Neglected and relegated to the occasional late-night television slot since its initial release, Polish director Jerzy Skolimowski’s fable-like tale of obsessive love Deep End finally got its due recognition and acclaim after a recent restoration by Bavaria Film.
John Moulder-Brown plays Mike, a shy and awkward 15 year old who takes his first job out of school as an attendant at a public bathhouse in London. His co-worker is Susan, a beautiful redhead played by Jane Asher (former girlfriend of Beatle Paul McCartney) who inducts him into the sordid dealings of the bathhouse where they help the patrons to indulge in their sexual fantasies in exchange for tips.
Between fending off the lusty advances of overweight middle-aged women and learning the ropes at his new job, Mike soon falls for Susan. When he finds out that she is having an affair with her former teacher while being engaged to another man, his infatuation grows into a dangerous obsession and he begins to find ways to sabotage her relationships.
Like how Mike’s seemingly innocent crush on Susan spirals out of control, Deep End starts out as a playful coming of age story but soon reveals itself to be a chilling study of obsession. From the casting of former child of the sixties Jane Asher as the cynical and manipulative Susan to the stark contrast of Susan’s bright yellow day-glo mac against the drab brown and green hues of the bathhouse, the film brilliantly captured the changing of the times as the optimism and idealism of the sixties gave way to a growing sense of disillusionment and spiritual emptiness as the decade turns.
Funny, unsettling and tragic, Deep End remains one of Skolimowski’s most accomplished and astute works that takes an unflinching look into the darkness and depth of human desire.
(by Jerzy Skolimowski)
Book your tickets for the Red + White film series at The Arts House: https://www.bytes.sg
13 Aug, 4pm: RED DRAGONFLIES (preceded by SPACE OF CITY TREES)
13 and 14 Aug, 7.30pm: WHITE DAYS (preceded by STATE OF THINGS)
Rachel and her two friends explore an abandoned railway track that runs through a dense forest, but an unforeseen incident brings their little adventure to an abrupt end. Elsewhere, 26-year-old Rachel rekindles an old friendship with a high school friend. When a little boy from her past reappears, Rachel finds herself retracing a trail of iron and wood. Wistful and mysterious, the film depicts a world littered with incongruity, absences and traces of childhood dreams. Shot along the KTM railway track in 2009, the film title is a reference to a 90s song by Little Tigers (小虎队）. http://www.reddragonflies.sg.
The film will be preceded by SPACE OF CITY TREES, a short film by Lai Weijie: The imminent loss of the Mitre Hotel, marked by a witnessing of the departure of it’s ghost.
WHITE DAYS by Lei Yuan Bin
Green Chilies Audience Award (2nd), Asian Hot Shots Berlin!
Dreaming of a trip to Taiwan but stuck in a city they can’t seem to leave from, three young people get together to create a friendship net that would save them from their inanimate loneliness. An unsterilized black & white image, with a documentary-like gray realism, provides the setting for a series of conversations and situations that have as much everyday nihilism as religious theories bordering the ridicule. With an overwhelming contemporary spirit, and a lucid pop art cinephilia, Tsai Ming-liang and Richard Linklater come together as explicit and essential references for White Days’ main characters, but also for its director, who combines the theme of young lethargic people engaging in sharp dialog –Linkater’s slackers– with the challenging aesthetics that implies taking a wide shot and creating a universe populated by Tsai’s vanishing point. http://13littlepictures.com/white-days.
The film will be preceded by STATE OF THINGS, a short film by Sherman Ong: A filmmaker asked Singaporeans about the lyrics of the national anthem.
See you there, please help us spread the word and a Happy National Day to all!
13 Little Pictures
Martyn See has compiled a very extensive history of censorship in Singapore, tracing the difference between state rhetoric and the exercise of power by the state apparatus.