Previously at the ICA - Films
8 Oct 2016
BFI Film Festival: 245 features. 74 countries. 15 cinemas. 12 days. One Festival.
Aiman is a young prison employee whose career has been heading in one direction with a momentum verging on the inevitable. Then the golden opportunity arrives – the hangman needs an apprentice. Aiman’s drawn to the gallows for reasons that remain obscure, even to himself. Perhaps it’s his past, which lingers in his psyche and connects him to the mysterious executioner. For his second feature, Boo Junfeng keeps the drama contained, drawing a line from Singapore’s stringent capital punishment laws to the emotional damage felt by convicts’ living relatives. Wan Hanafi Su gives a cracking performance as the executioner, a man who lives his life strictly by his own rules, and the tension of the prison environment is stunningly achieved through sound design that makes every door hinge creak, and wardens’ footsteps and key jangling feel physically tangible, which all feeds into the nerve-rattling conclusion.
(Notes by Kate Taylor)
Apprentice, dir. Boo Junfeng, Singapore/Germany/France/Hong Kong/Qatar 2016, 96 mins, cert. 15.