Posted: Sunday, June 25, 2006 by Shaun in

Ready Freddie?

I think this idea is quite cool. And they're auditioning right next to my office.

From the Straits Times
June 24, 2006
Queen song the basis of local film
Bohemian Rhapsody lyrics will be dialogue for eight-minute production


SINGAPOREAN artist Ho Tzu Nyen is making a short film based on British rock band Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody.

The eight-minute film, which the artist plans to shoot in a courtroom in the former Supreme Court building, will use the lyrics of the classic rock song for its entire dialogue.

It is part of an artwork Ho, 30, is creating for the Singapore Biennale. The inaugural visual arts biennale, to run from September to November, will use the old Supreme Court as one of its exhibition venues. The building is currently vacant, with the exception of a few offices.

The Bohemian Rhapsody project is budgeted to cost less than $33,000, with partial funding support from the Singapore Film Commission and volunteers for its main production crew.

Ho paid US$2,000 (S$3,200) to obtain the rights from the rock band to use the 1975 hit in his film.

'We bargained for the rights for very long,' says the full-time artist, whose works range from painting, video and performance to television programmes.

He wrote an e-mail to Brian May, the band's lead guitarist, last year to say he was making the film as homage to the genius of the late lead singer, Freddie Mercury. But May never replied.

The rights, brokered earlier this month through a chain of intermediaries, are for only a year. Thereafter, Ho will not be allowed to screen his film in public. He is thus hoping to take it on the film or video festival circuit before the rights expire.

His previous work, Utama - Every Name In History Is I, a video installation about the myth surrounding Singapore founder Sang Nila Utama, was screened at the Bangkok Film Festival in 2003 and the Hong Kong International Film Festival earlier this year.

Just as the song is made up of distinct and varied sections - spanning a ballad, a heavy metal and a mock-opera - the film will constantly switch between genres and styles; from conventional courtroom drama to baroque opera.

He explains: 'The judicial system has always been theatrical. In the past, when people were hanged in public, crowds went to watch. It has always been a spectacle.

As the theme of the biennale is 'Belief', the work will fit in as it explores whether there is belief in justice.

Another theme he wants to explore is the ambiguity between dream and reality, which is hinted at in the song's opening lines, 'Is this the real life?/Is this just fantasy?'

Given the song's popularity, he is looking forward to some 'audience participation' from his viewers.

'The fact that people are reading the lines without singing it would be like mental karaoke. We give you the lines and you fill in the music in your head.'

A casting call is being held at The Substation (45 Armenian Street), The Blue Room, today and next Saturday, from 10am to 6pm. E-mail bohemianfilm@ or call 9061-8695 for an appointment, or walk in. All are welcome.

Ho Tzu Nyen's lecture performance,

2 South Seas, 3 Chairs, 4 Suits, is on at the Lasalle-SIA College of the Arts auditorium (90 Goodman Road) on Tuesday at 7.30pm. Admission is free.

'It would be like mental karaoke. We give you the lines and you fill in the music in your head'
Ho Tzu Nyen, on the lyrics of Bohemian Rhapsody as dialogue

I'm quite big on queen, but sadly young enough to claim that my first intro duction to Bohemian Rhapsody was 92's Wayne's World. Dad used to have the cassette of Greatest Hits Volume 2 in the car, which turned me on to Radio Ga Ga and I Want to Break Free (campiest MTV btw). Was so damn happy when the cover band dropped by and played in Singapore.



  1. 'm says:

    i'm surprised you didn't audition or volunteer to crew.

    must think ahead, mah... cannot just be stuck in an all-consuming Supes mania ;)

  1. Anonymous says:

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