The sensitive and sensual new film from Singaporean director Eric Khoo draws together several narratives spanning several decades, all of them transpiring in the same room of the same Singaporean hotel — and all of them involving sex.
In the Room
A hotel room is a place unlike any other. It can allow us to reinvent ourselves, it can help us hide from the world, and it can offer us license to act out our wildest desires. It is desire that forms the throughline in Tatsumi director Eric Khoo's sensitive and sensual In the Room, which draws together several narratives spanning several decades, all of them transpiring in Room 27 of a Singaporean hotel.
In the film's earliest scene, shot in shimmering black and white, two men — an Englishman and a local Singaporean — bid each other a poignant farewell on the eve of the Japanese invasion. Later, in a sequence saturated with colour, we meet a man on the eve of the surgery that will change him into a woman. And in one of In the Room's most bittersweet chapters, a single Singaporean man and a married Japanese woman enjoy a prolonged tryst; the man dreams of a future for them, but the woman knows that their entire love story is to be contained within these walls. Meanwhile, the ghost of a musician who perished in the room looks on quietly as one story dovetails into another.
With careful attention to shifts in décor, mores, and politics, Khoo guides us through decades of love, lust, and loss in Room 27. In tiny moments, such as the brushing of fingers across flesh or the satisfied, dreamy gaze of a lover, In the Room presents private experience as a means of understanding what it means to be human.