Eric Khoo

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For the World Scout Committee member, see Eric Khoo Heng-Pheng.
Eric Khoo
Chinese 邱金海

Eric Khoo (born 1965) is a film director from Singapore. He was introduced to the world of cinema at a very early age. The youngest son of banker Khoo Teck Puat, he was educated at United World College of South East Asia before attending City Art Institute in Sydney where he pursued cinematography. After an early foray as a comic artist,[1] Khoo began his career with short films when he directed films like When the Magic Dies (1985), Barbie Digs Joe (1990), and August (1991), before branching out into feature films with the acclaimed Mee Pok Man (1995), 12 Storeys (1997), Be with Me (2005), My Magic (2008) and Tatsumi (2011). He has also produced and/or directed made-for-television films, music videos and television advertisements, and runs the production companies Zhao Wei Films / Gorylah Pictures.

In February 1999, Khoo was named in Asiaweek magazine as one of 25 exceptional Asians for his influence on film and television. In June of the same year, he received the Singapore Youth Award in recognition of his contribution to the country's film industry. Khoo is also the first recipient of the National Arts Council's Young Artist Award for Film in 1997. In 2008, Khoo was awarded the Chevalier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres from the French Minister of Culture.

Khoo's films[edit]

According to Dr Kenneth Paul Tan:[2]

Khoo's films explore a set of hard-hitting themes, including a sense of alienation in contemporary Singapore, nostalgia for a humane past, and the centrality and complexity of human sexuality. Influenced by Martin Scorsese's Taxi Driver, Khoo often features a complex anti-hero as the protagonist of his films: the lonely old man who commits suicide on his birthday in Symphony 92.4, the pork-seller in Carcass who takes comfort in television dramas and regular sex with a prostitute, the outcast necrophilic hawker in Mee Pok Man, the model citizen who breaks down in 12 Storeys – all dysfunctional individuals struggling to cope in a rigid and yet fast-paced society administered by harsh norms. Khoo usually captures grittier, less sanitised images of Singapore's underbelly that contrast starkly with the projected images of tourism-hungry Singapore. Yet, Khoo possesses the remarkable ability to invest tremendous aesthetic beauty into the dilapidated back alleys, crumbling old buildings, and seedy prostitute dens, without trivialising them. In many ways, Khoo is a public intellectual who, through his films, raises a critical awareness among his audience of their own conditions of existence, or at least of other people's conditions of existence.

Mee Pok Man, 12 Storeys, Be with Me, My Magic and Tatsumi[edit]

Khoo is famous for his five critically acclaimed feature films that have been screened at film festivals all over the world: Mee Pok Man (1995), 12 Storeys (1997), Be with Me (2005), My Magic (2008) and Tatsumi (2011). Mee Pok Man won prizes in Singapore, Fukuoka and Pusan. It was also entered into the 19th Moscow International Film Festival.[3] 12 Storeys won him the Federation of International Film Critics (FIPRESCI) Award and the UOB Young Cinema Award at the 10th Singapore International Film Festival, and the Golden Maile Award for Best Picture at the 17th Hawaii International Film Festival. 12 Storeys was also the first Singapore film to be invited to take part in the Cannes Film Festival. Be With Me opened the Directors' Fortnight at the 2005 Cannes Film Festival, while My Magic was nominated for the Palme d'Or at the 2008 Cannes Film Festival and was voted as one of the top five films of that year by Le Monde. Most recently, Tatsumi, based on manga artist Yoshihiro Tatsumi's memoir, premiered in the Un Certain Regard section at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival.

In September 2014, Khoo announced that he will release a drama anthology, In the Room, in 2015. Exploring themes of love and sensuality, the film will star Hong Kong actress Josie Ho, Japanese adult-film actress Shou Nishino, and actor Koh Boon Pin, who starred in Khoo's 12 Storeys. In the Room will also feature a homage to controversial cabaret dancer Rose Chan, the subject of a biopic that was first announced in 2009 but is still under development.[4][5] In addition, 2015 will see the release of Khoo's short film as part of an omnibus to commemorate Singapore's 50th year of independence.[6]

Selected filmography[edit]

Year Title Roles Note
1990 Barbie Digs Joe Director, writer Short
1991 Hope and Requiem Director, writer Short
1991 August Director, writer Short
1992 The Punk Rocker and... Director Short
1993 Symphony 92.4 FM Director Short
1993 The Watchman Director Short
1994 Pain Director, producer Short
1995 Mee Pok Man Director
1997 12 Storeys Director, writer Chinese: 十二楼; pinyin: Shi'er lou
1999 Liang Po Po: The Movie Executive producer
1999 Stories About Love Executive producer
2000 Moments of Magic VDO Director Singapore's millennium MTV
2000 Home VDO Director Short
2001 One Leg Kicking Writer, executive producer
2003 15: The Movie Producer
2005 Be With Me Director, writer
2006 Digital Sam in Sam Saek 2006: Talk to Her Director Segment: No Day Off
2006 Zombie Dogs Producer
2006 0430 Producer
2007 881 Producer
2008 My Magic Director, writer
2008 Invisible Children Producer
2009 Darah Producer
2010 Sandcastle Producer
2011 Tatsumi Director
2011 60 Seconds of Solitude in Year Zero Director Segment
2012 23:59 Producer
2013 Ghost Child Producer
2013 Recipie Director Telemovie
2015 In the Room Director Filming

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Lim, Cheng Tju. "The Early Comics of Eric Khoo by Lim Cheng Tju". s/pores. s/pores. Retrieved 3 September 2014. 
  2. ^ Tan, Kenneth Paul (2005). "About Eric Khoo". Inaugural Forum on Asian Cinema. Asian Film Archive website. 
  3. ^ "19th Moscow International Film Festival (1995)". MIFF. Retrieved 20 March 2013. 
  4. ^ Lui, John (3 September 2014). "Eric Khoo's new movie to feature sex, nudity and a Japanese porn star". The Straits Times (Singapore Press Holdings). Retrieved 3 September 2014. 
  5. ^ "Eric still can't find his Rose". The New Paper (Singapore Press Holdings). 19 April 2009. Retrieved 3 September 2014. 
  6. ^ Chan, Boon (20 August 2014). "One film for Singapore's 50th year from seven top local directors, including Eric Khoo and Jack Neo". The Straits Times (Singapore Press Holdings). Retrieved 3 September 2014. 

External links[edit]