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National Gallery Singapore Painting With Light 2017 Masthead

 

 

PAINTING WITH LIGHT:

INTERNATIONAL FESTIVAL OF FILMS ON ART

 

 

7–29 OCT 2017 | THE NGEE ANN KONGSI AUDITORIUM & AUDITORIUM ANTEROOM

 

This edition of Painting with Light examines the significance of art in society by looking at how people live and work with art around the world. It invites viewers to discover films that explore a diverse array of subjects, from the 20th century's most visionary manifestos on art to the timeless beauty of Southeast Asian classical art forms; from the explosive energy of the avant-garde to the powerful influence of censorship bureaus. These cinematic stories lay bare the passion and humanity of artists, museum workers and industry professionals, and testify to the transformative power of art. 

 

 

 

  Over 30 award-winning feature-length and short films have been selected for this programme, which consists of four sections:  

 

HOLDING SPACE   WAYS OF SEEING  

SPECIAL FOCUS:

THE ART COMMISSION

  SOUTHEAST ASIAN SHORTS

 


 

HOLDING SPACE
  Films on institutions of art and their communities  

 

THE NEW RIJKSMUSEUM / HET NIEUWE RIJKSMUSEUM

By Oeke Hoogendijk

Painting With Light 2017 The New Rijksmuseum  

 

Sat 7 Oct | 7.30pm (By invitation only)

Sun 22 Oct | 4.30pm

Netherlands | Dutch, English and French with English subtitles | 2013 | 130 min | PG

 

The Rijksmuseum, home to the finest collection of works by Dutch masters like Rembrandt, Hals and Vermeer, closed for a major renovation in 2003. But what was supposed to take five years spiralled into a decade, incurring mounting costs and controversy for the state-funded public institution. In this documentary, director Hoogendijk observes the fascinating, complex and sometimes absurd process experienced by all involved.

 

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BEAUTY AND RUIN

By Marc de Guerre

Painting WIth Light 2017 Beauty and Ruin  

 

Fri 20 Oct | 7.30pm

Canada, France | English | 2017 | 75 min | PG 13 (Some Nudity)

 

Once the centre of American industrial power, Detroit now faces bankruptcy and is under pressure to liquidate its assets to repay over 18 billion dollars in debt. After years of decline, the city is left with little, save its most valuable asset—The Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA). Home to masterpieces by Van Gogh, Brueghel, Titian and Fra Angelico purchased at the height of Detroit's influence, it preserves the history of a city that was extremely important in the past. When it became likely that Detroit would no longer be able to honour its pension payments, keeping the art turned into a matter of injustice.

 

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CUTS / POTONGAN

By Chairun Nissa

Painting With Light 2017 Cuts Potongan  

 

Sat 14 Oct | 2pm

Sun 15 Oct | 2pm

Indonesia | Indonesian with English subtitles | 2016 | 70 min | NC16 (Some Mature Content)

Post-screening Q&A with Meiske Taurisia

 

Cuts examines film censorship in Indonesia through the experience of Edwin and Meiske Taurisia, director and producer of Blind Pig Who Wants to Fly (2008), during the assessment of their film. In Indonesia, all films must be approved by the Indonesian Film Censorship Board (LSF) before they can be released on the regular screening circuit. With total control over what is distributed, films containing sex, politics or other subjects deemed controversial by the censors do not make it to the cinemas. While the LSF sees itself as protecting the public from negative influence and unwarranted agitation, a check welcomed by some, the troubling fact remains that there is little clarity on how censorship is regulated. 

 

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LA DANSE, THE PARIS OPERA BALLET / LA DANSÉ, LE BALLET DE L'OPERA DE PARIS

By Frederick Wiseman

Painting With Light 2017 | La Danse  

 

Sat 28 Oct | 7.30pm

France and USA | French and English with English subtitles | 2009 | 159 min | PG

 

Director Frederick Wiseman is reknowned for documentaries that portray the human experience in a broad spectrum of social institutions. Here, he offers a rare glimpse at the inner workings of the Paris Opera Ballet, one of France's principal cultural institutions and the world's premier ballet companies. La Danse follows the rehearsals and performances of seven ballets: Paquita by Pierre Lacotte, The Nutcracker by Rudolf Nureyev, Genus by Wayne McGregor, Medea by Angelin Prelijocaj, The House of Bernarda Alba by Mats Ek, Romeo and Juliet by Sasha Waltz, and Orpheus and Eurydyce by Pina Bausch. But it also ventures beyond the stage and studios, and into the opera house's cafeterias, sewing rooms and offices, shining the spotlight on unseen players without whom the show cannot go on. 

