling, mythical ending…. Hui, who has made a name for himself on the festival circuit for his innovative films with a strong social and political bent, has an idiosyncratic approach to storytelling verging on experimental kitsch.” 

    – Deborah Young, The Hollywood Reporter

    “Demons is a spectacularly unsettling accumulation of diverse and fragmented images, techniques, sounds and themes. It clearly has a point to make about the environment that produced it, as well as the men who continue to overpower this landscape. It need not be understood entirely, and that is also part of its beauty. It is dark, grotesque and simply absurd, with a wonderfully wicked sense of humour.”

    – Fenja Akinde-Hummel, The Upcoming

    “Daniel Hui builds a film pervaded by an archaic sense of restlessness, primordial as the tribal statuette in the house of the protagonist, from a Lynchian anguish.” 8/10

    – Giampiero Raganelli, Quinlan

    “Stories-within-stories-within-stories also form the weird fabric of Daniel Hui’s Demons, a hallucinatory, near-Lynchian evocation of contemporary Singaporean psychosis that centers on power dynamics in a theater troupe.”

    – Travis Jeppesen, Artforum

    “[U]nmissable…a work of a dedicated cinephile, visually and narratively outstanding…The film is sure to stay with the audience long after”

    – Maja Korbecka, easternKicks

    “Even harder and more virtuoso, Daniel Hui from Singapore jumbled up the genres. Demons begins as a painful #MeToo drama in the theatre milieu, slowly transforming into a history of revenge, combining the driest satire with ghost scare and B-movie splatter. A young actress gets a role with a renowned director. Even his cutting comments in the casting show: The collaboration is torture. Sexual oppression and attacks are becoming increasingly obvious. At the same time, the film becomes more and more tangled – and draws from it a power that goes beyond the alleged simplicity of history. Hui interweaves the elements even more complex and enigmatic than Jennifer Reeder (Knives and Skin Film). He cuts faster and more confusing between the levels and times back and forth – and can very skillfully create a suction, which leads to a bloody, metaphysical finale. The imagery has only a naturalistic appearance at first – the further the film progresses, the more artificial it looks.”

    – Fabian Wallmeier, rbb24

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  • Screen and Art Forum review A Land Imagined

    “Writer/director YEO Siew Hua and cinematographer Hideho URATA swiftly establish a film noir-style ambience as detective Lok (Peter YU) drives through a neon-lit Singapore like a latter-day Philip Marlowe or J J Gittes. City lights twinkle through the haze of tumbling rain and vast industrial landscapes are silhouetted against blood red skies. The score is jazzy, the mood is fatalistic and there is the sense that the case of one individual will reveal bittersweet truths about the state of the nation.”

    Allan Hunter, Screen

    “The mutability of territory is embedded in the very title of Yeo Siew Hua’s A Land Imagined, winner of the festival’s top prize, the Golden Leopard, which was awarded by an international competition jury led by Jia Zhangke. The film takes on the issues of land reclamation and migrant labor in Singapore via an oneiric blend of detective genre convolutions and male melodrama intimacies. Cinematographer Hideho Urata lends the film’s night scenes the lurid neon-noir aesthetics of Miami Vice, and editor (and great filmmaker in his own right) Daniel Hui delicately maintains the film’s balance between its serpentine plotline and understated political commentary.”

    Leo Goldsmith, Artforum

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  • Art Forum reviews SNAKESKIN

    “Another successful experiment in hybridization was Snakeskin, which had its world premiere at Doclisboa, following director Daniel Hui’s winning of the Revelation Prize for Eclipses at last year’s festival. Documentary is crossed with science fiction as the sole survivor of an apocalyptic cult in the year 2066 meditates, via voice-over, on interviews and footage filmed in 2014 in his native Singapore. In its unraveling narrative, this unusual, thoughtful evocation of time travel probes one of history’s most complex sites of colonialist intrigue.”

    Travis Jeppesen, Art Forum

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  • Art Review on SNAKESKIN

    “Watching Lav Diaz’s epic five hour From What Is Before (2014) is like binging on a slow-cinema version of a soap opera box set, as Diaz theatrically restages his native Philippines’ 1972 revolution. Daniel Hui’s Snakeskin (2014) similarly acts to revise the history of the director’s homeland, Singapore, ambitiously rejoicing in the medium of film as a Chris Marker-esque agent of time travel and mythmaking, complete with a reincarnated cat.”

    Justin Jaeckle at Art Review

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  • 03-FLATS on Straits Times Film Picks

    03-flats on st

     “…on the surface the film seems to be about singlehood, ageing, public housing and the female experience. But slowly, mesmerisingly , a more complex and interesting picture emerges.”

