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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

Brazos County officials are distributing free backpacks, school supplies and gift cards for K-12 students on July 12 from 3:30 to 6:30 p.m. at the Bryan High Silver Campus Cafeteria.
Brazos County to distribute free school supplies
‘Back to School Bash’ invites K-12 families on July 12
Nicholas Gutteridge, Managing Editor • July 11, 2024
Texas A&M catcher Jackson Appel (20) makes contact with a ball for a double during Texas A&M’s game against Tennessee at the NCAA Men’s College World Series finals at Charles Schwab Field in Omaha, Nebraska on Saturday, June 22, 2024. (Hannah Harrison/The Battalion)
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Junior RHP Tanner Jones and senior C Jackson Appel are heading to the big leagues after both were taken in the sixth round of the 2024 MLB Draft...

Bob Rogers, holding a special edition of The Battalion.
Lyle Lovett, other past students remember Bob Rogers
Shalina SabihJuly 15, 2024

In his various positions, Professor Emeritus Bob Rogers laid down the stepping stones that student journalists at Texas A&M walk today, carving...

Chancellor John Sharp during a Board of Regents meeting discussing the appointmet of interim dean Mark Welsh and discussion of a McElroy settlement on Sunday, July 30, 2023 in the Memorial Student Center.
Analysis: Chancellor Sharp’s retirement comes with new dilemmas
Nicholas Gutteridge, Managing Editor • July 2, 2024

Texas A&M System Chancellor John Sharp announced Monday he will be retiring on June 30, 2025.  A figure notorious in state politics,...

‘A Land Imagined’ blurs our understanding of ourselves

Peter+Yu+stars+as+detective+Lok+in+%26%238220%3BA+Land+Imagined%2C%26%238221%3B+which+received+international+acclaim+following+its+release+in+2018.+The+film+is+now+available+for+streaming+on+Netflix.
Photo by Creative Commons

Peter Yu stars as detective Lok in “A Land Imagined,” which received international acclaim following its release in 2018. The film is now available for streaming on Netflix.

Earlier this week, the Academy upheld its ruling regarding Oscar eligibility for Netflix-distributed films, continuing to inadvertently support Netflix’s nonchalant approach to distributing the foreign films it acquires. While it continues to prove its monetary influence at film festivals, Netflix continues to poorly advertise its festival acquisitions in favor of its high-profile transactions or original content.
Unfortunately, this directly affects the winner of the 2018 Golden Leopard, Siew Hua Yeo, and his film “A Land Imagined.” The movie is a neon-soaked, neo-noir that blends his social commentary on Singapore’s commercial building industry with a mystery thriller about the disappearance of a migrant worker. Netflix’s acquisition and lack of advertisement for this film guarantees that, while the film is accessible in the U.S., its success during its limited festival run will not translate to American home viewing.
Yeo’s movie follows a police detective, Lok, through his sleepless investigation of the disappearance of Wang, a Chinese migrant worker for a land reclamation site, and his journey through the blurry border between commercial development and migrant exploitation. As Lok tumbles down the abyss of reality through his numerous nights at the local internet cafe, his narrative blends together with Wang’s and the line between dream and reality fades away.
While Lok’s investigation is the focal point of the film, the majority of the narrative follows Wang through his discovery of the treacherous and disturbing nature of the treatment of his coworkers on the land reclamation site. Due to Singapore’s exponentially increasing population, commercial businesses began to take sand from surrounding countries and build out the coastline to create more real estate property. This process is dangerous, and due to the high-profile nature of the companies involved, land reclamation is often done by migrant workers.
The exploitation of the workers is clear throughout the film, but rather than providing a complete critique of this borderline slavery, Yeo focuses the film on exploring the lack of humanity of land reclamation.
Both Lok and Wang spend their sleepless nights interacting with the owner of an internet cafe, Mindy, playing a video game that resembles Counter-Strike. These are the scenes in which Peter Yu, who plays Lok, and Liu Xiaoyi, who plays Wang, are really able to display their acting talent. Yeo crafts a mood that fits neatly within the confines of the neo-noir genre, but the dream-like vibe of the film would not have been successful without Yu and Xiaoyi.
While the film is reminiscent of others within the neo-noir genre to the point that it seems Yeo is copying more experienced filmmakers, the movie perfectly mirrors each of its main characters as they fall into a bottomless pit in their search for meaning in a meaningless world. Yeo attempts to cover a wide range of differing topics and never successfully latches onto one as each seems to slowly melt away into the abyss of the film.
This descent into the infinite oblivion within oneself set against the backdrop of commercial land reclamation may be a futile journey, yet Yeo’s technical ability makes this descent an enjoyable one.

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