 

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EXPRMNTL

By Brecht Debackere

Painting With Light EXPRMNTL  

 

Sat 21 Oct | 7.30pm

Belgium | French, English and Dutch with English subtitles | 2016 | 68 min | R21 (Sexual Scene)

 

This witty and irreverant documentary tells the story of experimental cinema through the history of EXPRMNTL, one of the most important film festivals ever organised for the international avant-garde. It only knew five editions between 1949 and 1974, but congregated artists who challenged mainstream aesthetics and dominant discourse, and created space for alternative ways of seeing. Participating filmmakers included now-icons of experimental cinema whose works have become, perhaps ironically, great classics: Agnès Varda, Luis Buñuel, Jonas Mekas, Roman Polanski, and Nam June Paik. Many appear in this film to discuss the significance of this milestone event, as well as the phenomenon of the avant-garde and its explosive countercultural energy. 

 

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LEAVE THE SAINTS ALONE / LASCIA STARE I SANTI

By Gianfranco Pannone

Painting With Light Leave The Saints Alone  

 

Sun 29 Oct | 4.30pm

Italy | Italian with English subtitles | 2016 | 75 min | PG

 

Leave the Saints Alone takes us on a fascinating journey across a century of religious processions, feasts and other observances that testify to the unwavering piety of Italy's masses. Largely rooted in the concerns of an agrarian society, the populace's devotion centres on the veneration of Christ, the Virgin Mary, and the patron saints through close engagement with sacred art used in these cyclical rituals. These range from all manner of crosses to sculptures, paintings, tapestries and other objects that depict saints in accordance with religious iconography. From the southern villages of Sicily to remote mountain districts in the north, such art is a manifestation of the sacred and a vital part of public life.

 

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MY DEAR ART / YI GE REN DE SHOU CANG

By Hao-hsuan Hsu

Painting With Light 2017 Dear Art  

 

Sun 8 Oct | 4.30pm

Taiwan | Mandarin and English with English subtitles | 2017 | 102 min | NC16 (Some Nudity)

 

My Dear Art explores today's dazzling and often bewildering world of art from an Asian perspective. Director Hao-hsuan Hsu accompanies Taiwanese art collector Yao Chien on a 100-day journey to art fairs, auctions and exhibitions, seeking to understand the industry, particularly its dealings with Chinese contemporary art. Through conversations with collectors, artists, gallerists and other industry experts, the film provides a glimpse of the art ecosystem. In this way, it attempts to address the questions asked by people on the street when approached by filmmakers: Why would you spend so much money buying other's works? What's the difference between rubbish and art? Who decides?

 

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THE ROYAL BALLET OF CAMBODIA

Produced by National Archives and Records Administration of the United States (NARA) in 1965, and dubbed in Khmer by Bophana Audiovisual Resource Center with the support of UNESCO in 2012

Painting With Light 2017 The Royal Ballet of Cambodia  

 

Sun 8 Oct | 2pm

USA, Cambodia | English and Khmer | 1965 | 81 min | PG

Introduction and screening of The Royal Ballet of Cambodia, with Her Royal Highness Proncess Norodom Buppha Devi in attendance

Live solo performance by a principal dancer from The Royal Ballet

Post-show Q&A with Proeung Chhieng (Technical Director of the Royal Ballet, assistant to the Princess and former Director of the University of Fine Arts)

 

The Royal Ballet of Cambodia is a rare document on classical Khmer court dance and the work of the troupe, which is supported by the royal family of Cambodia. The film starts with a lavish performance of Preah Ket Mealea, a dance drama on the myth of this divine king and the birth of Angkor. In the legend, asparas or heavenly nymphs were commanded by the king's father, the god Indra, to reveal the secrets of their dance to the Cambodian court at his coronation. Jayavarman II who founded the Khmer empire, later drew on this legend, appropriating the god-king status to legitimise his rule. Notwithstanding the dance's mythical origins, the royal household has remained custodian of this traditional art form and its purity to this day. 

