Red Dragonflies

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Rachel and her two friends explore an abandoned railway track that runs through a dense forest, but an unforeseen incident brings their little adventure to an abrupt end. Elsewhere, 26-year-old Rachel rekindles an old friendship with a high school friend. When a little boy from her past reappears, Rachel finds herself retracing a trail of iron and wood. Wistful and mysterious, the film depicts a world littered with incongruity, absences and traces of childhood dreams.



Ng Xuan Ming


Jason Hui


Thow Xin Wei


Oon Yee Jeng


Yeo Shang Xuan


Ong Kuan Loong


Chen Mei Guang


Haruka Ashida


Written, Edited and Directed by

Liao Jiekai

Produced by

Lyn-Anne Loy,
Tan Bee Thiam

Director of Photography

Looi Wan Ping

Production Designer

Annette Heitmann

Art Director

Roan Lizhen


Tan Bee Thiam,
Looi Wan Ping

Assistant Director

Daniel Hui

Camera Assistant and Gaffer

Kel Tay


Athalia Ho,
Oh Jiji

Art Department Assistants

Lee Kexin,
Wu Huimin

Sound Recordists

Lam Yong Jin,
Lee Kar Hoe Matthew Nicholas,
Lan Hao Yong Douglas,
Lim Lung Chieh

Sound Designer/
Sound Mixer

Matthew Koh


Hualampong Riddim,
Leslie Low


Peace Villow,
Noppasak Poonpipat

Set Photographer

Han Tan

Publicity Design

Debbie Ding


Original title


International Title

Red Dragonflies


96 min / Colour

Aspect Ratio


Screening Format




Year of Release



English, Mandarin


English, Traditional Chinese

Country of production


Production Company

13 Little Pictures

“a film that we valued above all for its mysterious evocation of Singapore’s disappearing history – both social and personal – and its gentle depiction of innocence and passing youth. We felt that there were moments in this small, relatively low-budget, non-formulaic film by first time director Liao Jiekai that displayed great sensitivity and promise for the future.” – Jeonju Jury Citation (Philip Cheah, Michael Witt, Nacer Khemir, Bae Chang-ho and Lav Diaz)

“The film delicately interweaves personal memory with the excavation of the recent past of Singapore, various lines of the film converging at a rickety pedestrian bridge crossed by three young hikers, and then at a quiet coffeehouse/bookshop. The drifting mood the filmmaker sustains is subtly obsessive without being smothering. Debts of style and sensibility to both Hou Hsiao-hsien (leisurely pans on slowly developing interior scenes; long camera distance) and Apichatpong Weeresethakul (dream narration and unceremonious narrative bifurcation) are apparent. Some of the acting (by non-actors) comes off as studied, and on the whole the film is stronger in its non-narrative aspects, for its purely visual discoveries, than as a portrayal of the concerns of young Singaporeans (which it also is). Red Dragonflies is above all the revelation of a director’s personality.”
- Chris Fujiwara

“Nostalgia doesn’t quite get to the complexity of Red Dragonflies‘ poetic charge… there is a suggestion of a flashback structure, but past and present aren’t rendered in the usual visual cues of nostalgia or remembrance. Rather, past and present are the same shallow-focus dreamworld, where the sounds of the world –- a shopping mall drone, an air-con rumble, the echoing chirps of birds –- sear vividly into focus (thanks to a near-complete lack of background music). It’s as if the present isn’t the natural consequence of the past; rather, the two are chasing each other, running in parallel, haunting each other as memory, hope, loss, and conjecture… Red Dragonflies captures that marvelous fog of nostalgia, yes, but is also of reflection about ourselves in every tense.”
– Brian Hu

The project RED DRAGONFLIES started with a discovery of a home-video tape, which documented a hike through an abandoned railway track back in my high school days. The handheld footage that was collectively recorded by different people was an exciting find for me. More than just mere personal memories, the video reveals an intertwined relationship between the place, the people and the time: there is something displaced yet strangely coherent about a group of 17-year-olds dressed in red and white T-shirts and black track pants, walking through an overgrown railway in the early months of 2002. I conceived the film from personal memories of growing up and sentiments about a point in life where one starts to rethink childhood dreams, the purpose of work, and the pursuit of happiness.

The film also depicts a series of portraits of places. In a city undergoing rapid redevelopment, Singapore’s old towns, aging infrastructures and icons of the previous century are being torn down or refurbished. Upon the completion of our production, parts of the abandoned railway tracks were demolished to make way for the expansion of a Buddhist temple in the neighborhood; other segments were barricaded for redevelopment. By filming slices of life in these places and realigning them in the context of the story, I want to capture and preserve the collective memories of different generations of people, and how they affect the characters in both profound and mundane ways.

Special Jury Prize, Jeonju International Film Festival 2010


Hong Kong International Film Festival 2010


Buenos Aires International Independent Film Festival 2010


Shanghai International Film Festival 2010


Tokyo International Film Festival 2010


Santiago International Film Festival 2010
Vancouver International Film Festival 2010

Hawaii International Film Festival 2010 

South Taiwan Film Festival 2010

Asiatica Film Mediale 2010

Bangkok World Film Festival 2010

Cinemanila International Film Festival 2010

Goteborg International Film Festival 2010

Asian Connection Film Festival (Lyon) 2010

Jogja-NETPAC Asian Film Festival 2010

© 13 Little Pictures  
We produce and promote films that celebrate cinema with all its diversities.

© 13 Little Pictures