The George Town festival series of screenings of films by important South East Asian directors continues with “Innocents” on August 21st. Singaporean director Wong Chen-Hsi will be conducting a short talk following the film. She won the award for best Director, Asian New Talent with the film at the Shanghai International Film Festival in June 2013, as well as the Best Screenplay award at the Ourense International Film festival of the same year.
“Innocents” is set during the monsoon season in Singapore in the 1980s. A young girl enters a harsh institution and befriends an ostracised boy. Misunderstood and bullied, the two outcasts sneak off into the jungles and monsoon canals behind their school, to carve out a private world of fantasy and freedom. But as they hatch a plan to escape from Singapore in search of a better life, the monsoon rains intensify and a vow of secrecy forces Syafiqah to embark on a quest for independence well beyond her years.
Wong drew on her own memories of growing up in 1980s Singapore, and her own ambivalence towards the city state after ten years away, in writing the screenplay. Despite operating on a shoestring budget, she was able to create powerful and picturesque images while at the same time exploring the uncomfortable aspects of an often paternalistic and brutal environment.
There is no charge for the screening but registration is required at http://peatix.com/event/189976. The venue is 162 Lebuh Victoria and it begins at 7pm.