‘A Clockwork Orange’ to premiere at S’pore film fest

Jeanette Tan
Advanced Screening

The cinema release poster of "A Clockwork Orange". (Photo courtesy of Warner Bros)

A British gangster living in a futuristic dystopia undergoes psychological treatment which conditions him to feel nausea in response to violence and sex.

Two young undergraduates launch a nationwide campaign, partly funded by a Czech government fresh out of the Iron Curtain, for a hypermarket that does not exist.

A disfigured Japanese war veteran who loses both his arms and legs relentlessly demands sex and servitude from his faithful wife.

These films -- Stanley Kubrick's A Clockwork Orange, Czech Dream, co-directed by young directors Vit Kusak and Filip Remunda, and Caterpillar by Koji Wokamatsu -- are three of six movies that will be shown at Perspectives Film Festival 2011: Breakthroughs in Cinemas.

It will be the first time A Clockwork Orange and Caterpillar, both of which have shocked audiences for their graphic scenes, will be shown in Singapore.

The film festival, which will take place from 27 to 30 October, is a practicum course at Nanyang Technological University (NTU)'s Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information, and is organised by a team of 17 undergraduates, under the supervision of two instructors.

It features award-winning films that have either inspired great controversies, were censored or banned completely in the countries they were made.

Cailin Choy (left) and Eternality Tan, two of the group of 17 NTU students behind this year's Perspectives Film Festival. (Photo courtesy of Perspectives Film Festival)

Headed by third-year students Eternality Tan and Cailin Choy, the team pitched a list of 20 films relevant to its chosen theme, whittling it down over a month to the final six, which also includes The Battle of Algiers, by Italian filmmaker Gillo Pontecorvo, Syndromes and a Century by independent film director Apichatpong Weerasethakul, and The Blue Kite by Tian Zhuangzhuang.

"Our theme of controversy was inspired by Pre-Code Hollywood... when Hollywood films made during this period took advantage of lax enforcing of censorship guidelines," said Tan, one of the team's two festival directors. "The result was a series of films that tested the waters by showing content that was too liberal for its time," he added.

When asked if the team faced any challenges in seeking approval to screen the selected films, course instructor Nikki Draper said that getting the green light wasn't their main concern, but instead the ratings that the films would receive.

"This is not the first time we've programmed films that were rated M18 or higher, so I didn't think the topic would be problematic from the school's perspective," she said.

"Once the films passed MDA (Media Development Authority), then we're screening movies just like any other festival or theatre chain in Singapore."

The films' eventual ratings were not the most ideal, with the two premieres receiving an R21 rating and Czech Dream being rated as M18. Yet, Tan and Choy remain unfazed, and confident of their good reception among the film-watching community here.

"Despite the unfortunate age restriction, we forsee people getting excited about these two films," said Tan. "We are confident that this rare, breakthrough screening (in reference to A Clockwork Orange, in particular) will attract many film enthusiasts."

Previous years of Perspectives have drawn crowds of more than 600 to their public screenings, and filled rooms to standing area, and this year's organisers have similar hopes for their program lineup.

"I'd say we're learning a bit as we go, which is fine as we have an educational mission," said Draper, who also teaches production management at the communications school. "Hopefully, too, that the longer we are around and the better-known we become, the easier it will become for us to attract an audience's attention."

Perspectives Film Festival 2011: Breakthroughs in Cinemas will run from 27 to 30 October, at Golden Village VivoCity and Alliance Francaise. Visit their website for more information on the films, venues, screening times and ticketing.