Local director Eric Khoo’s latest film, which was received well internationally, was almost banned here
Singaporean auteur Eric Khoo is a man of smart and calculated moves.
His latest film, In the Room, may be set in local places, deal with local content and feature local actors, but it was released almost everywhere else before Singapore.
When it finally hit our screens in December last year at the 26th Singapore International Film Festival, the reason for Khoo’s decision became obvious: the scissors of censorship began snipping at his newest film, which is rated R21. In the Room was deemed so controversial that it was almost exempted from commercial release here.
The bone of contention was the film’s explicit depictions of sex, featuring “tastefully-executed erotic scenes [that show] how a hotel room, in its promise of privacy, unshackles the amorous feelings and illicit desires hidden within different people,” explained Joyce Lee, Managing Director of Encore Films, which will be co-distributing the film.
Based in Room 27 of the fictional Hotel Singapura, In the Room strings together six narratives spanning several decades.
But it’s not all about sensual bedtime stories. Similar to Khoo’s body of work, In the Room is a collection and expression of Singapore’s history, politics and people of diverse backgrounds and nationalities.
Sex is the common thread for those in Room 27, but at the heart of these short-lived moments of intimacy lies a keen sense of suffering, regret, and loss.
The film features local actor George Young and an international cast including Hong Kong actress Josie Ho, South Korea’s Choi Woo Shik and Malaysian Lawrence Wong. It will be released here on Feb 25, followed by Hong Kong, Taiwan and other countries.
By Pamela Chow
In the Room premieres on Feb 25. It has a rating of R21.