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With over 100 films from this year’s film line-up, we've narrowed down a range of films to fuel your passion for cinema

The highly-anticipated Singapore International Film Festival is back this year with a bang—with the 11-day festival running from November 25 to December 5. This event is the largest and longest-running film event in Singapore, meant to cater to the tastes of all cinephiles. What's more, as the festival goes back to its cinema-only format, having been a hybrid event last year, you will get the chance to catch these exciting films in person across six cinemas—and in "the way it is meant to be experienced", says Justin Ang, assistant chief executive of media and innovation at IMDA. 

In its 32nd edition, expect a curated selection of over a hundred films from over forty countries within Southeast Asia and worldwide that continue to introduce new perspectives that connect with a broader and more diverse audience than ever before. Retaining the beloved Singapore Panorama category to highlight the best of local filmmaking talent, discover 23 local films including Scene UnSeen and Mat Magic, both featured in our must-watch list. From award-winning ensembles to fresh debuts on the big screen, immerse yourself in the cinematic story-telling experience with these thought-provoking and dynamic films. 

1 / 9

Vengeance is Mine, All Others Pay Cash

Opening the festival is a story about a man's inability to get an erection and how it has earned him the reputation of a ruthless fighter for hire. InVengeance is Mine, All Others Pay Cash, Ajo Kawir falls in love with a female bodyguard during a duel despite his impotency. Not being able to consummate their relationship ignites the fire that lights up their own traumas, and reveals a larger systemic issue that determines their fate. This feature film is a cinematic adaptation of the novel by prolific author Eka Kurniawan, directed by Edwin, and is the first Indonesian film to win the prestigious Golden Leopard at this year’s Locarno Film Festival. 

When: November 25

Where: Shaw Lido

2 / 9

24

Veteran Singaporean filmmaker, Royston Tan expresses his flair for his unflinching lens on the realities of one’s personal and social life in 24, where a sound recordist continues to stay wielded to his profession even after his demise. Seen equipped with his recorder, boom mic and headphones, we see the extent of human sentimentality as his spirit is attracted to 24 unique places where he must capture the sounds, even if it's the slightest drop of water.

When: December 3

Where: Golden Village Grand

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3 / 9

Anatomy of Time

As part of the Asian feature film competition, Anatomy of Time recounts the story of a woman across two fragments in her life, as portrayed in her past and present self. She is pursued by a rickshaw driver and an army captain, however, we see in her middle-aged self, she spends her days as the wife and caretaker of her comatose captain husband. The film draws inspiration from the Thai filmmaker Jakrawal Nilthamrong's own family history, appreciative of his mom's dedication to his ailing father. Nilthamrong introduces his father's condition in his first feature film Vanishing Point, and continues the imaginative interpretation of his mother's life before his father's accident in Anatomy of Time

When: December 4

Where: Filmgarde Bugis+

4 / 9

Scene Unseen

A documentary on Singapore’s underground music scene opens a rare window into a slice of Singapore that has largely eluded the public eye. Scene UnSeen is a collection of interviews, archival footage and animation that captures the pleasures and pains of the underground music scene. This special feature is part of the Singapore Panorama, and the film will be followed by special performances of pioneering rock band The Oddfellows as well as Singapore’s first all-female hardcore band, Obstacle Upsurge for one night only.

When: November 28

Where: Esplanade

5 / 9

Some Women

Quen Wong's debut shares her journey as a transgender woman in Singapore, encapsulating the power of telling one’s story on their own terms. Some Women recounts Wong's days as a teenage boy coming out to her uncommonly supportive family, in a conservative society where trans issues are barely understood. This documentary also calls upon others in the local trans community in interviews with different generations of trans women including ‘Anita’, a former legend of Bugis Street from the 1950s to 80s and trans youth activist, Lune Loh. 

When: December 4

Where: Carnival Theatre

6 / 9

Great Freedom

Austrian director and screenwriter Sebastian Meise shapes Great Freedom into a glimpse into the world of illicit desire and male intimacy. Set in postwar Germany, where the repeatedly incarcerated man due to the country’s anti-sodomy laws, finds solace in his fellow cellmates. This queer period drama touches upon a topic that transcends time and country and begs to question the kind of freedom one pursues when the law proscribes all. 

When: November 26 and 27

Where: Filmgarde Bugis+

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7 / 9

Nightcleaners

What goes on in the lives of women when they're not sweeping up empty streets at nightfall? Nightcleaners is a composite of intimate vignettes that spotlights the exploitative nature of ‘women’s work’ in 1970s Britain. Each story underlines the emotional toll of domestic and emotional labour on working-class women as they juggle their waged jobs at night and family responsibilities in the day. With this film, the Berwick street film collective balance the urgencies of political filmmaking and the poetics of aesthetic experimentation, in this avant-garde documentation screening.

When: November 26

Where: Oldham Theatre

8 / 9

Whether The Weather Is Fine

A disaster movie unlike any other, from the Asian feature film competition, Whether The Weather Is Fine, is a story of survival that is set around the time of Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines in 2013. As his first directorial debut, Carlo Francisco Manatad explores a disastrous event with satire, as a mother, her son and his friend struggle to decide whether to stay home where food is in short supply or escape to Manila and leave their pasts behind. Based on his own personal experience of the typhoon, Manatad zeroes into the thick of the chaos with vibrant visuals and an impending sense of doom.

When: December 1

Where: Filmgarde Bugis+

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9 / 9

Mat Magic

With Malaysian actor, director and special-effects pioneer Mat Sentol alongside the prolific John Calvert, an American magician who performed nearly 20,000 shows all over the world, we're introduced to a film where reality and logic are irrelevant. Mat Magic, the last of the Cathay Keris-produced Mat film series, features Sentol playing a magician who can’t get his own tricks in order seeking help from Calvert. This parodic encounter where cinema succeeds in being its most unserious self and a magical art celebrates its 50th anniversary this year, with a screening and Q&A session.

When: November 28

Where: Oldham Theatre