In A Land Imagined , two police inspectors investigate on the disappearance of a foreign worker at a Singapore land reclamation site. It leads them on working site and to a nearby cybercafe that might hold some clues. No one seems to really care or want to talk about the disappearance. If such a thing really occurred…
A Land Imagined is singapore director Yeo Siew Hua’s second feature. The top winner at Locarno Film Festival 2018. Deceptively, the film starts as a police investigation drama. But the story that unfolds is one of metaphors. Both men, the protagonist worker (we witness his backstory in a long flashback) and the leading investigator, are insomniacs. Their nightlife wandering leads them to this cybercafe, managed by a washed up young woman, in which the man looses himself into gaming and internet messaging.
This is a tale of solitude and isolation with a social comment.
But, the real intrigue of Huas’ film, as an allegory, lies in the way he depicts a no man’s land, essentially populated with migrants working on expanding the land they eventually walk on, in the middle of the ocean. A field of dispute with neighboring countries, Malaysia and Indonesia. How to leave a mark into imported sand surrounded by water as one wave can erase traces of your passage, either literally or figuratively? It questions the legitimacy of everyone involved and what to inquire about exactly. The cybercafe, with its alternate reality, may as well become a more tangible ground as opposed to the granulated world they patiently build (with the imported sand) to stand on their feet.
With its quiet pace and dreamlike qualities (or is it a nightmare?), A Land Imagined suggests a compelling world of unsettling polarity.
Sunday Oct 7, 7:15 PM, Cinema du Parc
Saturday October 13, 9:15 PM, Cinema Quartier Latin