Flooding in the Time of Drought

Banjir Kemarau
Singapore | 2009 | 92 mins + 92 mins | Color | with English subtitles
DROUGHT – 92 mins
Languages: Hindi, Indonesian, Italian, Tagalog, Mandarin, German
FLOOD – 92 mins
Languages: Japanese, Korean, Mandarin, Thai, Indonesian, Malay, Hokkien
Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art, Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane 2013
Casa Asia, Madrid & Barcelona, Spain 2013

Unseen: Cinema of the 21st Century, Queensland Art Gallery, Australia 2011
Malaysia, Singapore Cinema! Centre Pompidou, Paris, France 2010
Rainbow Asia, Hangaram Museum, Seoul Art Centre, Korea 2010
Rotterdam International Film Festival, Netherlands 2010

What if suddenly the water supply runs dry in Singapore?
Commissioned by the Singapore Biennale, this fusion of documentary and fiction narrative depicts the lives of foreign migrants as an impending water crisis begins to seep into their lives. With water, or the lack of it, becoming the central motif, this two-part feature length film takes us on a journey across 8 interweaved stories and 10 languages, as the protagonists, consisting of non-professional actors, grapple with this hopefully temporary discomfort, amidst their dalliance with human foibles, and their fantasies of everlasting loves and broken romances.
This aberration is a memento mori as the narratives grazed across the vague impressions of the racial tensions lingering past the 1997 riots in Indonesia, World War II, ritual beliefs, and ethnic discrimination in Southeast Asia which has been ingrained over generations and transported along with the migrant communities. Nonetheless, amidst the sporadic ventures into death and violence, sexual relations and sexualities, these are the lines of division that bind us to each other, in one way or another, as people survive through their crises.