Local Films We Love
LOCAL FILMS WE LOVE
Netflix has recently released 100 Singapore-made films to take us through stay-home weekends and sleepless nights. From award winning productions such as Ilo Ilo and Homerun to nostalgic favorites we used to love on TV like Growing Up, we round up some of the best films and series to catch.
MEE POK MAN (1995)
Released in 1995, a film debut by Eric Khoo, Mee Pok Man was the first independently made Singapore movie to get a commercial release. The film did not have big budget, A-list actors nor cool effects, in fact it was shot on a micro budget, completed in 16 days and starred fresh faces Joe Ng and Michelle Goh. What the film has is rawness and honesty. The dark film tells the story of mentally challenged noodle seller played by Joe and a prostitute played by Michelle. It touches on the poor and struggling population in the mid-90s, it boldly depicts women as objects and features a dark and twisted ending.
GROWING UP (1996)
80s kids, you gotta know the Tays. The family who captured our hearts, and have us glued to the TV as a family after dinner every week. Debuted in 1996, with a total of 6 seasons, the show follows a tight-knit family through the 60s and 80s. The biggest draw of the show has got to be its high relatability – stern father who held the family together through tumultuous times, rebellious youth, struggles through university; we find ourselves rooting for the characters and aching when things don’t go their way.
(Photo credit: Ivan Tay)
12 STOREYS (1997)
The first film from Singapore to be screened at the Cannes Film Festival. Eric Khoo has done it again with the presentation of an honest portrait of Singapore in the 90s. The film features 3 main characters all living in the same poorly lit, cramped and dirty HDB block. 12 Storeys is filled with slapstick humour, but beyond that, it highlights relatable issues and anxieties of the then Singapore.
This one has got us reaching for the tissue. A remake of the Iranian film Children of Heaven, Jack Neo’s Homerun is set in 1965 and tells the story of children living in a Kampong, and a lost pair of shoes. The film received two nominations at the 2003 Golden Horse Awards for Best Theme Song and Best New Performer. Then 10 years old, Megan Zheng became the first Singaporean to win a Golden Horse Award for her performance. Talk about Singapore pride!
ILO ILO (2013)
We all know Ilo Ilo as the first Singaporean feature film to win an award at the Cannes Film Festival as the best debut film award. The story takes you through Singapore during the 1997 Asian financial crisis, through the life of a middle-class family and their Filipino domestic helper. The film is gentle and discerning, with stellar performances by the four main characters.