For want of catching Cannes winner The Assassin, which stars Taiwanese actress Shu Qi, I finally dragged myself to arthouse space The Projector, which has taken over two cinema halls and the foyer of the long-defunct Golden Theatre at Beach Road. Tickets priced at $13 (usually) can be easily purchased online and as it’s free seating, all you have to do is arrive at least 10 minutes before showtime to get a good seat.
It’s very surreal when I reached the lift lobby cos I haven’t been to Golden Mile Tower (and not Complex as the website kept emphasising) for decades. I swore the last movie I saw here was 1978’s Goin’ Coconuts starring Donny & Marie Osmond! Funny to see that there’s also a Rex Theatre (famed for showing Indian movies) now on the 3rd floor!
Think it’s cool that The Projector folks kept some of the old “Golden Theatre” signs. Check out the cool arthouse flicks on the marquee that it shows at various times in the Green Room and Redrum (or visit their website, http://www.theprojector.sg).
The foyer cafe sells drinks and food and there’s plenty of tables for fellow film buffs to sit around and chat while waiting for a screening to start.
They have a decent menu (with soups provided by Soup Stock Tokyo as well) but I didn’t have time to peruse it as I arrived with barely 10 minutes to go before showtime. So I just ordered butter popcorn and coke which cost $10. Cheap, food is not. You can bring food into the cinema hall; just remember to bring the trash out.
It doesn’t project “Gold Class” but The Projector does project an arty-farty vibe throughout the whole foyer.
Box Office is very old school as you can see but tickets purchased online are sent with a QR code via email and you can just show it on your phone to get in. Go green and save paper!
The Green Room is certainly very old school – no drink holder at the seats which are the old-fashioned metallic kind. Free seating remember, so go early if you want good seats. I think a speaker fell off at one screening once but as I was sitting quite dead centre, it was alright. Sound and screening resolution were good. And they do show trailers. (Alternative poster design by thefilmstage.com)
As for The Assassin, the cinematography and production details are outstanding. Even the music is quite exquisitely appealing for a Chinese wuxia film. It is however very slow-moving but that is to be expected from director Hou Hsiao-Hsien who loves filming sequences seemingly in real time. (In 1993’s The Puppetmaster, there was this bullock cart that moved very slowly across a rice field from screen left to screen right – and it was wide-screen, mind you… )
Thankfully, The Assassin wasn’t that laboured but the storyline can be rather confusing as the plot is explained very wordily by a number of characters albeit against colourful backgrounds. Good that Shu Qi is always a joy to watch even when she’s frowning, pouting or totally resigned to life as her character is in the film. If after watching the film, you are rather confused of a few things like I was, check out this brilliant infographic by thefilmstage.com on who-is-what-to-who in The Assassin – http://thefilmstage.com/news/exclusive-infographic-for-hou-hsiao-hsiens-the-assassin-breaks-down-the-family-tree/).
Well, at least I finally had the chance to check out The Projector and know that there’s a place in Singapore where one can catch up on arty films that may not get a run at the larger cinema chains. Or even catch a widely -expected upcoming international blockbuster like the one premiering on December 17… (Cue : The Imperial March – dum dum dum da duh dum da duh dum…)