    John Lui, The Straits Times, Life! Section, Friday, November 14, 2014

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  • Review: AS YOU WERE

    “Much more interesting, at least in terms of forms of expression, is the second feature of the Singaporean Liao Jiekai, As You Were. Discovered in 2010 with Red Dragonflies, Liao revisited issues of memory and the perception of the weight of the past in the relations between people. In particular, As You Were, built in three sections that oscillate between past and present, embroider on the crisis of a relationship, where the memory of a loving childhood sweetheart does not match the misunderstanding of this. There is something Antonioni about Liao’s approach – unfathomable alienation of his character. All this, however, is filtered through an aesthetic approach (deconstruction and fragmentation of the line of the story, elegant composition of the painting, minimal dialogues, layered sound) owing its influence to recognizably contemporary Asian Masters (from Hou, Koreeda, through Weerasethakul), including the attempt to entrench the discomfort of the protagonists in the connective tissue of the socio-political Singaporean – although presumably using the obliquity and metaphor. The result is perhaps too cerebral to move, but Liao is certainly a director to keep an eye on.”

    Paolo Bertolin reviews AS YOU WERE on www.mymovies.it (google translated from Italian)

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  • Indiewire on 03-FLATS

    03-FLATS featured on Indiewire as one of the best of New Southeast Asian Cinema in Busan.

    “The use of long shots from a static camera allows ample time and space for the eye to immerse itself in the setting: to notice the type of cereal on the counter, the strange way that hangers dangle from the kitchen cabinets. Some images loom with an eerie hints of temporal imprisonment. None express the monotony of a pendulum better than a close-up on a barred window shut off from the outside and sitting just above a bland clock ticking slowly, like the lulling rhythms of the film itself. In fully entering the quotidian intrigues of what transpires inside Singaporean flats, Lei Yuan Bin demands your patience.”

     

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  • AS YOU WERE on Lianhe Zaobao

    lianhe zaobao

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  • Review of Wormhole, Kopi Julia and Animal Spirits

    Read SINdie’s thoughtful conversations on Nelson Yeo & Yeo Siew Hua’s Wormhole and Tan Bee Thiam’s Kopi Julia.

    Read Jeremy Sing’s review of Animal Spirits by Daniel Hui.

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  • Review of Eclipses

    “There is no one I respect more than my audiences.”

    With that one gutsy punch line, 25 year old Daniel Hui opened his debut feature, Eclipses.

    There is no better way to start talking about the film than from its title – deceptively simple yet so rich with meaning and thought. Structurally, the film functions in two wholes, the first being an apparent fictional story about a woman (Vel Ng) mourning the loss of her husband; the second, where the woman disappears, splinters into a documentary about the people around her (Vel) and the filmmaker.

    Yet, save for the abrupt cut to black in the middle of the film that signals the film’s transition, or eclipse of the initial other, the film’s fiction/documentary dichotomy holds little bearing to genre defining labels. Here, the lines between documentary and fiction are blurred not because of the film’s apparent schizophrenia, but because the filmmaker sees little difference between the two.

    With Eclipses, Daniel seeks to make a film that transcends cinema or what little has become of it, rather than to conform. Cinema appears to have forgotten its roots as a medium to document, to listen, to simply, allow for its audience to see what they want to see rather than to tell them what to see.

    At its heart, Eclipses is a film that reflects a process that is deeply rooted in kindness. Daniel shares that Eclipses was made after a hiatus and disillusionment from filmmaking after the passing of his close friend, Yasmin Ahmad. Almost none of the film was scripted because Daniel simply allowed the performers to say what they wanted to say. Daniel did not want to be taking something away from his performers, he wanted them to be giving something instead. Eclipses listens to its performers because its filmmaker listens. In turn, the audience is put into a conversation with both the film and its maker.

    A common aesthetic thread follows through Eclipses from Daniel’s earlier films, and that is his wide use of the close-up. Two particular close-ups stood out for me – both of which were monologues, the first delivered by Vel Ng and the second, Daniel’s grandfather.

    Never before has cinema spoken to me in ways as such, and the experience from having two characters speak straight to you is both liberating and intimate.

    For all its merits, Eclipses is not an easy film to watch. It stretches the patience of its audience, and is more likely to speak to audiences who are not there to be entertained, nor to be told how to think or what to see. Like an eclipse that enters with darkness and leaves with light, Eclipses puts a banket over our eyes only to give its audiences and cinema an opportunity to be reborn again.

    http://sindieonly.blogspot.com/2011/10/eclipses-by-daniel-hui.html

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