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Indians will connect to our cinema: Singapore film director


New Delhi: Critically acclaimed film “Ilo Ilo” opened a festival of films from Singapore here to mark the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations between India and Singapore besides commemorating the 50th birthday of the island country.

Through simple and yet powerful tales directed by a young wave of Singapore filmmakers, the three-day festival, which began last evening with the tagline “Stories from the heartland” offers a glimpse into the daily life, culture and history of that country.

At last evening’s opening ceremony, the High Commissioner of Singapore to India Lim Thuan Kuan pointed to vibrant film culture in Singapore whose cinema attendance per capita is amongst the highest in the world.

C S Rajan, Director, Directorate of Film Festivals added that the festival was an excellent opportunity for cultural exchange between India and Singapore.

Film director Sun Koh, who introduced the festival talked about how the films showcase Singapore’s multiculturalism, where different races such as Chinese, Indians and Malays have to learn to live together in harmony.

“The movie Ilo Ilo explores themes of change and migration – in the form of domestic helpers and migrant workers. The maid in the film comes from Philippines to provide for her family back home. This is not a unique phenomenon to Singapore. In India too, I guess (it happens), so you might connect to it” Koh said.

Chen’s film, a heartwarming story of an ill-behaved kid and the special relationship he develops with his Filipino maid in the backdrop of the 1997 Asian financial crisis, found critical acclaim, including at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival. The film, Koh, said deals with issues that Singaporeans regularly face.

“We wouldn’t even think of filming it. When the idea of the movie was first discussed, it was considered trivial, too middle-class, no tragedy etc…It gives me goose bumps every time I see it,” Koh said.

“Singapore has never seen war and stuff like that. But we see and live stories like that in Ilo Ilo, these are the kind of stories we should be telling because we know it so well, “she said.

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