×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Chew Tze Chuan’s Exploration of Sex and ‘Shadows’ Too Strong For Singapore Festival

UPDATED: Underground Singaporean filmmaker Chew Tze Chuan’s latest film title is a mouthful – “Shadows of Fiendish Ancestress and Occasionally Parajanov on Durian Cialis (Lesser #9).” The film also proved too much for Singapore’s censors.

The picture had been scheduled to have its world premiere at the Singapore International Film Festival, part of the Singapore Media Festival, this week. But it was this week denied a public release certificate by Films Appeal Committee, on the grounds that it could hurt Muslim religious feelings.

Chew is fascinated with depictions of native sexuality in history and his body of work is based on a personal philosophy he calls Lesser, a mixture of ideas culled from cinema verite and Dogme 95. “Shadows” follows a hermaphrodite who comes to town to impart a wisdom that proves to be both untimely and too carnal.

Chew first appeared at SGIFF in 1994, with his debut short “Loving Sappho.” Since then he has had a varied career, debuting as a DoP with Abdul Nizam’s “Datura” that won best short at SGIFF 1999. He performed the function again in 2000 for “Haura,” Nizam’s segment in Zhao Wei Films’ omnibus movie “Stories About Love.” In 2004, he edited and produced cult film “Zombie Dogs” and in 2006 he directed the feature “Carnaval.” He has been making the “Lesser” films since then.

“’Lesser#8’ is a head-on confrontation with the issue that my late collaborator, Abdul Nizam and I encountered when making ‘Haura’ in 2000,” says Chew. “Why can’t we cast a Malay actress for a film project wanting to express sensuality honestly? The paranoia and social pressure against this notion evolved into a few other topics explored in ‘Lesser#9’ (‘Shadows). What happened to the ancient text or oral transmission of the native’s erotic imaginations? Are there any myths and legends, before Sang Nila Utama, on the natives’ sensuality? Since we could not obtain any authentic materials, we decided to invent the genesis of the native’s erotic myths in ‘Lesser#9’.”

“We also notice that the female protagonists in many erotic (art) films are usually victims or fiends. If they are allowed to assert free will over their sexualities, they are left miserable, dead or gone amok in the end. “Shadows” is a subversion of these tendencies,” Chew explains.

In Chew’s unique worldview, any form of external film funding is censorship, which is why the films are all self-funded and the budgets are under $6,000. The same worldview is applied to sales and distribution as well.

“We have recently sent our film screeners to various independent, LGBT, queer, erotic, porn, underground and experimental film festivals around the world,” says Chew. “Let’s pray that they love to see and hug our baby ‘Lesser#9’ too. We do not have a sales agent. Because our baby is not for sale.”

More Film

  • Nona

    Film Review: 'Nona'

    Twenty years and 12 features down the line, it’s still hard to peg the directorial sensibility of Michael Polish, with or without the presence of brother Mark as frequent co-writer and actor. His output has been all over the place, from early Lynchian quirkfests to the very middle-of-the-road inspirational dramedy “The Astronaut Farmer,” not to [...]

  • Pawel Pawlikowski "Cold War"

    Pawel Pawlikowski's 'Cold War' Wins for Best Film, Director at European Film Awards

    “Cold War,” Pawel Pawlikowski’s black-and-white romance set in the 1950s, scooped the prizes for best film, director and screenplay at the 31st edition of the European Film Awards on Saturday. “Cold War” star Joanna Kulig also won the award for best actress. Marcello Fonte, the star of Matteo Garrone’s “Dogman,” won for best actor. Armando Iannucci’s [...]

  • The Favourite Bohemian Rapsody Star is

    The Best Movie Scenes of 2018

    When we think back on a movie that transported us, we often focus on a great scene — or maybe the greatest scene — in it. It’s natural. Those scenes are more than just defining. They can be the moment that lifts a movie into the stratosphere, that takes it to the higher reaches of [...]

  • Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

    Box Office: 'Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse' Soars Toward $35-40 Million Debut

    “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” is swinging into theaters on a high note. Sony-Marvel’s latest output is launching to $42 million from 3,813 North American locations in its debut, though other more conservative estimates place that number at $35.5 million. The animated superhero story picked up $12.6 million on Friday, easily leading the pack for the weekend. [...]

  • Ventana Sur : Cinema226 Closes Four

    Cinema226 Announces Four Intl. Co-Productions, Hints at More (EXCLUSIVE)

    Mexico’s Cinema226, run by Marco Antonio Salgado and Sam Guillén, is driving into a raft of Mexico, Argentina and Spain co-productions, playing off the current vibrancy of Mexican film production funding and distribution outlets. Among the projects are titles which have been standouts at Ventana Sur’s Blood Window, the next film by Mexico-based Argentine filmmaker [...]

  • Ventana Sur Debates Gender Parity in

    Ventana Sur Debates Gender’s 50/50 in 2020 for Argentina Film Industry

    BUENOS AIRES — Despite recent gains, namely the equality pledge towards 50/50-2020 signed at the Mar del Plata Film Festival on Nov. 12, producer Magalí Nieva, pointed out that no representative from INCAA was present following the apparent resignation of its vice-president Fernando Juan Lima. “We are left without an interlocutor to discuss gender policies [...]

  • Ventana Sur Rocks with Sales, Mass

    Ventana Sur Rocks with Sales, Mass Attendance, Structural Growth

    BUENOS AIRES — Celebrating its 10th anniversary with a huge hike in attendance to over 4,000 accredited delegates, the 2018 Ventana Sur will go down in history on multiple counts: Sales and pick-ups on movies which combined social comment and entertainment value, increasingly the new foreign-language movie standard; new sections, led by a Proyecta co-production [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content