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15

"15" is Asian Kid Rebels 101. So predictable it could almost be a parody of the genre film follows five disaffected teens bumming around in the gritty underbelly of, uh, Singapore. First feature by young shortsmaker Royston Tan is pure fest fare and will appeal to like-minded auds with the leisure to celebrate designer "rebellion."

“15” is Asian Kid Rebels 101. So predictable it could almost be a parody of the genre — though that would require a sense of humor above and beyond the self-reflexive comedy on display here — film follows five disaffected teens bumming around in the gritty underbelly of, uh, Singapore. First feature by young shortsmaker Royston Tan is pure fest fare and will appeal to like-minded auds with the leisure to celebrate designer “rebellion.”

Collage-style pic, full of on-screen graphics (in Chinese) and the whole manual of film school trickery, follows the fatuous five (purportedly played by real street kids) as they complain about not being understood by their parents and turn to what passes in Singapore for anti-social acts. This involves lounging around smoking joints, popping pills, singing nonsense rap songs, dreaming in cliches about their future and playing at homoeroticism. When one of them says he wants to commit suicide and let all of Singapore know about it, he can’t even find a suitable building to jump off. Yup, it’s that kind of film. Tech credits are fine within the prescribed limits.

15

Singapore

Production: A Zhao Wei Films production. (International sales: Zhao Wei, Singapore.) Produced by Eric Khoo, Tan Fong-cheng. Executive producers, Jacqueline Khoo, James Toh, Lim Ching-leong. Co-producers, Freddie Yeo, Mabelyn Ow. Directed, written by Royston Tan.

Crew: Camera (color), Lim Ching-leong; editors, Jeff Stevens, Nigel Fernandez, Darlene Lim, Azhar Ismon; music, Yellow Box; art director, Daniel Lim. Reviewed on videocassette, Montreal, Sept. 3, 2003. (In Montreal World Film Festival -- Cinema of Asia; also in Venice Film Festival -- Critics' Week.) Original Mandarin title: Shiwu. Mandarin, Singlish dialogue. Running time: 80 MIN.

With: With: Shaun Tan, Melvin Chen, Vynn Soh, Erick Chun, Melvin Lee.

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