×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Forever Fever

(Singlish and Hokkien dialogue)

With:
Hock ..... Adrian Pang Mei ..... Medaline Tan Julie ..... Anna Belle Francis Richard ..... Pierre Png Boon ..... Steven Lim Leslie/Beng ..... Caleb Goh Bobby ..... Westley Wong Seng ..... Alaric Tay "John Travolta" ..... Dominic Tace Mrs. Lim ..... Koh Chieng-mun Mui ..... Pam Oei Father ..... Lim Kay-siu Mother ..... Margaret Chan Transvestite/ Dance Instructor/MC ..... Kumar

(Singlish and Hokkien dialogue)

Singapore’s reviving pic industry looks to strut confidently offshore with “Forever Fever,” a cheeky and thoroughly engaging riff on “Saturday Night Fever” that even manages to wear some smart subtext beneath its tight pants. Well-mounted and exceptionally well-cast movie will ring beaucoup bells with auds familiar with the island republic’s unique cultural mix, but should also prove accessible to more general viewers in the West, where its camp feel won’t hurt it one bit. Fest platforming followed by sharp marketing should lead to warm returns in selected boites.

Pic was snapped up by Australian sales agent Beyond Films just prior to Cannes, where market screenings generated sales to Miramax and others. Though the S$ 1.5 million ($ 880,000) budget came from local sources, the behind-camera roster features many Australians, including “Priscilla” lenser Brian Breheny, and the final sound mix was done Down Under.

This is the first feature of actor Glen Goei (pronounced “Gwee”), who most notably played in a U.K. production of “M. Butterfly.” The magic of Goei’s movie is that it combines solid production values and an unflashy shooting style with lively subject matter and a flavorsome script. Though most of the dialogue is in the local patois of “Singlish,” it’s easily comprehensible and redubbing would rob the picture of much of its color and humor.

Set in 1977, some 12 years into independence and on the cusp of the island’s ruthless modernization, straight-arrow story centers on supermarket worker Hock (Adrian Pang), an easygoing slob whose main aim in life is to buy an expensive Triumph motorbike. Permanently on the edge of being fired, Hock lives at home in a simple Chinatown apartment with his traditional parents, a sister (Pam Oei) who’s obsessed by romantic novels and a studious younger brother (Caleb Goh) who’s the apple of his father’s eye.

Hock decides to take dance lessons and enter a disco competition with a S$ 5, 000 prize after being inspired by a movie called “Forever Fever,” whose Travolta look-alike star (Dominic Tace) steps out of the screen to encourage Hock directly. Our flatfooted hero is further encouraged by childhood girlfriend Mei (Medaline Tan), who’s secretly in love with him and accompanies him to the lessons.

Hock, however, develops the hots for fellow entrant Julie (Anna Belle Francis , a local DJ), much to the chagrin of her slick b.f. (Pierre Png). Things aren’t going much better at home: To his father’s astonishment, Hock’s brother has calmly announced he’s getting a sex-change operation.

Pic doesn’t pretend to pull any plot surprises as it edges toward the disco-dancing climax, but writer-director Goei skillfully juggles his rich array of characters. While Pang’s terrific perf powers the film, all of the supports get their moments in the sun, enriching the pic’s broad, multigenerational portrait of a society still finding its feet and identity among a multitude of influences, both Asian and Western.

Noteworthy are Tan, Francis, Oei and Lim Kay-siu as the father. As the sexually transient brother, Goh handles a difficult role — alternately sent up and sympathized with by Goei’s script — with some skill. Film’s camp undercurrent is further emphasized by the presence of local drag artist Kumar in several small roles.

Considering the budget and the difficulty of finding period locations in modern Singapore, production design is resourceful and largely convincing, despite occasional lapses like modern cars visible in the background and contempo products on shelves. Breheny’s lensing is richly colored without becoming a style statement, and other tech credits, especially editing and costumes, are pro.

Surprisingly, pic has done only OK biz since opening locally May 21: around S $ 500,000, way below the boffo S$ 5 million-plus so far clocked up by another local production, the runaway comichit “Money No Enough.”

