881

If ABBA could sing in Hokkien, they might have auditioned for Royston Tan's 881, an exuberant re-creation of the campy and uniquely Singaporean musical performance genre of getai. 881 is a pun on the band name adopted by the heroines, the Papaya Girls. Determined to succeed, they beg their manager (and wardrobe consultant) Aunt Ling to introduce them to her estranged twin sister, the Goddess of Getai. She bestows magic powers on the girls after they agree to abide by five rules, which among other things forbid loving or being loved by a man. 881 is not mere self-conscious parody, but Tan's heartfelt love song to a nostalgic folk culture with roots all over Asia. Each frame is a carnival of untamed colors and textures; watching it is like having to eat all thirty-one flavors of Baskin-Robbins in one sitting. If you see it in the same mood as watching a Bollywood musical, 881 is a hugely enjoyable experience.

This page may by only partially complete. For additional information about this film, view the original entry on our archived site.