Local teen film holds its own, says director

SINGAPORE - A new local movie, That Girl In Pinafore, that depicts teenage growing years has been called the Singapore version of 2011 Taiwanese teen-romance flick, You Are The Apple Of My Eye.

But local director Chai Yee Wei said he thought of the story for his coming-of-age film even before audiences were introduced to the Taiwanese box-office hit, which grossed NT$400 million (S$17 million) in Taiwan and netted close to $2 million here.

Chai, 37, said: "It can't be helped that people will want to compare the two movies. They can judge for themselves when the movie is out."

He also said he made sure that the movie poster would not remind people of the poster of You Are The Apple Of My Eye.

The poster for That Girl In Pinafore shows the eight young leads - aged between 21 and 30 - sitting on the steps of a filming location, Geylang's City Plaza mall, while the Taiwanese poster shows its leads sitting in a row.

What sets the home-grown film apart, Chai said, is his tribute to xinyao, local Mandarin folk songs that were all the rage in the 1980s.

Lead actress Julie Tan, 21, said she saw her teenage years in her role as 17-year-old May.

Similar to her on-screen character, Tan faced parental objections to a budding puppy love when she was 15 and was grounded for half a year.

She said: "(There were) heartfelt emotions when I filmed the scene where I was locked in my room by my mother. I cried profusely as it brought back memories."

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