Tan Pin Pin
Singapore | 2017 | 62 min | English
Tan Pin Pin’s latest documentary revolves around themes of memory, national identity and the act of documentation. The action takes place around 2015, when celebrations of the 50th anniversary of Singapore’s independence were in full swing. A time capsule from 1990 is unearthed and its contents examined—bottled river water, a phonebook, a charger. Meanwhile, a new capsule is sealed, to be opened in decades’ time. These scenes are interspersed with a series of surreal tableaux—meticulously composed long takes that riff on Singapore’s famously dystopian stylings, including tinny Muzak and automated voices playing over loudspeakers, and fake snow falling outside a mall at night amidst the snapping of selfies. Such sounds and images produce an atmosphere of foreboding, pierced occasionally by a wry, understated humour. Much like the time capsules it focuses on, the film is a vessel of transportation through past, present and future—a prism through which we glimpse alternate realities.
Tan Pin Pin
Born in 1969, Singapore-based director Tan Pin Pin holds a degree in law from the University of Oxford, UK, and an MFA in film and television from Northwestern University, US. She is best known for Singapore GaGa (2005)—the first Singaporean documentary to gain a theatrical release. Her later film, To Singapore, with Love (2013), was denied a rating by the Media Development Authority, effectively banning it in its country of origin (although it was screened at DIFF 2014). Tan’s other work includes Invisible City (2007), The Impossibility of Knowing (2010) and Snow City (2011). “We found that splicing footage of ritualistic preparations of the time capsule with wide shots of daily rituals gave the film an otherworldly tone,” says Tan of In Time to Come. “In the edit, the past, present and future seemed to collapse together, giving the film a sci-fi bent.”