Snakeskin (2014) Dir. Daniel Hui

10/18 @HFA


Director Daniel Hui will be on hand to talk tonight after the HFA’s special screening of his most recent film, Snakeskin, which is co-presented by Crows and Sparrows, a new Boston-based initiative that seeks to create and enhance opportunities for independent media exchange between North America and East/Southeast Asia through regular curation and visiting filmmaker programs.

Cities, cinemas, snakes: to survive, they have to shed their skins. To persist, they have to perish. So it is in Snakeskin, director Daniel Hui’s second feature-length song of Singapore (2011’s Eclipses was his first), a fascinating, Marker-esque essay that fuses a murky, quasi-science fictional conceit with an overlay of oracular philosophizing. Flickering between the years 2066 and 2014, Snakeskin oscillates from the reminiscences of a former member of an imaginary cult to the reflections of real-world, present-day Malaysians on the ever-shifting states of cinema and Singapore.

While I didn’t have a chance to see the entirety of Snakeskin prior to writing this post imploring you to check it out tonight (go! do!), I feel confident about doing so all the same, thanks not only to the film’s intriguing trailer (conveniently located just below) but also to the several shorts Mr. Hui has generally posted for free consumption on his Tumblr. You won’t have to watch many of them (but you’ll want to, and there’s really no downside) before concluding that Hui is a filmmaker of great sensitivity, with respect both to composition — his visual sensibility tends towards the exquisite, slow-moving and oneiric; his aural towards tender impressionism — and to his depiction of human relationships, which, whether personal or political, are handled with ghostly melancholy and wistful grace.

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