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The best local movies to stream online

Looking to sink into the couch with a good Singaporean film? Here's our pick of the best titles to stream online

A Land Imagined
Photograph: mm2 Entertainment A Land Imagined
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Fancy a chilled night in with a bowl of popcorn? With thousands of television shows and films to stream online at your fingertips, you're clearly spoilt for choice. Beyond the Hollywood blockbusters, there are plenty of other films to binge on, including ones from Singapore. To save you time endlessly scrolling through the entire catalogue, we've narrowed down the best titles for your viewing pleasure. 

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A Land Imagined
Photograph: mm2 Entertainment
Film, Drama

A Land Imagined

Stream on Netflix

A juxtaposition to Hollywood blockbuster hit Crazy Rich Asians based on Singaporean author Kevin Kwan's novel of the same name, A Land Imagined shatters the illusion of superlative Singapore with darker tones and less-bougie aesthetics – think cranes, dorms and heavy-duty trucks. The award-winning neo-noir industrial thriller blends social issues with mystery and follows a local detective in search of a migrant worker who disappears in a land reclamation site.

Read our interview with director Siew Hua Yeo here.

Revenge of the Pontianak
Photograph: Tiger Tiger Pictures
Film

Revenge of the Pontianak

Stream on Netflix

Revenge of the Pontianak marks director Glen Goei’s return to the big screen since the release of his 2009 murder mystery The Blue Mansion. Co-directed with Malaysian actor and director Gavin Yap, it looks at Southeast Asia’s most famous horror icon but humanises her with a romantic storyline. The horror flick is performed in Malay – a nod to the golden age of filmmaking in Singapore before the 70s, the era where iconic Pontianak films were first produced by Cathay-Keris and Shaw – so best watched with subtitles on.

Read Glen Goei's Time Out Singapore takeover here.

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Unlucky Plaza
Photograph: Kaya Toast Pictures
Film, Comedy

Unlucky Plaza

Stream on Amazon Prime Video

Ken Kwek's feature-length debut is a hostage thriller first premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival. It's about a Filipino man struggling to make ends meet, only to fall victim to a financial scam. He then takes several Singaporeans hostage for ransom. All hell breaks loose when a race riot engulfs the city. Xenophobic Singaporeans storm Lucky Plaza – the popular Filipino hangout from which the film derives its name – and go all-out medieval on the mall. 

Pop Aye
Photograph: Giraffe Pictures
Film, Drama

Pop Aye

Stream on MeWatch

The first feature to be helmed by Kirsten Tan, this indie flick features a bromance like no other. A chance encounter led a burnt-out architect to reunite with his long-lost elephant in the city of Bangkok. Unable to part ways, he decides to take the gentle giant on a homecoming trip back to his rural village which led him further to self-discovery. This cinematic spectacle will leave you profoundly moved.

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Republic of Food
Photograph: Boku Films

Republic of Food

Stream on MeWatch

What if we tell you that the mouth-watering nosh that we all know and love is entirely banned in this made-in-Singapore dystopian comedy? Republic of Food is a horror movie for food lovers by the city’s acclaimed director Kelvin Tong that ropes you into a not-so-distant future where humans across the globe are coerced into consuming bland synthetics that double as nutrition due to a deadly food-borne plague. And because not all heroes wear capes, a team of gastronomes embarks on a journey to revive food culture and save the day.

A Yellow Bird, SGIFF, Singapore International Film Festival
Photograph: Donn Tan/Akanga Film Asia

A Yellow Bird

Stream on Netflix

A debut film feature by local award-winning filmmaker K. Rajagopal, A Yellow Bird tells the story of a homeless ex-convict who is seeking to reunite with his family yet struggling to integrate back into society. As he carries on with life, he starts to form an unlikely bond with a Chinese sex worker while acting as her bodyguard. The grim drama was selected for the International Critics' Week at the Cannes Film Festival.

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shirkers
Photograph: Netflix

Shirkers

Stream on Netflix

This sui generis documentary film made waves worldwide when it was first released in 2018. Deemed as Singapore's first road movie by Singapore-born, LA-based filmmaker Sandi Tan, Shirkers follows a group of cinephiles – including a young Sandi – shooting an uncompleted movie in 1992. But what makes this Sundance Award-winning film even more intriguing is the fact that the footage was stolen before it could be completed. Fast forward to twenty years later, the unseen footage made back into Sandi's hands and the rest is, shall we say, history.

Invisible Stories
Photograph: HBO Asia

Invisible Stories

Stream on HBO Go

Not a movie per se, but his HBO Asia's original deserves to be binged. The six-part drama tells the stories of lesser-seen characters from a fictional housing estate in Singapore. These untold stories include the challenges a mother faces with her autistic son, a taxi driver who channels a spiritual medium by night, and a married husband with a secret that is only out of the bag at night.

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