 

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WAYS OF SEEING
  Films on artists and their interventions in society  
BAMSEOM PIRATES, SEOUL INFERNO

By Yoonsuk Jung

Painting With Light 2017 Bamseom Pirates  

 

Sat 14 Oct | 7.30pm

South Korea | Korean with English subtitles | 2017 | 119 min | NC16 (Some Mature Content)

 

"All hail Kim Jong-il!" Bamseom Pirates yells these controversial lyrics on its album Seoul Inferno, a name inspired by the notorious line "North Korea can put Seoul in a sea of fire" in a 1994 speech by North Korean representative Park Young-soo. This South Korean band takes its musical code from grindcore, one of the most radical genres of contemporary music, comprising elements from rock, punk and metal, and its performative approach from avant-garde happenings. The band's self-deprecating humour, coupled with the sparkling wit and originality of its satirical take on South Korean society has provoked polarising respnses. 

 

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BURMA STORYBOOK

By Petr Lom

Painting With Light 2017 Burma Storybook  

 

Sat 21 Oct | 2pm

Sun 22 Oct | 2pm

Mynmar, Netherlands, Norway | Burmese with English subtitles | 2017 | 81 min | PG13 (Some Coarse Language)

 

Post-screening Q&A with Petr Lom (Director), Corinne van Egeraat (Producer) and Maung Yu Py (Poet) 

 

Burma Storybook is the tale of a nation emerging from years of military dictatorship told through its poetry. This beloved art form is part of the Burmese vernacular, and the film itself is structured like an epic poem: readings by leading poets in Myanmar and songs used in day-to-day communication interweave with the story of the heroic figure at its centre—70 year old Maung Aung Pwint. The country's most well-known activist poet spent many years in jail for his writings, and now waits for his son to visit after 20 years of political exile.

 

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CHINA'S VAN GOGHS

By Yu Haibo and Yu Tianqi Kiki

Painting With Light 2017 China's Van Gogh  

 

Fri 13 Oct | 7.30pm

Fri 27 Oct | 7.30pm

China, Netherlands | Mandarin with English subtitles | 2016 | 80 min | PG

 

Zhao Xiaoyong has produced thousands of paintings, but does not consider himself a real artist. He is one of thousands of peasants-turned-painters in Dafen Village, China, who churn out the millions of copies of Western masterpieces found all around the world, from high street chains like Walmart to boutique gift shops. But Zhao is not satisfied with mechanically reproducing works of art from images in photographs and books. Obsessed with Van Gogh's genius, he yearns to see the originals. China's Van Goghs follows Zhao on his pilgrimage to discover the artist for himself—he traces Van Gogh's footsteps through Amsterdam, Paris, Arles and Auvers-sur-Oise, and encounters his paintings for the first time at the Van Gogh Museum. Struck by the powerful aura of the works, his life is changed in unexpected ways. 

 

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KOUDELKA: SHOOTING HOLY LAND

By Gilad Baram

Painting With Light 2017 Koudelka  

 

Sun 15 Oct | 4.30pm

Germany, Czech Republic | English, Hebrew and Arabic with English subtitles | 2015 | 72 min | PG13 (Some Coarse Language)

 

Legendary Magnum photographer Josef Koudelka arrived in Israel and Palestine for the first time in 2008. Upon seeing the wall being built by Israel in the West Bank, he was deeply shaken. Determined to document the traces of conflict marked by this de-facto border, Koudelka embarked on a four-year journey to photograph the wall and the violence that it pre-empts for those living on both sides of the divide. 

 

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MANIFESTO

By Julian Rosefeldt

Painting With Light 2017 Manifesto  

 

Sun 8 Oct | 7.30pm

Sat 21 Oct | 4.30pm

Germany | English | 2017 | 95 min | PG13 (Some Coarse Language)

 

Manifesto pays homage to the 20th century's most impassioned statements on art that have revolutionised ways of seeing in society. Drawing on over 50 manifestos by influential artists and thinkers such as Karl Marx, Andre Breton, John Cage and Tristan Tzara, director Julian Rosefeldt scripted 13 monologues performed by two-time Academy Award winner, Cate Blanchett. 

