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Singapore, 1997 (MIFF 1997, Regional)

Director: Eric Khoo

A moving and thought provoking second film by Meepok Man director Eric Khoo, 12 Storeys is a look at a day in the life of three households in a Housing and Development Board estate of cramped three-room flats. In Block 173 we enter the lives of Meng, an upright, interfering and over-protective brother whose concern for his sister, Trixie, borders on an unhealthy obses­sion; San San, the neighbourhood plain Jane who leads a tortuous existence dominated by a nagging mother and Lili, a Chinese bride (played by Quan Yifeng) who rules over her frustrated noodle seller husband.

The lingering spirit of a young man who leapt to his death from the flats watches over the mun­dane but nonetheless real problems faced by the inhabitants of these white-washed government apartment units where almost 90 percent of Singaporeans reside. Loneliness and alienation is ever present, exacerbated by fermenting lust and hatred. Eric Khoo's second feature is a unique insight into a city often cited as a model for our future in a high-density metropolis.

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