Singapore, 2007, 70 Minute Running Time
Genre/Subjects: Asian / Pacific Islander, Dance, Gay
Program: World Cinema

DIRECTORS: Kan Lume, Loo Zihan

This mysterious, inventive film from Singapore uses a taboo subject — the sexual relationship between a male teacher and male student — to explore the fallout from an all-consuming love affair. Inspired by true events, Solos was banned in its home country for sexual explicitness and tells its story from a distance, giving its characters, who remain nameless, an iconic feel.
What makes Solos most radical to 21st century audiences is precisely what makes it cinematic to the core: There is no dialogue. But it would be incorrect to call the film silent, as it makes full use of ambient noise, creating an aural atmosphere that equals the striking digital cinematography. Most of the film is shot in static long-shot, making the silence of the characters palpable and their emotions raw. Though it focuses largely on the prolonged breakup of the student and teacher, the film gives much of its weight to the boy’s mother, who acutely feels the loss of her son. Scenes of the teacher and student having sex, arguing and eating are juxtaposed with scenes of the mother, alone and in her omnipresent nightgown, retreating deeper into her world of isolation and melancholy.
Co-directors Kan Lume and Loo Zihan (who wrote the screenplay and also plays the student) demonstrate a flair for poetic imagery, deadpan humor and, most importantly, profound sympathy for their characters. — JONATHAN L. KNAPP


Steamworks Management

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