You will be redirected back to your article in seconds


The already daring scenario of a male schoolteacher in love with one of his boy students breaks further conventions with rich formal experimentation in Kan Lume and Loo Zihan's silent indie film, "Solos."

With: Lim Yu-Beng, Loo Zihan, Goh Guat Kian, Chew Peishan, Katashi.

The already daring scenario of a male schoolteacher in love with one of his boy students breaks further conventions with rich formal experimentation in Kan Lume and Loo Zihan’s silent indie film, “Solos.” Yanked from a premiere slot in the Singapore festival when state authorities demanded severe cuts of sexual content, gorgeous pic has gone on to a healthy fest launch at Pusan and AFI, with best long-term niche prospects as a gay/art vid curio.

Kan and Loo are straddling the 19th century of early silent films and the 21st century with its franker screen depictions of gay sexuality. Auds and critics demanding standard dramatics and linear storytelling will consider “Solos” intolerable, while those eager to sniff out trailblazers in world cinema will be thrilled. It’s hard to think of a recent work on the fest scene that so clearly separates detractors from fans.In a series of static shots at medium distance, pic establishes a cool but erotically tense mood between a teacher (Lim Yu-Beng) and his prized pupil (Loo). Their furtive couplings come at the expense of the lad’s mother (Goh Guat Kian), seen fretting over his long absences but unable to force him to stay at home.

Along with several extended scenes — which maintain visual objectivity while conveying the three characters’ subjective mental states — are interludes that lend “Solos” a droll air, similar to Tsai Ming-liang’s films observing urbanites in absurd situations. Depiction of Lim and Loo in a classroom setting — albeit one set in a forest — is one of these, while another involves the mother and a robotic vacuum that seems to have a mind of its own.

The film’s achievement lies in its ability to imply complex entanglements and shifting emotional states without a shred of language. Seeming to recover cinema’s original syntax, pic plays out in purely physical terms (and not just erotically), even at times like a dance performance — including some stunning moments of choreography with dancer Chew Peishan.

Kan and Loo serve as co-lensers (and co-editors with Meghan Kan), crafting vid images of exceptional clarity in both black-and-white and ultra-desaturated color (with a few color accents for dramatic effect). Darren Ng’s intensely moody music and sound design are seamlessly one, giving the film an uncommon audio dimension.

Perhaps most surprising is that a work so concerned with aesthetic impact resolves on a note of such simple humanity.



Production: A Red Dawn Prods. presentation of a Solos the Film production. (International sales: Red Dawn Prods., Singapore.) Produced by Florence Ang, Gerald Herman. Executive producers, Ricardo Uncilla. Co-producer, Kan Lume. Directed by Kan Lume, Loo Zihan. Screenplay, Loo.

Crew: Camera (color/B&W, DV), Loo, Kan; editors, Kan, Loo, Meghan Kan; music, Darren Ng; sound, Ng; still photography, Kevin Yang; casting, Florence Ang. Reviewed at AFI Film Festival (competing), Nov. 4, 2007. (Also in Pusan Film Festival--Window on Asian Cinema.) Running time: 71 MIN.

With: With: Lim Yu-Beng, Loo Zihan, Goh Guat Kian, Chew Peishan, Katashi.

More Film

  • Writers Guild Posts Scathing Video Attack

    Writers Guild Posts Scathing Video Attack on Agency Packaging

    The Writers Guild of America, which is threatening to require members to fire their agents, has posted a scathing video attacking how major agencies conduct packaging. Titled “Agency Conflicts of Interest,” the video explains that compensation for writers has declined by 23% between 2014 and 2016 and blames the agencies for taking packaging fees on [...]

  • CAA Owner TPG Buying Payroll Specialist

    CAA Owner TPG Buying Payroll Specialist Entertainment Partners

    TPG Capital, the massive private equity firm that owns Creative Artists Agency, is buying payroll specialist Entertainment Partners for an undisclosed price. Entertainment Partners’ management team, led by president and CEO Mark Goldstein, will continue in their roles. The agreement was announced Tuesday with plans to close the deal during the second quarter. More Reviews [...]

  • WGA Agents Contract Tug of War

    Agents Accuse Writers Guild of Threatening to Throw 'Industry Into Chaos'

    UPDATE – The dealmakers appear to be getting nowhere. Negotiators for Hollywood agents and the Writers Guild of America have achieved little progress at their seventh session on Tuesday, with a chaotic scenario looming on April 7. “When Guild leadership is ready to move on from their declared threatening phase, we stand ready to work [...]

  • Zoe Lister-Jones The Craft

    'The Craft' Remake Finds Director in Zoe-Lister Jones

    “Life in Pieces” star Zoe Lister-Jones will write and direct Sony Pictures’ remake of “The Craft” for Blumhouse and Red Wagon Entertainment. Doug Wick, the producer of the original “The Craft,” will return in the same capacity along with partner Lucy Fisher through their Red Wagon banner. Jason Blum is also producing and his Blumhouse [...]

  • Carol Burnett

    Carol Burnett's Mother-Daughter Story 'Carrie and Me' in Development as a Movie

    Carol Burnett’s bestseller “Carrie and Me: A Mother-Daughter Love Story” is in the works as a movie at Focus Features with Burnett, Tina Fey, Eric Gurian, and Steven Rogers producing. Burnett will produce through her Mabel Cat Productions with Fey and Gurian under their production banner Little Stranger along with Rogers (“I, Tonya”). The sibling [...]

  • Contract Placeholder Business WGA ATA Agent

    Writers Guild Plans for Agency Pact Expiration: 'There Will Be Difficult Moments'

    Leaders of the Writers Guild of America have sent members contingency plans for the possible expiration of its agency franchise agreement on April 7 — and admitted that it may be a rocky road. Members received the letter Tuesday from the guild’s negotiating committee as the WGA and agents were about the hold their seventh [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content