15 (2003)

Genres - Drama  |   Sub-Genres - Juvenile Delinquency Film, Teen Movie  |   Release Date - Apr 13, 2005 (USA - Limited)  |   Run Time - 93 min.  |   Countries - Singapore  |  
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15, the debut feature from writer/director Royston Tan, takes a loosely plotted look at the lives of some unruly teens in Singapore. Melvin (Melvin Chen) and Vynn (Vynn Soh) are best friends who spend a lot of their time cutting school and watching porn together. Melvin is worried about passing his exams because his mother has threatened to throw him out if he fails. Vynn still feels bitterness over the dissolution of his friendship with Shaun (Shaun Tan), who abandoned his former friends when he became more involved in gang life. The two boys also devote some time to working on a scandalous musical number to perform at a school assembly. The second half of the film focuses on Shaun and his friend Erick (Erick Chun). First a former rival, Armani (Melvin Lee), helps them out when they're attacked by a gang of snotty, English-speaking schoolboys. In exchange, they devote a couple of days to helping the suicidal Armani find a suitable building from which to jump. Shaun and Erick also engage in drug smuggling, and Shaun helps Erick pierce his cheek. 15 was based on an earlier short film by Tan, who used the boys' own stories to help shape his narrative. The film created a lot of controversy in its native Singapore and inspired Tan to make Cut, a satirical short film celebrating censorship. 15 was shown at the 2004 New York Asian American International Film Festival.

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Keywords

coming-of-age, delinquency, juvenile-crime, street-gang, suicide, teenagers, truancy, pornography