In Time to Come
Gateway | Dragons & Tigers
"What’s worth preserving from Singapore today?" asks Tan Pin Pin’s elegant, incisive, supremely subtle experimental documentary. A time capsule is unearthed at the film’s beginning; a "time cube" is set up at the end. As enigmatic remnants of life from 25 years ago emerge—a bottle of water from the Singapore River, a copy of Yellow Pages, a phone charger—today’s selection of items are carefully primed for future generations to decode. In between are a series of quietly expressive shots of Singapore scenes that seem both completely "normal" and eerily extraordinary. People walk through a shopping mall ignoring fire alarms that are ringing; cheerily robotic bookshop employees smilingly greet early shoppers with crisp bows; a perfectly new, ghostly superhighway sits empty, unused. As we watch Tan’s perfectly designed shots, we are moved to contemplate the discipline imposed on silent public-school children as they sit on the ground in neat rows, reading. Tan also shows trees ruthlessly cut down, whipping at the machinery in something like protest against the violence, their stubs carted away to an uncertain future. We might ask: What’s the price of this perfectly pruned order? Where did it come from, and where is it headed? Only the time capsules know for sure.
— Shelly Kraicer
Preceded By: Canton NoveltyDirector: Fang Lu / China, 2017, 25 min.
Three young women vacation in Guangzhou, China, shooting the everyday miracles they experience with cell phones.