I've been to Faeryville
, and it's one heck of a ride. One Singapore filmmaker is standing out from the rest of the pack with his works, avoiding the tried and tested successful formulae that makes it big at the local box office, opting instead to forge his own independent path down the fantastical realms that genre films can offer. With medium length films like [e'TZAINTES]
, V1K1 - A Techno Fairytale
, and A Wicked Tale
, the latter arguably his most successful and acclaimed work to date, Tzang Merwyn Tong has now come full circle with his first feature film called Faeryville
, set in an eco-system deceptively modelled as a college.
Last year, Tzang debuted a work-in-progress cut codenamed FRVL
at the South-east Asian Film Festival in Singapore, and had wickedly left the audience with an abrupt cliffhanger, having screened only two-thirds of the uncompleted movie, with time set aside for a Q&A session. I was incredibly pissed to have missed that screening, to catch a sneak peek into what would be a truly independent production by one of the most unorthodox yet inventive filmmakers we currently have on our shores. But as luck would have it, Tzang extended the most gracious invite to allow yours truly to preview the final cut of that film recently, now re-titled Faeryville
, and true to form, you haven't seen anything yet, with the number of surprises Tzang pulls out of his hat, yet sticking to his guns with his favourite themes and ideas that cement his daring style.
Tzang has now created a cinematic universe of his own, building upon his very first short film, and expanding the narrative to revolve around the aftermath of the events [e'TZAINTES]
, and a group of socially misfit characters known as The Nobodies, setting up an Us versus Them class system, with the protagonists up against the more successful fraternities, and even the administration, of Faeryville college, representing the greater societal chasm amongst those who have, the have nots, and those in power. And much effort had gone into crafting characters who are easily identifiable, and those whom you will care about through the course of the drama - yes, you read that right, though still maintaining the sharp narrative edge Tzang is best known for in his films - as it meanders through a narrative that seemed to want it all, with action, romance, and mystery all rolled into one.
Mind you, the mood Tzang sets is bleak, yet exciting, detailing the struggles of the independent and free spirited, subjected to harsh environments where those who don't conform get subdued, with their spirit broken. There's a good dose of social conscience that's especially surprising when you realise it's a snapshot critique of today's world, which works in any way you view it, in the Singapore context, or far wider, in a production that looks like a million dollars, despite its budget. Singapore's indie film scene will get richer, once this Tzang feature film of dystopia in its full glory, sees the light of day sometime this year. Watch for it!
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