For the graphic novel by Dave McKean, see Cages (comic series).

Cages is a 2005 film, directed by American film director Graham Streeter which tells the story of a single mother named Ali Tan (Tan Kheng Hua) attempt to escape repeated bad releationships which puts her before the man she resents the most- her father, Tan (Mako Iwamatsu). The truth is not always easy to face when her father reveals a dark secret 20 years past; a past that may cost a lifetime of relationship.

Primary cast


After a fall-out with her recent boyfriend Ethan (Bobby Tonelli), Ali (Tan Kheng Hua) a single mother finds herself broke, desperate and homeless. In effort to care for her blind son Jonah (Dickson Tan), She reluctantly seeks out the only living relative she knows, her father Tan (Mako Iwamatsu). To earn enough money to be on her own she accepts a job in her father's bird shop, but not without the resistance of the shop's manager Liz (Zelda Rubinstein), a manipulative and protective middle-aged British woman.

While Liz and Ali clash at every glance, Tan begins to bond with his new grandson, teaching him about the beauty of Singapore's traditional songbird culture.

For the first time, Jonah crawls out of his shell and finds a connection with the outside world, drawing him further from his mother's hold, and deeper into Tan's world. Ali's soon finds herself caught in a double-edged scenario, as she realizes her father has a powerful and profound effect on her son.

After great deliberation, Ali decides to let Tan and Jonah bond, but just as she feared, Tan mysteriously becomes cold and distant. As a result, Ali's feelings of childhood rejection resurface, sending her into a quest for the truth of their past.

But the truth is not always easy to face, as her father's explanation of why he left the family is revealed; a dark secret of 20 years past is exposed, changing Ali's view on life forever.


  • Cages was shot entirely in Singapore.
  • For one of scenes in the film, the production organized a charity songbird competition with over 400 participants. Proceeds went to the Singapore School for the Visually Handicapped. (SSVH)
  • Bobby Tonelli who is an artist himself, chose to paint all of the artwork seen in Ethan's apartment.
  • Cages was shot in High Defintion using the Panasonic Varicam AJ-HDC27F in 45 days and later transferred to 35mm.
  • Dickson Tan who is legally blind, typed out the entire script in Braille.

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