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  • Snakeskin

    Singapore | 105 minutes | English | Format – 16mm film

    • Torino Film Festival, Italy 2014 (awarded TFFDoc Special Jury Award)
    • Yamagata International Film Festival, Japan 2015 (awarded New Asian Currents Award of Excellence)
    • RIDM, Montreal International Documentary Film Festival, Canada 2015 (awarded Special Jury Mention)
    • FICUNAM, Mexico 2015 (in competition)
    • Doclisboa International Film Festival, Portugal 2014 (in competition)
    • Festival de Cine Lima Independiente, Peru 2015 (in competition)
    • Salamindanaw International Film Festival, the Philippines 2015 (in competition)
    • National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, South Korea, 2016
    • Harvard Film Archive, USA 2015
    • Art of the Real, Film Society of Lincoln Center New York, USA 2015
    • FIDMarseille, Marseille Festival of Documentary Film, France 2015
    • Olhar de Cinema, Curitiba International Film Festival, Brazil 2015
    • Singapore Unbound, Griffith Film School, Australia 2015
    • Southeast Asian Film Festival, Singapore Art Museum, Singapore 2015
    • World Film Festival of Bangkok, Thailand 2016
    • Taipei Film Festival, Taiwan 2017
    • Porto/Post/Doc, Portugal 2014
    • National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, South Korea 2016
    • Festival Film Dokumentur, Indonesia 2016
    • Ullens Contemporary Center for the Arts, China 2017

    “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

    “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

    “The necessity of finding a new way to comprehend and narrate our predicament lies at the stylistic core of Snakeskin. Daniel Hui’s ambitious but unpretentious film accepts the complexity of Singapore’s past and its multiple strains of subjectivity. One of the many schizophrenic creations of imperialism, the Southeast Asian island is here rendered through a sort of science-fiction cartography that traces this history as reflected in the landscape. In a similar but less dogmatic vein as Masao Adachi’s “landscape theory,” with echoes of the Black Audio Film Collective, the film gives voice to the stories left unheard behind the walls that are built around history so that it can be learnt as a monolithic and unequivocal body of knowledge. The personal recollections of ethnic minorities, film impresarios, and the ghosts of the city coalesce into a polymorphic narrative intimately lensed but told in a choral voice.” – Giovanni Vimercati, Film Comment on Snakeskin


    A striking vérité snapshot of present-day Singapore that doubles as a semi-mystical cinematic incantation conjuring ghosts from the country’s history, Daniel Hui’s Snakeskin ingeniously compresses past, present and future. In 2066, the lone survivor of a cult projects footage shot by his divine leader, who claimed to be the reincarnation of Stamford Raffles, the British statesman who founded Singapore. Both living and dead subjects candidly reminisce about love, race, revolution and the Malay film industry as muted images from 2014 of the city-state’s streets and harbors—key locations of the cult’s future founding—flash by. – Film Society of Lincoln Center


    The 1950s is a fascinating era in Singapore’s history. It was a time when Singapore had the most vibrant film industry in the region. It was also a time of great political upheaval. Watching the cinema of this era, I have always found many parallels between its ideals and the ideals of activists and politicians at that time. Both wanted a racially-integrated society that is independent and egalitarian.

    Unfortunately, a lot of this history has been either forgotten, erased, or rewritten. This film is dedicated to the people who have fallen through the gaps of history. Their ghosts remain with us, in our dreams, in our hallucinations, in our unconscious. In the deep of the night, when the ring of money has died down, we can still hear their voices warning us of the future to come.


    Daniel Hui is a filmmaker and writer. A graduate of the film program in California Institute of the Arts, he is one of the founding members of 13 Little Pictures, an independent film collective whose films have garnered critical acclaim all around the world. His first documentary feature Eclipses (2011) won Best Début Feature at the Doclisboa International Film Festival. His second documentary feature Snakeskin (2014) won the Special Jury Award TFFDoc (Torino Film Festival), Award of Excellence (Yamagata International Documentary Film Festival) and Special Mention (RIDM Montreal International Documentary Film Festival). His third documentary feature project A Short Film About the Dead won the Akademie Schloss Solitude Award at FIDlab (Marseille International Film Festival) and was selected for the Berlinale Documentary Station 2017.


    Directed by Daniel Hui
    Country of production: Singapore
    Production Company: 13 Little Pictures
    Format: 16mm
    Genre: Drama
    Estimated Running Time: 105 min



    Trailer: YouTube




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