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Singapore Sling
Reviewed by Oct 14th, 2009

One of the benefits of dedicating a huge part of one’s spare time to watching films is that, once in a blue moon, you see something that utterly blows your mind. It’s not always entirely good, but it’s certainly not a bad thing either. Singapore Sling was one such film. Although I still don’t quite know what to say about it, about ten minutes into the film I was convinced I needed to talk/write about this film, as soon as pssible, as much as possible. All this notwithstanding, it is one of the most disturbing films I have ever seen.

Now, goregoregirl and I put the tape in not knowing what to expect. When some guy started talking in a language not even distantly related to any languages I know, and subtitled in the same language, I was convinced we would have no idea what was going on. But the main characters, apparently mother and daughter, speak in English. I would be greatly interested in what the man was saying, but I can also appreciate the fact that the communication barrier that keeps me from understanding the unnamed man (dubbed “singapore sling” by the daughter) also exists between the mother/daughter and the man.

it’s rather beautifully filmed, which impresses me more because i wa probably expecting some totally inept camerawork and a straightforwardly-exploitative storyline, given what ‘ve heard about this title. Black and white, it’s rather noirish. Contrasty, with long shots of billowing curtains and so on. One could say the acting was over the top, but I think a movie of this sort (if this “sort” exists as a category) demands it. But I am hesitant to call it badly acted or even overacted.

And yet, I’m sure many (most?) people will find it completely unwatchable due to the gross out factor alone… there is much in the way of incest, torture, rape, sex with fruit, and bondage, not to mention incidents of puking/pissing on a partner during sex. The father, who seemingly dressed like a mummy and had sex with the daughter, died before the movie takes place. However, we learn that he thought human corpses made great fertilizer, and they all buried the bodies of the maids and servants they’d killed in the garden.

The mother and daughter are engaed in greatly confusing role playing games, such as daughter playing the part of Laura, a maid they used for a sex toy and murdered three years previous. The man at the door may or may not be a detective, and seems to have had some sort of affair with Laura. The daughter pretends to be (and seems to believe herself to genuinely be) Laura, and continues torturing/having sex with the man. They electroshock him until he can’t even speak any language, and the mother tries in vain to teach him vowels. “A… E… I … O… U…” she says, making handmovements to show the shapes of the letters.

Certain dialogues are repeated om slightly different ways, occasionally the mother or daughter talks directly to the camera. While in almost every way unnerving and unwatchable, I still want to call this film brilliant. Though not for everyone, it is so elegantly revolting, exquisitely unnerving, this is a film that has its own modus operandi, and leaves you feeling a bit different than you did before you watched it. Disturbing, shocking, disgusting, and original. A piece of art.

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