Design Film Festival Singapore: 2015

#DFFSG15: I thought I’d be more uncomfortable than I ended up being (which is not), because DFF is ~hipster~. What does that say about me?



Iris was very entertaining. The editing was a little weird though, there were some video clips and audio snippets that might have been repeated. But otherwise, because Iris is such a singular, interesting and multi-faceted character herself, it really didn’t take much for the film to be a good watch. I do wish there was more about her, though, rather than just a sort of peek into her life. Things like her influence on people and the industry, as well as Iris as a person, her history, her inspirations – it felt like it could have been expanded more to make the film a more well-rounded portrait of someone who is so rich in life and experiences. I liked the music. It was quirky and fun, like Iris herself, and it added to the scenes without being too overpowering. The little outtakes when the credits rolled was a nice bonus, and many people who were leaving the theatre sat back down when they saw them.



Dior & I was wonderful. It truly brought the work of the atelier to life. The film started with the introduction of Raf Simons into the House of Dior to a group of atelier workers. Seeing them meet for the first time, in a quiet room, in halting English and French – it was impactful, I think, the juxtaposition of the stillness of the room and its occupants against the immensity of what was happening. Raf Simons taking over as creative director with just eight weeks to the show. Such a short timeline set the pace for the film, which was well-managed, in my opinion. It captured the details of the processes going on within the atelier’s various departments, and the film kept up with the urgency of the workers as the show approached.

There was plenty of humour, courtesy of the atelier’s staff – a jolly and talented bunch – and their interactions with Pieter Mulier, Raf’s right-hand man and the unofficial boss of the atelier. They were charming and I can’t find any other word to describe them but French – a little cheeky but still getting the job done. It was so clear that everyone there loved their jobs.

I appreciated that the film was kept focused on the atelier and its events, enabling the audience to get to know the people working there more intimately, and really get drawn in and invested in the emotions of the entire journey, from drawing board to runway. Coming away from the film, I really felt like I had experienced a little bit of what it was like being in the House of Dior.



Hand Made With Love In France was kind of a mixed bag for me. While I understood where the film was coming from, it didn’t quite come together for me until the last twenty or so minutes. Illustrating the history and background of the artisans along with the time that has passed is no mean feat, and I applaud the work. I do wish that each of the artisans’ stories (there were three) were told individually before linking them together. The editing was done in such a way that quotes from the other two creators were tied into the current story. Although it does give a sense of conversation, I guess it wasn’t for me. I can see the allure, though.

What I do admire: the process sequences. The work of these makers takes up so much time and effort, and I feel that this film displayed them really well. The various tools and equipment used, the fabrics and embellishments, were all showcased in detail and in action. It was such a visual feast to watch the talent of the artisans put to use, and seeing the finished result on the runway bodies.

The struggles the artisans experienced and the coping mechanisms of the industry were explored as well. Anecdotes from the crafters as well as people from the fashion houses provided both perspectives on the issue, and painted what seemed like a balanced portrait of the state of the affairs. The ending of the film also helped taper the stories off, providing a sort of epilogue for the audience.


All in all, I had a great time. It was fun, and interesting, and eye-opening. Thanks to Yun Rong for accompanying me too!

#DFFSG2015 with @absolutelyrong!

A post shared by joelle cecilia (@therealquirkyteal) on



I decided (very, very last-minute)(like night-before last minute) to buy a ticket for 808. It was really informative, a documentary on the Roland TR-808 Rhythm Composer’s effect on the music industry around the world. It provided input from artists from many generations, including Pharrell Williams, Lil Jon, David Guetta, Diplo, Mike D and Ad-Rock of The Beastie Boys and Phil Collins, who inadvertently showed the influence of artists not featured, such as Kraftwerk. The film was narrated by Zane Lowe, whose excited commentary and energy showed through the narration and really contributed in bringing the story to life. The film covered aspects of the machine’s influence, from producers to the artists themselves, and finally, at the end of the film, went back to its roots with an interview with the man who founded Roland himself, Ikutaro Kakehashi. The film is not a chronological work detailing the life of the 808; instead, it is an emotional illustration of what the machine meant to people, and how it affected those who depended on it.




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