 

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SONGS FROM THE NORTH

By Soon-Mi Yoo

Painting With Light 2017 Songs From The North  

 

Sat 14 Oct | 4.30pm

South Korea, USA, Portugal | English and Korean with English subtitles | 2014 | 73 min | PG

 

Songs From The North is an essay film that turns its gaze upon the people of North Korea, a country typically seen through the lens of satire and jingoistic propaganda. South Korean director Soon-Mi Yoo interweaves footage of her visits to North Korea with its music, mass spectacles, popular cinema, paintings and historical archives, seeking to understand the national psyche and coping mechanisms from their perspective. Her penetrating explorations offer a rare glimpse into the political ideology of absolute love for Leader and Party which continues to drive the nation towards its uncertain future. 

 

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THE SPACE IN BETWEEN - MARINA ABRAMOVIĆ IN BRAZIL

By Marco Del Fiol

Painting With Light 2017 Space Inbetween  

 

Sun 15 Oct | 7.30pm

Sun 29 Oct | 7.30pm

Brazil | English and Portuguese with English subtitles | 2016 | 88 min | M18 (Nudity and Some Disturbing Scenes)

 

One of the most influential performance artists of our time, Marina Abramović was compelled by personal pain to travel to Brazil in search of healing and artistic inspiration through its mystical practices. Known for testing the limits of her body in her art, Abramović seeks to overcome physical and metnal confines by committing to the process of these unfamiliar sacred ceremonies. Part-documentary, part-video installation, this film follows her as she engages in various spiritual acts: connecting with "psychic surgeon" John of God in Abadiâna; participating in healing rites at Vale Do Amanhecer; consuming hallucinogenic ayahuasca in Chapada Diamantina; and encountering the energy of crystals in Corinto. Her body becomes the site of change, drawing the connection between ritual and performance. 

 

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SPECIAL FOCUS: THE ART COMMISSION
 

An anthology of four short films by master filmmakers commissioned by private industry, commercial entities and government departments, now beautifully restored—featuring The Crown Jewels of Iran by Ebrahim Golestan, Raid Into Tibet by Adrian Cowell, The Diamond Finger by R.D. Pestonji, and The Song of Plastic by Alain Resnais.

 

Sat 28 Oct | 2pm

 

Followed by a public forum (free admission). Patrons who have purchased tickets to this screening are guaranteed their seats at the forum. Online reservations for forum-only seats will start on Tue 10 Oct on this website.

 

Sun 29 Oct | 2pm

 

Post-screening Q&A

 

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THE CROWN JEWELS OF IRAN / GANJINEHA-YE GOHAR

By Ebrahim Golestan

Painting With Light 2017 The Crown Jewels  

 

Iran | Farsi with English subtitles | 1965 | 15 min | G

 

Commissioned by the Central Bank of Iran, this film traces 300 years of dynastic rule in Iran by examining the fate of its crown jewels. The Bank is the custodian of these jewels, which are so valuable that they are designated as the guarantee for Iranian currency. Despite this state sponsorship, segments of the film were censored by the Ministry of Culture and Arts for their subversive undertones. Director Ebrahim Golestan criticises the decadence and treachery of past kings, and implies that the owners of the jewels at the timethe Pahlavi line of shahswill fall just like the rest. Ironically, the Shah gave the fim his royal blessing. 

 

DETAILS

 


RAID INTO TIBET

By Adrian Cowell

Painting With Light 2017 Raid Into Tibet  

 

United Kingdom | English | 1966 | 28 min | Rating TBA

 

In 1964, director Adrian Cowell embarked on an expedition to film the untold story of the Tibetan guerrilla fighters who waged battle against the Chinese military. Initially commissioned by former British television company Associated Television (ATV) to produce a series of films on Buddhist sects in Asia, Cowell along with cinematographer Chris Menges and journalist George Patterson were granted special access to shoot in Nepal. They travelled into the remote Tsum Valley where a small contingent of Tibetan guerrillas was based and with the blessing of the monastary there, followed the guerrillas on a harrowing trek over a 20,000 feet mountain pass into Tibet. The resulting film was Raid Into Tibet.

