Rarely do they raise Cain in the city-state of Singapore, unless it’s the cane of corrective authority—at least that’s the official view from that miracle of orderly prosperity. Royston Tan has a very different take: his reeling, irreverent first feature dredges up the overlooked underbelly of teen dropouts, druggies and dead-enders, played by street punks from the Lion City. Random bashings and ritual piercings barely conceal the brutal monotony of this artificial Eden. 15 is saturated with the artifacts of hyper-distraction—mock video games, crazed captions, frantic karaoke, even an animated “Suicide Manual”—spectacle designed to colonize the psyches of these kids, converting their fragile desires into consuming impulses. Tan’s stinging satire finds hope beneath the angst; tough punks who wear their nihilism like a name-brand fashion, these proto-agonists are, after all, just kids looking for a way in. Still, the darkly outrageous 15 can’t imagine sweet sixteen.
The screening of 15 will be followed by a conversation between Royston Tan and the critic/artist/filmmaker Valerie Soe.
Executive Producer: Lim Ching-Leong, Jacqueline Khoo, James Toh
Producer: Tan Fang-Cheng, Eric Khoo
Cinematographer: Lim Ching-Leong
Writer: Royston Tan
Editor: Nigel Fernandez, Azhar Ismon, Darlene Lim, Jeff Stevens
Cast: Shaun Tan, Melvin Chen, Vynn Soh, Erick Chun