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Another S’pore film at Cannes Film Fest

SINGAPORE — Don’t look now, but there will be two feature films from Singapore at next month’s Cannes 
Film Festival.

Another S’pore film at Cannes Film Fest

A scene from A Yellow Bird, K Rajagopal's first feature film that will be competing in the coming Cannes Film Festival. Photo: Joe Nair/courtesy of Philipp Aldrup.

SINGAPORE — Don’t look now, but there will be two feature films from Singapore at next month’s Cannes 
Film Festival.

Film-maker K Rajagopal’s A Yellow Bird has been selected to compete in the 55th edition of La Semaine de la Critique (or Critics’ Week), a parallel event to the main Cannes Film Festival, held in France, next month.

Rajagopal’s film, his debut feature, joins fellow film-maker Boo Junfeng’s Apprentice, which is showing at the festival proper’s Un Certain 
Regard section.

Incidentally, Boo’s own debut film Sandcastle was screened at Critics’ Week back in 2010.

Critics’ Week is the oldest parallel competitive section at the festival and showcases only the first and second feature films of directors.

A Yellow Bird — which stars Siva Palakrishnan, Huang Lu, Bollywood star Seema Biswas, Udaya Soundari, Nithiyia Rao and Indra Chandran — revolves around the story of a 38-year-old Singaporean Indian man who is released from prison after eight years of contraband smuggling, and goes searching for his ex-wife and daughter. Along the way, he meets a Chinese woman who works illegally to earn money for her family in China. (Incidentally, Boo’s own film Apprentice follows the story of a correctional officer and a prison executioner.)

A Yellow Bird will be competing against six other films for various prizes. And as Rajagopal’s first full-length, it is also eligible for the Camera d’Or, the prize dedicated to the best debut feature film in the entire festival — which Singaporean film-maker Anthony Chen had won for Ilo Ilo in 2013.

The Singapore-France co-production — which includes Akanga Film Asia, Potocol and Acrobates Films — is partially supported by the New Talent Feature Grant of the Media Development Authority of Singapore. It was also the only film from Asia to have been selected for Cannes’ development section Cinefondation’s L’Atelier in 2014.

In a previous interview with TODAY, Rajagopal, who was also part of the recent 7 Letters film anthology, said: “I want this film to travel and see what the response is going to be around the world. I don’t want to label this as a Singaporean film. It’s a film. We made it in Singapore. I’m proud of that — there’s no other place I’d want to make this film because it’s about my country and the space I live in. But I’d like to see what others think about it.”

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