October 09, 2020
Quite a change of pace for Roystan Tan. I really liked his first two films, but he fell somewhat off the radar later on. After having seen 881, that's not really a big surprise. It's a film that is aimed squarely at a local market, which is pretty small considering Singapore is basically just a big city.
The film puts the spotlight on some local folklore, namely the Getai singers. The Papaya Sisters are a newly formed duo that wants to perform on stage. To realize their dream they seek help from their aunt, a former Getai singer. The Durians (another popular duo) isn't too happy with their quick rise to success, and they're doing everything to stop them in their path.
The Getai music is extremely kitsch, quite garish and unless you're into local pop music, a struggle for the ears. I'm sure every country has its pop scene that has no chance of crossing any borders, when you decide to make a musical out of it though, it's no surprise the rest of the world isn't very keen on picking it up. It's a colorful film, it's also pretty light and fun, but the musical bits make it hard to wholeheartedly enjoy.