FILM NOIRTuesday 31 May
A Land Imagined
Siew Hua Yeo, SGP 2018
When the Chinese guest worker Wang disappears without a trace in Singapore, detective Lok immediately delves into the case. With this, he enters a part of the city formerly unknown to him: a place where construction workers live in poverty, surrounded by rows of cranes. A world full of invisible, disenfranchised and underpaid migrants who anonymously build a new Singapore.
In A Land Imagined we continuously change perspectives between guest worker Wang and detective Lok, while in the meantime the dark sides of Singapore as a booming metropolis are illustrated. Although the two lives in this socially realistic neo(n)-noir are far apart, Lok and Wan also have something in common: exhausting insomnia and lucid (day)dreams about another realm of existence.
Everything in the film is therefore aimed at blurring the line between reality and fiction. Dream and reality, day and night and the storylines of the two main characters are constantly intertwined. The surreal sound design really captures the essence of insomnia. The reason for this will undoubtedly have to do with Yeo Siew Hua’s interest in Zhuang Zi, one of the founders of Taoism. His philosophy is certainly reflected in A Land Imagined, in which dreams do not form a clear break with reality, but function as a bridge between two forms of consciousness.