Forever Fever

(MUSICAL-COMEDY -- SINGAPOREAN)

Production: A Shaw Organisation (in Singapore)/Miramax (in U.S.) release of a Tiger Tiger Prods. production, in association with Chinarunn Pictures. (International sales: Beyond Films, Sydney.) Produced by Glen Goei, Jeffrey Chiang, Tan Chih-chong. Directed, written by Glen Goei.

Crew: Camera (color), Brian Breheny; editor, Jane Moran; music, Guy Gross; production designer, Laurence Eastwood; art director, Andy Heng; costume designer, Ashley Aeria; sound (Dolby Digital), David Lee, Paul Pirola; choreographer, Zaki Ahmad; assistant director, Gloria Chee. Reviewed at Choa Chu Kang Cineplex 1, Singapore, July 19, 1998. Running time: 93 MIN.

With: Hock ..... Adrian Pang Mei ..... Medaline Tan Julie ..... Anna Belle Francis Richard ..... Pierre Png Boon ..... Steven Lim Leslie/Beng ..... Caleb Goh Bobby ..... Westley Wong Seng ..... Alaric Tay "John Travolta" ..... Dominic Tace Mrs. Lim ..... Koh Chieng-mun Mui ..... Pam Oei Father ..... Lim Kay-siu Mother ..... Margaret Chan Transvestite/ Dance Instructor/MC ..... Kumar

More Film

  • Black Panther

    'Black Panther,' 'Crazy Rich Asians,' 'Westworld' Among Costume Designers Guild Winners

    “Crazy Rich Asians,” “The Favourite” and “Black Panther” walked away with top honors at the 21st annual Costume Designers Guild Awards Tuesday night, the final industry guild show before the Oscars on Feb. 24. “The Favourite” and “Black Panther” are up for the Oscar this year, along with “The Ballad of Buster Scruggs,” “Mary Poppins [...]

  • WGA Writers Contract Talks

    Talent Agents, WGA Achieve Progress in Second Round of Talks

    Hollywood talent agents and the Writers Guild of America have achieved some progress at their second negotiating session over agency regulations, according to sources close to the talks. The two sides met Tuesday, two weeks after their first meeting resulted in both sides criticizing each other, followed by the WGA holding a trio of spirited [...]

  • Aaron Paul

    Film News Roundup: Aaron Paul Honored by Sun Valley Film Festival

    In today’s film news roundup, Aaron Paul is honored, Bruce Berman is re-upped at Village Roadshow, and Paola Mendoza and Abby Sher get a book deal. FESTIVAL HONORS The Sun Valley Film Festival has selected Idaho native and three-time Emmy winner Aaron Paul as the winner of its Pioneer Award, presented by Variety for his [...]

  • Olivia Munn]EMILY'S List Pre-Oscars Brunch, Inside,

    Olivia Munn Says Brett Ratner Called Her Before His 'Howard Stern' Apology

    Olivia Munn is setting the record straight about standing up to “Rush Hour” director Brett Ratner, whom she alleges sexually harassed her over a decade ago. During a panel discussion at the Emily’s List pre-Oscars brunch at the Four Seasons Beverly Hills Tuesday morning, Munn revealed that Ratner called her in 2011 after he denied [...]

  • Flesh Out review

    Berlin Film Review: 'Flesh Out'

    Ignore the awful English-language title: “Flesh Out” is an emotionally rich, sensitively made film about a young woman in Mauritania forced to gain weight in order to conform to traditional concepts of well-rounded beauty before her impending marriage. Strikingly registering the sensations of a protagonist living between the dutiful traditions of her class and the [...]

  • Marighella review

    Berlin Film Review: 'Marighella'

    Does Brazil need a film that openly advocates armed confrontation against its far-right government? That’s the first question that needs to be asked when discussing “Marighella,” actor Wagner Moura’s directorial debut focused on the final year in the life of left-wing insurrectionist Carlos Marighella during Brazil’s ruthless military dictatorship. For whatever one might think of [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content