Facets Cinémathèque

Archives +

March 10–16, 2017

Chicago Theatrical


Buy tickets
Film still: Apprentice Film still: Apprentice


Un Certain Regard Award
Cannes Film Fest
Critics' Pick "At first Apprentice seems to be a basic revenge film... But it becomes psychologically more complex"
  —New York Times
"Mysterious and nuanced... Apprentice teases a climax of bloody revenge, only to take a far more somber, complex turn"
  —Village Voice
3 stars½ "Extraordinarily subtle and heartbreaking performances"
  —Slant Magazine

Aiman is a 28-year-old Malay correctional officer who is recently transferred to Singapore's highest-security prison and lives with his older sister Suhaila in a modest housing estate. At his new workplace, Aiman begins to take an interest in a 65-year-old sergeant named Rahim and finds out that the charismatic Rahim is actually the long-serving chief executioner. Rahim takes notice of the principled and diligent Aiman and when his assistant suddenly quits, he asks Aiman to become his apprentice. Rahim is pleased to have finally found a suitable heir to a trade no one seemed to want to learn, and Aiman finds in the aging executioner the father he has never met, but his morbid fascination with Rahim and his special job is tainted with disturbing and sinister nuances. However, things take a turn when Aiman's own family history, stigmatized by crime, is revealed, in this deliberately paced psychological drama.

Apprentice is an unsettling look at the ritualized, dehumanized mechanical gestures that constitute an executioner's work. Far from being a conventional prison movie, it presents the protocol of capital punishment with the look and pace of a documentary, which brings the film to nearly unbearable heights of tension.

Directed by Boo Junfeng, Singapore/Germany/France/Hong Kong/Qatar, 2016, 96 mins. In Malaysian with English subtitles.


  • Fri., March 10 at 7 & 9 pm
  • Sat., March 11 at 3, 5, 7 & 9 pm
  • Sun., March 12 at 5 & 7 pm
  • Mon.–Thurs., March 13–16 at 7 & 9 pm
Buy tickets


$10 general admission

$5 for Facets Members

The Facets Cinémathèque is located at 1517 W. Fullerton Ave. in Chicago. Call the Cinémathèque Hotline at 773.281.4114 for the latest schedule, showtimes and updates.

For all Cinémathèque inquiries, contact Charles Coleman at 773.281.9075 or

  • John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation
  • Artworks: National Endowment for the Arts
  • Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences
  • Comer Family Foundation
  • Bloomberg Philanthropies
  • Alphawood Foundation
  • Polk Bros. Foundation