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Bugis Street



All the world's a stage for the drag divas of the Sin Sin Hotel
in Chinese director Yonfan's new film Bugis Street. This
enchanting, sexy drama, set in 1970's Singapore, explores the
lives of the transsexuals and transvestites who live in a sleazy
residential hotel. Hiep Thi Le (of Oliver Stone's Heaven and
Earth) plays Lian, a 17 year-old reception clerk, who keenly
observes the hotel's colorful cast of characters. Coquettish yet
naive, young Lian learns the lessons of life and love from the
reigning queens at Sin Sin, including the worldly Drago and the
tormented Lola, who's trapped in a co-dependent relationship
with an abusive, philandering boyfriend. It is from Lola and the
others that Lian learns that behind the vivid facades of the
residents also lies pain and self-doubt. With its healthy doses
of drama, attitude and nude dudes, Bugis Street gives you a
firsthand look at a rarely seen or understood part of queer
Asian life.


Bugis Street dir. Yon Fan 1994 Singapore 101 min. 35mm

__________________________________________________

Set in the mid-sixties of Singapore, BUGIS STREET is an off-beat period drama about a
Hiep Thi Le as Lien young woman's coming of age among a community of drag
queens who work in the famous tourist/red light
district--Bugis Street.

The central character, LIEN (played by Hiep Thi Le), is a wide-eyed
16-year-old girl who has just moved from a rural village to Singapore where
she works as a maid in Sing Sing hotel. Little does she know, the hotel is
the infamous residence for transsexuals and transvestites who work on Bugis
Street.

Lien befriends the colorful characters around her and slowly overcomes her
initial shock and intimidation. As the daily melodrama of these "outcasts"
unfolds, Lien learns about the secrets and pains of love, sexuality and
womanhood from these "fake" women.

Campy, kitchy, and erotic, BUGIS STREET is a beautifully shot movie about a
young woman growing up among the odds, coming to terms with both the lighter
and darker sides of life, the duality of human character. BUGIS STREET's
sensibility marks the intersection where John Waters meets art house cinema
in Hong Kong.

BUGIS STREET is the first major commercial movie made [Hiep Thi Le]
in Singapore, produced by Katy Yew, a veteran
Singaporean TV producer. Hong Kong director Yon Fan came on board as the
writer/director after the financing was secured.

BUGIS STREET was shot over a period of six weeks after three months of
elaborate set construction, production and costume design so as to
creatively capture the spirit of 60s' Singapore.

The cast of BUGIS STREET is composed of both real-life transvestites,
transsexuals and accomplished actors and actresses such as Hiep Thi Le.

MARGIN FILMS (Los Angeles) is proud to announce the US release of BUGIS
STREET, the first international hit directed by Hong Kong's veteran
independent writer/director Yon Fan and produced in Singapore. The film
stars Hiep Thi Le, star of Oliver Stone's HEAVEN AND EARTH.

Hiep Thi Le is easily the most unique among the new wave of emerging
international Asian actresses such as Tamlyn Tomita, Michelle Yeo and Gong
Li. A real-life Vietnamese refugee from Danag, Ms. Le was picked among
thousands to be the leading actress in Oliver Stone's HEAVEN AND EARTH.
Following her debut in HEAVEN AND EARTH, Ms. Le took the starring role of a
Malaysian country girl in the Hong Kong/Singaporean anti-blockbuster BUGIS
STREET.

Hong Kong cinema proves itself undiscovered and more diverse than the famed
handful of international elites such as John Woo, Tsui Hak and Wong Ka Wai.
As the world's third largest film industry, Hong Kong is fused entirely by
independent studios and production houses. Having made eight features with
talents such as Chow Yun Fat and Maggie Cheung, Yon Fan proves to be a major
Hong Kong independent with the most eclectic taste.

Joining forces with Singaporean producer Katy Yew, Yon Fan launched the
first major commercial feature out of Singapore. Singapore's film industry
has been defunct since 1967. Not until between 1995 and 96, Producer Katy
Yew and maverick director Eric Koo churned out the first two major fares of
New Singaporean Cinema—BUGIS STREET and MEE POK MAN.

BUGIS STREET had its North American Premiere at the Vancouver International
Film Festival, and has subsequently screened at the Los Angeles Asian
Pacific American Film Festival, New York Lesbian & Gay Film Festival and San
Francisco Lesbian & Gay Film Festival.

MARGIN FILMS is a new domestic distribution company based in Los Angeles.
The company is committed to market unique independent films that have an
edgy, Asian/American or queer perspective.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Directed by: Yon Fan
Produced by: Katy Yew
Screenplay by: Yon Fan
Yuo Chan
Cast: Hiep Thi Le as Lien
Michael Lam as Meng
Benedict Goh as Sing
Ernest as Lola
David Knight as Sailor
Maggie Lye as Maggie
Gerald Chen as Mrs. Hwee

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STORY OF BUGIS STREET

 

Set in the mid-sixties of Singapore, BUGIS STREET is an off-beat period
drama about a young woman's coming of age among a brothel hotel full of
transvestites and transsexuals.

LIEN (played by Hiep Thi Le) is a wide-eyed 16-year-old girl who has
just moved from a rural village to Singapore where she works as a
maid in the infamous Sing Sing hotel. Overcoming her initial intimidation,
she befriends the colorful transvestites and transsexuals around her. Lien
learns about the secrets and pains of love, sexuality and womanhood from
these "fake women."

Campy, kitchy and erotic, BUGIS STREET is a beautifully shot movie about a
young woman growing up among the odds, coming to terms with both the lighter
and darker sides of life, and the duality of human character. BUGIS STREET
marks the intersection where John Waters meets art house melodrama in Hong
Kong.