Perspectives Film Festival is Singapore’s longest running and only student-led film festival and it is back for its 14th edition this year. Planned by students from the Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information, the theme of this year’s festival is centred around films that make you go “What The __?!”. With a hybrid format for the first time, audiences can enjoy films of different genres and from different parts of the world all in the comfort of their own homes or at The Projector, where the Singapore premiere of Annette (2021) will be screened on 31st October 2021.
Some of the highly anticipated films from this year’s line-up include We’re All Going to the World’s Fair (2021) directed by Jane Schoenbrun. The horror film takes the audience through an online horror game played through the eyes of Casey and features many elements familiar to our own lives such as YouTube videos, webcam footage and a soundtrack by popular musician Alex G. This is a film that our generation would find relatable and teaches us a valuable lesson on the dangers on the Internet.
Calling all Anime lovers! The festival will be screening a Japanese animation from 1973. Belladonna of Sadness, a controversial film when it was first released, features a watercolour art style and a 70s psych-rock soundtrack, making it a real treat for the senses. Set in Medieval France, the film follows newly wedded Jeanne’s journey of empowerment after she experienced a brutal gang rape. The theme of female empowerment and the conversation of sexual assault makes the film revolutionary for its time.
I had the chance to preview the physical screening of the festival’s closing night where Annette will premier for the first time in Singapore. This romantic musical takes the audience on a really wild ride and I found myself whispering “What The…” several times throughout the movie. The Cannes opener directed by Leos Carax features an original soundtrack by veteran art-pop duo Sparks which is fitting to the plot of the movie: the love story between world-famous soprano, Ann, and Henry, a provocative stand-up comedian. The musical is filled with songs at almost every minute, as expected in musicals, and each song enhances the storytelling in the film making this film a must-watch for any musical fan.
Without spoiling too much, Annette is filled with plot twists that will keep the audience at the edge of their seats. Although the official genre is romance and musical, I do see elements of horror and thriller in the film which only made every minute of the 140-minute film so exciting to watch. Each scene is beautifully shot and the love child of Ann and Henry is skillfully played by a marionette, an unexpected element in a film set in today’s reality. Featuring popular actors Adam Driver, Marion Cotillard and The Big Bang Theory’s Simon Helberg, the musical explores the constructs of celebrity culture and the complexity of relationships.
The theme of this year’s festival is the most open-ended one yet and invites audiences to form their own crazy interpretations of the audacious films that are in this year’s line-up. When speaking to festival directors Amira and Erwin, they shared that “This year, [the films] explore the troubles, taboos, and anxieties of living in an ever-changing world.” I believe that the theme is well chosen to represent the chaotic times that we live in due to the pandemic. Perhaps watching these “What The __?!” films can bring introspection to our lives today.
Perspectives Film Festival will run from 21st to 31st October 2021. Tickets and festival merchandise can be purchased on their website. More information, as well as exclusive giveaways, can be found on their social media pages: @wkwsci.perspectivesfilmfest on Facebook and Instagram.
All photo credits: Perspectives Film Festival 2021