Hot Docs 2018: Our Review of ‘Shirkers’

Hot Docs 2018: Our Review of ‘Shirkers’

You just never know how a project is going to shape out….

It’s those inspired labours of love that really get us through, and for zine-making teens Sandi Tan and her two closest friends, Shirkers was a Singapore-made 1992 cult classic; or it would have been, had the 16mm footage not been stolen by their enigmatic American collaborator Georges Cardona, who disappeared.  Now more than two decades later she returns to Singapore to track down the man who both enabled and thwarted her dream in a journey that reunites her with this passion project in ways that she never expected.

Shirkers is a lovely little ode to the passion of the eternal nature of the creative spirit as we get to dig through the archives of a film so influenced by the likes of not only some of the classics of Hollywood but also the French New Wave a delightful mix of other influences that could have very well hit the world stage at the same time the likes of a Wong Kar Wai and Wes Anderson announced themselves on the global stage.

Sandi Tan giving us her feature length debut here is obviously a very personal affair but it also services as a truly universal love letter to the unbridled passion of creativitiy that we have when we are younger and how it can influence us in our lives.  As we see Tan investigating the ultimate fate of this pet project, it’s never a sense of sadness we feel, but instead one of renewed hope as we can see the personal sense of self-discovery keep her creative flame alive.

Shirkers is a beautifully simple reminder for anyone with a story in their hearts, to follow it wherever it may lead no matter how long it takes.

Shirkers has one more screening on Saturday May 5th at 2:45 PM and we’d highly recommend you try and get out to see it.

This post was written by
David Voigt is a Toronto based writer with a problem and a passion for the moving image and all things cinema. Having moved from production to the critical side of the aisle for well over 10 years now at outlets like, Criticize This, Dork Shelf (Now That Shelf), to.Night Newspaper he’s been all across his city, the country and the continent in search of all the news and reviews that are fit to print from the world of cinema.
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