Shuttle Life

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Malaysia | 2017 | 96 minutes | Seng-Kiat Tan

A Malaysian youth heads into the streets of Kuala Lumpur, hoping to raise enough money to make a forged birth certificate to retrieve his sister's body from the morgue and track down the driver who killed her, in this socially conscious exploration of living below the poverty line.

"Director Tan Seng Kiat's powerful debut feature charts the daily struggles of a working class family trapped below the poverty line in Kuala Lumpur." James Marsh - South China Morning Post

Ah Qiang (Jack Tan), 19, loves his sister Hui Shan and will do anything for her. The two live in poverty with their mother, whose undisclosed and debilitating mental illness has ruined her career as a tailor, and it's an affliction she refuses to treat with the expensive pills Qiang buys for her. It's Hui Shan's sixth birthday, and although money is tight, he does his best to give her the day she deserves. But when out with her and his delinquent friends, breaking into cars and flirting with cake shop clerks, Qiang's precarious position in a divided society is shattered when a car smashes into Qiang's scooter, injuring him and killing the birthday girl. To make matters worse, neither Qiang nor his mother can find Hui Shan's birth certificate; without it, they legally can't retrieve her body from the morgue. And so Qiang goes out into the streets of Kuala Lumpur, hoping to raise enough money to make a forged certificate and track down the driver who killed his sister. While the preceding text could describe a white-knuckle thriller, Shuttle Life is far more interested in social realism, exploring the realities of living below the poverty line in a booming city and the decisions working class citizens are forced to make to keep their families together.

Director Biography
Tan Seng Kiat first picked up filmmaking in Taiwan, studying at the Motion Picture Department of the National Taiwan University of Arts before starting his career in his native Malaysia. His first film, 32°C Fall in Love, released in 2013 and won several awards at the BMW Shorties short film competition, including the Grand Prize. He also served as cinematographer for Blind Mouth (2017).

Sponsored by Southeast Asia Center at UW, Pacific Place

  • Original Language Title: Fei Bei Ren Sheng
  • Director: Seng-Kiat Tan
  • Principal Cast: Sylvia Chang, Jack Tan, Angel Chan
  • Premiere Status: US
  • Country: Malaysia
  • Year: 2017
  • Running Time: 96 minutes
  • Producer: Jin Ong
  • Screenplay: Siew-Hong Leong, Seng-Kiat Tan
  • Cinematographers: Ko-Chin Chen
  • Editors: Hsiao-Tong Chen, Yue Ba Ren Zi
  • Filmography: Debut Feature Film
  • Language: Mandarin, Cantonese, Malay
  • Has Subtitles: Yes
  • Format: DCP
  • International Sales: MM2 Entertainment