Teenage filmmaker Sandi Tan and her friends set out to change the world of Singaporean filmmaking. They were punks, rebelling against a controlling society. They created surreal movie about a serial killer whose goal was to collect people into the afterlife. The production was grueling, but Tan was driven by her dreams of making a movie. Local film critics were excited. The film looked good, and it was riding the renegade youth movement and the “I don’t believe in anything” ethos of Generation X.
The film was called Shirkers.
And then… the film disappeared.
What happened? Decades after making the film, Tan tries to unravel what went on, exploring her past, her relationships, and the mystery over what happened to the film. The truth turns out to be weird and uncomfortable… far stranger and more sinister than any movie that she wrote as a teen.
To reveal anymore would be to spoil some of the surprising and suspenseful twists and turns this story takes.
That 2018 documentary about Tan’s filmmaking journey, also called Shirkers, is currently on Netflix. The movie won the World Cinema Documentary Directing Award at the 2018 Sundance Film Featival and currently holds a 100% Freshness rating on Rotten Tomatoes (out of 60 reviews). I’m sure this is some comfort to the crushed dreams of young Sandi Tan. It’s highly recommended.