Royston Tan’s astonishing debut chronicles the dark underbelly of Singapore society through the lives of five young ruffians.
The intertwining lives of five teenage gang members (played by non-professional actors whose realities mirrored their characters’) make a darkly comedic series of vignettes in this Singapore film landmark. From a search for the perfect suicide spot, to inane reenactments à la the video game Street Fighter, to a contest in (literally) measuring manhood, the frantic narrative thrums with the nervous energy of living life on the edge.
World-premiering at the 2003 SGIFF, 15 was the debut feature that cemented the stature of then-26-year-old director Royston Tan, who expanded and adapted it from an eponymous short film. Bold, irreverent and utterly fun, the film was refreshing in its raw—though heavily stylised—approach to the angst and ennui of marginalised youths, whose disaffected antics play out amidst their hopes and despairs.
Cast & Credits
Royston Tan is noted as much for his focus on marginalised social groups as for the idiosyncratic titles of his films, such as 4:30 (2006) and box-office success 881 (2007). He also produced the short film anthology 7 Letters (2015).
Eric Khoo, Tan Fong Cheng
Shaun Tan, Melvin Chen, Vynn Soh