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12 Lotus

Royston Tan
Singapore 2008 / 121’

Getai is a sort of an outdoor concert-performance shown during the festival of spirits in Singapore in the seventh month of the year according to the lunar calendar. This is a particular music show: performers wear bright, revue-style costumes and the stage is lit by strong and colourful, disco-like lamps.

12 Lotusby Royston Tan speaks about getai and uses its style. The film follows a story of a very young singer, Lotus, whose life and career are destroyed by cruel and greedy men. Harassed and mistreated by her father and then by her lover, Lotus closes up and becomes alienated from the world.Although each musical scene glitters with the colours of the rainbow, it is far from any carefreeness - the light show conceals drama and violence affecting the cheated Lotus.

It is not the first time when Tan refers to getai - his previous film, the very popular comedy 881 was a kind of homage to getai. In 12 Lotus the show is not the main character any more, it is rather an instrument which allowed Tan to disguise a tragedy in an ironical, shimmering and colourful costume, transforming it into a sad fairy tale. This sadness, the fairy tale style and visual aspects are the film's main strengths.

Karolina Kosińska

Royston Tan

Born in Singapore in 1976. He graduated from visual communication at the Technical University, Temasek. He started his career in 1995, making music videos. Two years later he directed his first short film, Adam. Eve. Steve. In 2003 he made his full-length feature debut, 15:The Movie. After directing an intimate drama 4:30 Tan turned to getai, a specific form of outdoor musical performance. Getai was the subject of the comedy 881, which was a big hit, and of the director's latest film, 12 Lotus as well.

Selected filmography:

1997 Adam. Eve. Steve (short)

2001 Hock Hiap Leong (short)

2002 '15' (short)

2003 15: The Movie

2005 4:30

2007 881

2009 12 Lotus

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