Arábia begins by observing the day-to-day of Andre, a teenager who lives in an industrial area in the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais. After a local factory worker, Cristiano, has an accident on the job, he leaves behind a handwritten journal, which the boy proceeds to read with relish. The film shifts into road-movie mode to recount the story of Cristiano, an ex-con and eternal optimist who journeys across Brazil in search of work, enduring no shortage of economic hardship but gaining an equal amount of self-knowledge.
The film programme for SIFA 2018, curated by the Asian Film Archive, features an international selection of exceptional new works celebrating independent voices across the world. From the adversity of fictive or real-life icons to the positions of the marginalised, the constellation of films hopes to respond to the general sentiment of the festival programming with ideas revolving around the notion of resistance and the experience of the individual.
Continuing the trend from past SIFA film programmes, this individualism can also be experienced and translated on screen through the singular visions embodied by the filmmakers. Valuing the ingenious and the risk-taking in cinema, Singular Screens hopes not only to be diverse in representation but bold in putting together its palette of cinematic adventures. Whether as illustrations of resilience, peculiarity or the extraordinary, the films and their characters will continue to project imagined futures and aspire for alternate possibilities amid larger circumstances.