 

DETAILS

 


THE DIAMOND FINGER / NIEW PETCH

By R.D. Pestonji

Painting With Light 2017 The Diamond Finger  

 

Thailand | English | 1958 | 27 min | G

 

Directed by the great Thai filmmaker R.D. Pestonji, The Diamond Finger is part of a collection of three short films commissioned by the Fine Arts Department of Thailand in 1958 to promote Thai culture. It features an exquisite performance of khon, the classical Thai masked-pantomine which dramatises episodes from the Ramakien, the Thai derivative of the Indian epic poem Ramayana. The dancers' delicate and coded movements, reminiscent of puppets in shadow-play, are shot against a stylised backdrop and in highly saturated colours. The effect is at once strange and beautiful, drawing attention to the meaning of form in both cinematic and theatrical expression. 

 

DETAILS

 


THE SONG OF PLASTIC / LE CHANT DU STYRÈNE

By Alain Resnais

Painting With Light 2017 The Song of Plastic  

 

France | French with English subtitles | 1958 | 14 min | G

 

Commissioned by Société Pechiney to celebrate the polystyrene products manufactured at its factories, this film traces the metamorphosis of raw material to plastic object in reverse. Starting with melted-down masses of finished products, the film develops as an ensemble of the changes wrought by the mechanical processes applied to polystyrene components. This pursuit unexpectedly brings us to a non-material sourcethe creative impulse. 

 

DETAILS

 


 

SOUTHEAST ASIAN SHORTS
 

Short films on the art and culture of Southeast Asia

 

729 Oct | Auditorium Anteroom | FREE

 
WITHOUT MINDFULNESS

By Novice Bouasy

Painting With Light 2017 Without Mindfulness  

 

729 Oct | 11am | FREE

Lao PDR | Lao with English subtitles | 2016 | 7 min | PG

 

Without Mindfulness is a light-hearted tale about the woes of an absent-minded young monk in Luang Prabang. To gain self-mastery and learn mindfulness, he must turn to meditation. However, sitting alone in the forestwith only mosquitoes for companyproves no mean feat for the little novice. 

 

DETAILS

 


THE GONG: MADE IN TEMPAWADDY

By Maung Okkar

Painting With Light 2017 The Gong Made In Tempawaddy  

 

729 Oct | 11am | FREE

Myanmar | Burmese with English subtitles | 2016 | 26 min | G

 

The Gong Factory in Tempawaddy is one of the few remaining forges in the world where bronze gongs are still made by hand. This film is a tribute to the artisans who toil to master this craft and keep the tradition alive.

 

DETAILS

 


THE KING'S LAST SONG

By John Pirozzi

Painting With Light 2017 The King's Last Song  

 

729 Oct | 1pm | FREE

Cambodia, USA | Khmer with English subtitles | 2016 | 27 min | PG

 

The King's Last Song chronicles the Cambodian people's fond farewell to their "God King" Norodom Sihanouk during his three-day funeral in 2012. Interspersed with footage from films that he directed and starred in, this cinematic elegy celebrates his passionate advocacy for the arts and affirms the timelessness of Khmer cultural traditions.

 

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SILENT LIGHT

By Liao Jiekai

Painting With Light 2017 Silent Night  

 

729 Oct | 1pm | FREE

Singapore | Mandarin with English subtitles | 2015 | 11 min | PG

 

Silent Light is a personal piece documenting the funeral of the director's grandmother. Shot on 16mm, the footage was stored for years before it was sent for processing, so visible traces of degradation can be seen in the form of abstract shapes. The soundtrack features the voice of an elderly woman sharing about her childhood, the passing of a generation and acceptance of death. 

 

DETAILS

 


IMAGE MAKERS: JOHN CLANG

By Kirsten Tan

Painting With Light 2017 John Clang  

 

729 Oct | 3pm | FREE

Singapore | English | 2012 | 16 min | PG

 

A Singaporean photographer who has been residing in New York since the 1990s, John Clang explores displacement in his art by observing the city he lives in from an outsider's perspective. Structured as a retrospective of his works, the film presents an intimate portrait of the artist. 

 

DETAILS

 


ANOTHER CITY

By Pham Ngoc Lan

Painting With Light 2017 Another City  

 

729 Oct | 3pm | FREE

Vietnam | Vietnamese with English subtitles | 2016 | 25 min | PG

 

Another City explores how the urban landscape shapes human relations. The fates of disparate charactersa middle-aged woman, a youthful bride and several young menare bound by their desire for intimacy amid the anonymity of the big city. To truly connect, the city space must be urgently abandoned. 

