ArtScience on Screen: WaterArtScience on Screen: Water


Now Showing
Venue: Expression Gallery, Level 4

As the source of all life, water is essential to human survival but can also have devastating, destructive power. It is the subject of daydreams, fantasies and religious rituals and is often used as a metaphor for complex, emotional relationships in literature and film. This curated series of 7 feature-length narrative films, Water, covers themes as broad as climate change, ocean conservation, cultural heritage, memory, play, romance and death.

Featuring prominent Southeast Asian artists and filmmakers such as Sherman Ong, Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Woo Ming Jin, Charliebebs Gohetia, Nghiem-Minh Nguyen-Vo and Kamila Andini, Water covers enormous perspective and deeply intimate narrative territories. In Ong’s film, Flooding in the Time of Drought, water is ultimately used as a metaphor for the ebb and flow of the temporary, foreign workflow in Singapore, while in Apichatpong’s Mekong Hotel it is the source of, and backdrop for conflict and depravity. Woo Ming Jin uses his camera to tell stories and Woman On Fire Looks for Water is a cinematographic masterwork surrounding the vanishing tradition of fishing for livelihood in Malaysia. In Charlibebs Gohetia’s Chasing Waves offers a glimpse into two young boys’ imaginations on the brink of their families being torn apart by adverse environmental and political climates, while Nguyen-Vo takes the topic of climate change head-on in his sci-fi thriller, 2030. Kamila Andini also takes a direct approach to addressing the ocean’s declining resources in The Mirror Never Lies, a masterfully told story of an Indonesian fishing village on the verge of irreparable crisis.     



Sherman Ong, Flooding in the Time of Drought

Flooding in the Time of Drought
Sherman Ong, 2009, 92 + 92 minutes (rated PG)

Screening dates: 7, 12, 13, 20 and 23 Feb
Timings: 11am, 3pm

Flooding in the Time of Drought depicts the lives of foreign migrants as an impending water crisis begins to seep into their lives. With water, or the lack of it, becoming the central motif, this two-part feature length film takes us on a journey across 8 interweaved stories and 10 languages, as the protagonists, consisting of non-professional actors, grapple with this discomfort, amidst their dalliance with human imperfections, and their fantasies of everlasting loves and broken romances.

About Sherman Ong (b 1971):
Sherman is one of SE Asia’s most celebrated filmmakers, photographers and visual artists. His practice is centered on the human condition and our relationships with others within the larger milieu. Winner of the prestigious 2010 ICON de Martell Cordon Bleu Photography Award, Ong has premiered works in Art Biennales, major Film Festivals and Museums around the world.

Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Mekong Hotel

Mekong Hotel
Apichatpong Weerasethakul, 2012, 58 minutes (rated NC16)

Screening dates: 8 Feb
Timings: Screening on the hour, every hour from 11am - 6pm

Mekong Hotel is a portrait of a hotel near the Mekong River in the northeast of Thailand. The film shuffles different realms, fact and fiction, expressing the bonds between a vampire-like mother and her daughter, a young lover and the river. Mekong Hotel - since it was shot at the time of the heavy flooding in Thailand - also weaves in layers of demolition, politics, and a drifting dream of the future.  


About Apichatpong  Weerasethakul (b 1970):
Apichatpong Weerasethakul is recognized as one of the most original voices in contemporary cinema. His feature films, short films and installations have won him widespread international recognition and numerous awards, including the Cannes Palme d’Or in 2010 with Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives. Themes reflected in his films include dreams, nature, sexuality and Western perceptions of Thailand and Asia, and his films display a preference for unconventional narrative structures.

Woo Ming Jin, Woman on Fire Looks for Water

Woman on Fire Looks for Water
Woo Ming Jin, 2009, 97 minutes (rated PG)

Check back for screening dates and times

Woman on Fire Looks for Water tells the story of a father and son, and their relationship with the women in their lives. Ah Fei sells frogs from his motorbike, while his father, Ah Kan, is part of a dying breed of fishermen in an old coastal village. They share a quiet, but strong relationship. The film follows these two characters as one of them faces death, while the other is just becoming a man.

About Woo Ming Jin (b 1976):
Woo Ming Jin has the distinction of being the first Malaysian director with films in all three major festivals – Cannes, Berlin, and Venice. Ming Jin’s work as a filmmaker and photographer has garnered him a reputation as one of the most promising talents in East Asia. He is also the co-founder of Greenlight Pictures, a film and television production house based in Kuala Lumpur.

Charliebebs Gohetia, Chasing Waves

Chasing Waves
Charliebebs Gohetia, 2015, 92 minutes (rated PG)

Screening dates
: 5, 6 and 21 Feb
Timings: 11am, 1pm, 3pm and 5pm

Young Sipat’s family lives in the remote Southern Philippines community Panyan where he has spent his entire life. However, they are forced by their landlord to leave the mountains to migrate to the unfamiliar landscapes of the seaside. Nervous but excited, Sipat is convinced that his greatest dream of experiencing the beach will be fulfilled. As he counts down the days to his departure with his best friend En-En, he is unaware of what the future will hold.


About Charliebebs Gohetia (b 1977):
Goheita’s debut feature The ‘Thank You’ Girls competed at the Vancouver International Film Festival and became a cult hit in the Philippines. Since then, his films have won him widespread international recognition and numerous nominations, including Best Picture and Best Screenplay at the 2012 Gawad Urian Awards. His recent films are Love and Everything After and Chasing Waves.

Nghiem-Minh Nguyen-Vo, NUOC 2030

NUOC 2030
Nghiem-Minh Nguyen-Vo, 2014, 98 minutes (rated M18)

Screening dates: 22 Feb
Timings: 11am, 1pm, 3pm and 5pm

In a near future Vietnam where global warming and rising seawater levels have forced cultivation to be done on floating farms, a strong-willed woman has to make a critical decision about her ex-lover, a suspect of her husband's murder. Set in the vast and beautiful coastal regions of Southern Vietnam, NUOC 2030 is a mixed genre of mystery and romance set in the near future when water levels have risen due to global climate change.

About Nghiem-Minh Nguyen-Vo (b 1956):
Nghiem-Minh Nguyen-Vo was born in Vietnam, and frequented his small town’s only movie theatre as a way to escape the atrocities of the Indochina conflict. Emigrating to France to study aeronautical engineering, he continued to the US where he became a physicist. In 1998, his passion for cinema led him to pursue a programme in screenwriting and directing, and his directorial debut, Buffalo Boy, was Vietnam’s entry to the 2006 Academy Awards.

Kamila Andini, The Mirror Never Lies

The Mirror Never Lies
Kamila Andini, 2011, 96 minutes (rated PG)

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A young girl Pakis, who lives in Indonesia’s Wakatobi archipelago, waits for her father to return from fishing. She does not give up hope and quickly finds herself at odds with her mother who has put on a mourning mask. Every night Pakis searches for the answer in the mirror her father gave her. Only a prankish boy named Lumo manages to divert her thoughts with the help of the living sea world full of fish and coral reefs, a central part of their everyday lives. 

About Kamila Andini (b 1986):
Kamila Andini is an Indonesian film director known for her critically acclaimed debut The Mirror Never Lies. The film was one of the first to document the Bajau people, including several of their rituals and use their language extensively. The film has won several awards in both domestic and international film festivals including Best Film and Best Director at the 2012 Bandung Film Festival.