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Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Get a Perspective this November.

If you haven't been in Amsterdam with me, fret not.

There's plenty of sexuality happening in Singapore (as if we don't already, what with Cecilia Sue and Alex Tan) this November 8-11 at the National Museum. Last i watched a movie at the National Museum was Sex Dolls (my entertaining review), part of a Japanese film fest.

This year’s Perspectives Film Festival's lineup explores sexuality’s impact and influence on love, fear, death, psychology, gender relations and what is termed deviant in society. While the topic is commonly regulated, Perspectives 2012 has curated films that explore the complexities of human nature in relation to sexuality.

Inspired by true stories, Zenne Dancer tells the tragic story of three close friends, Yildiz, Daniel
and Can. Born to a conservative Muslim family, Yildiz forms a strong friendship with Daniel, a
German photographer, and Can, an exuberant male belly dancer. This film was made in tribute
to Yildiz, whose confession of his sexual preference has led to his murder by his father.

Zenne Dancer is the first film in Turkey to showcase honour killings related to homosexuality.
The practice of honour killings commonly focuses on women who are deemed to have
disgraced the family. Zenne Dancer questions prevalent gender hierarchies, demonstrating that
men can be as vulnerable to the impositions of society as women when it comes to sexuality.

The film broke new grounds in Turkey for its bold and honest depiction of the torment and
shame that the homosexual community is put through. In particular, the film uncovers the
degrading screening process that gays undergo for exemption from the Turkish military.

Belle de Jour is about Severine, a married woman who is unable to bring herself to be physically
intimate with her husband. A combination of frustration, curiosity and a disturbed childhood
results in Severine visiting a brothel where she eventually offers her services as a prostitute.
Severine starts to lead a dual life, working in the brothel in the afternoons, and being a chaste
wife to her husband outside of her improbable profession.

The film's breakthrough quality comes from its brazen exploration into eroticism, sexual
deviance and sexuality, which challenged the audiences of its time. In line with social
conventions, such bold cinematic forays are usually led by male characters. However, in Belle
de Jour, a sadomasochistic housewife serves as the strong and unforgettable lead character.
What makes Belle de Jour truly an exploratory journey into eroticism and deviance is the feeling
of intrigue and bewilderment shared by both Severine and the audience, as they journey
together into the world of eroticism.
The Rocky Horror Picture Show is a film adaptation of the British rock musical stageplay, The
Rocky Horror Show. First screened in 1978, it tells the story of a newly-engaged couple, Brad
Major and Janet Weiss, who become stranded after suffering a flat tire. They approach a nearby
mansion and are introduced to a group of people very different from themselves.

The longest-running release in film history, The Rocky Horror Picture Show is still a midnight
staple in cinemas around the world. It was traditionally known for its fan participation and
midnight screenings. At the time of its release, the film provided a refreshing and quirky take on
sexuality due to its interesting mash-up of the horror, science fiction and musical genre.

Also, fan participation, such as shouting at the screens, was considered to be a novelty which
provided an interesting twist to the film experience.
Fire examines the lives of two married women, Radha and Sita, thrown together by the absence
of their husbands’ care and attention. From what initially appears to be shared solace, Radha
and Sita’s friendship evolves into a romantic and sexual relationship that both struggle to come
to terms with.

Fire was the first movie in the Indian film industry to portray a lesbian relationship. The portrayal
of lesbianism drew much public attention, as the film contains a social commentary on how
obsolete traditions are hindering a seemingly modern nation.

The film set off a flurry of riots and criticisms, including attacks by Hindu fundamentalists in
some movie theatres, causing screenings to come to a halt. After a brief period of hostility,
campaigning efforts by free speech activists and film personalities allowed theatre screenings to
resume. These conflicting reactions to the film are testament to how strongly it challenged
India's deep-seated cultural norms.
Set in patriarchal Korea in the 1960s, this highly acclaimed film is a domestic horror-thriller that
charts the destruction of a family when a dominant female character is introduced amongst
them. Dong-shik, a piano teacher, hires a housemaid to ease the burden on his pregnant wife at
home. But he soon falls prey to the feminine charms of his housemaid, who terrorises the whole
family and makes their lives a living nightmare.  

The film explores a reversal of power in gender relations, subverting the traditional dominance
of the male gender in society as the male character succumbs to his baser instincts, upsetting
the harmony in his family. The weakness of the male sex as portrayed in this film raises
fundamental questions about male dominance at a time when men commanded almost every
aspect of social and political life in Korea.

In the film, the characters represent their respective social roles more than as individuals. By
making the audience relate to the characters in such a way, Kim makes the point that events in
the film can occur to any one. The Housemaid represents a stylistic break from realism and is
perhaps the finest film in the "Golden Age” of Korean cinema. Still thematically relevant today, it
stands out as one of Korean’s best films in the horror-thriller genre.

Note: I believe i may have watched the remake of House Maid 2 years ago in Golden Village, don't remember it being impressive.

Set in the final years of communist Romania, this bleak and suspenseful tale is about the fear
that two female Romanian students, Otilia and Gabriela, experience while trying to procure an
illegal abortion. The film follows the drama that ensues as the female characters negotiate the
bureaucratic and societal layers of the repressive Ceauşescu regime to attain their goal.

This pitiless and violent story becomes a haunting intellectual and aesthetic achievement in its
telling. It perfects the realist and minimalist approach characterised by the Romanian New Wave.
Using meticulous camerawork, Mungiu conveys to the audience what it is like to live in a
repressive regime. He accomplishes this through the intentional fidgeting of the camera
combined with long sustained shots, leaving viewers with the impression that the two leads are
constantly being watched. In particular, the film highlights how simple every day tasks seem
especially difficult to accomplish in Communist Romania.

I think i would park myself at the museum and look studious next week! Check out the website for film timings and how to get tickets.

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