15: The Movie (2003) + Extra Features * Award Winner * Asian Queer Cinema *

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A provocative film acted by real street kids, 15 exposes a gritty side of modern-day Singapore life that will blow your mind…

Growing up in the world’s most oppressive nanny state can be bad for your mental health, and 15 tells it like it is. 26-year-old Royston Tan’s social satire has given local censors their biggest ever headache by focusing on Singapore’s ‘problem’ boys: the ones from broken homes, the ones who smuggle drugs, the dropouts, the ones who obsess on suicide and tend to die young. But what could have been a grungy social-realist tract is actually a dizzying collage of teenage experience…

Tan keeps scenes short and stylized, plasters the screen with captions and throws in everything from animation to fast rewinds to keep things cooking. Much of it is universal: gangs, video-games, bad role models, fake tattoos, crypto-gay bonding, piercings, self-pity, amateur rapping…but Tan doesn’t shrink from the dark side: he looks at teen suicides with wicked black humor, confronts the reality of self-harm, admits that boys prostitute themselves for pocket money…