 

DETAILS

 


RM10

By Emir Ezwan

Painting With Light 2017 RM10  

 

729 Oct | 5pm | FREE

Malaysia | Cantonese and Malay with English subtitles | 2016 | 13 min | PG13 (Some Sexual References)

 

In a masterful single take, RM10 follows the path of a banknote as it is passed from hand to hand, bearing withness to the nocturnal interactions of a neighbourhood. Satirical in tone, the film shows how the exchange of currency in a society reinforces social inequality and power structures.

 

DETAILS 

 


NATPWE, THE FEAST OF THE SPIRITS

By Tiane Doan na Champassak and Jean Dubrel

Painting With Light 2017 NATPWE  

 

729 Oct | 5pm | FREE

France | No dialogue with English intertitles | 2012 | 31 min | PG13 (Some Mature Content)

 

Tens of thousands make an annual pilgrimage to a village in central Myanmar for natpwe, a festival celebrating the spirits of the Burmese pantheon. This film provdes a glimpse of the ceremonies, which centre around trance rituals carried out by mediums. At points, banknotes are used in costumes and scattered to crowds, but the currency sought here is an otherworldly one. 

 

DETAILS

 


ART THROUGH OUR EYES

FriSun 729 Oct | 7pm | Auditorium Anteroom | FREE

 

Commissioned by National Gallery Singapore, five award-winning Southeast Asian directors created filmic interpretations of masterpieces of their choice from the Gallery's collection. This anthology of short films had its world premiere at the 21st Busan International Film Festival (South Korea, 2016).

 

TRAILER DETAILS

   

 

WOUNDED LION

By Joko Anwar

Painting With Light 2017 Art Through Our Eyes  

 

FriSun 729 Oct | 7pm | FREE

Indonesia | Indonesian with English subtitles | 2016 | 5 min | PG

 

Inspired by Raden Saleh's painting of the same name, Wounded Lion is the portrait of a classical dancer who is forced to perform on the streets to support his family. With every clang made by coins tossed into his metal tin, the dancer wrestles with the pride he still takes in his art and his diminishing sense of self. 

 


AKU

By Ho Yuhang

Painting With Light 2017 Art Through Our Eyes  

 

FriSun 729 Oct | 7pm | FREE

Malaysia | No dialogue with English intertitles | 2016 | PG

 

A man walks through a desolate landscape, and encounters another who asks if he is lost. This triggers a series of disturbing flashbacks, revealing that the man was once a soldier who is now struggling to cope with life after war. In this film, Ho imagines the psychological landscape and emotions simmering in Aku, Latiff Mohidin's portrait of poet Khairul Anwar.

 


AMORSOLO'S DREAM

By Brillante Mendoza

Painting With Light 2017 Art Through Eyes  

 

FriSun 729 Oct | 7pm | FREE

Philippines | Tagalog with English subtitles | 2016 | 5 min | PG

 

As competing political parties flex their might in the run-up to an election, a grandmother and her grandson are forcibly removed from their fruitstall. When they return home, the family jokes about the incident, indifferent to the election campaigning on television. Mendoza was inspired by the festive mood in Fernando Amorsolo's Marketplace During the Occupation, which he saw as capturing the resilience of the Filipino spirit in the midst of crisis.

 


ABLAZE

By Apichatpong Weerasethakul

Painting With Light 2017 Art Through Our Eyes  

 

FriSun 729 Oct | 7pm | FREE

Thailand | No dialogue | 2016 | 5 min | PG

 

Ablaze responds to two paintings by Raden SalehMerapi, Eruption by Day and Merapi, Eruption by Nightwhich capture the intensity of light at different times. Filmed in a single take, the camera moves across a dream-like forestscape until it reaches two silhouettes gazing into the distance.

 


CHUA MIA TEE

By Eric Khoo

Painting With Light 2017 Art Through Our Eyes  

 

FriSun 729 Oct | 7pm | FREE

Singapore | English and Mandarin with English subtitles | 2016 | 5 min | PG

 

Chua Mia Tee pays tribute to the local artist in this film, inspired by his painting Portable Cinema. In the first half, a boy watches a silent film on a portable cinema, creating the dialogue and sound effects for it as he turns the crank. The second half features Chua Mia Tee himself as he shares about the importance of instilling truth, kindness and beauty in his works.

 


ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
 
Painting With Light Acknowledgementa