Gillman Barracks used to house the British army – an instance of foreign presence prevalent in the narrative of Singapore’s history since its founding.
In this programme, we trace back historical (and imagined) accounts of Western interventions through a series of film screenings taking place in the former Regal Cinema at Gillman Barracks, a site established by the British War Office’s Army Kinema Corporation.
Join us as we consider how cinema – an invention from the West – was used as a ‘softer’ instrument for British imperialism, activated to explore and expose the far reaching Asia-Pacific worlds in both space and time, and subsequently adopted by a selection of contemporary Singapore-based filmmakers to investigate the country’s historical narratives in retrospect.
2 PM – 3:45 PM
UK / 1953 / 67 min / PG
Five years into the ‘undeclared war’ that was the Malayan Emergency (1948-1960), the production of mass media propaganda from the British and the anti-colonial Malayan guerillas was as pertinent as ever to self-justify their own violent acts and win over supporters to what either camp presupposed to be the righteous side of the conflict. This feature film example from the British depicts actions of the British troops during this struggle with the Malayan communists, comprising genuine documentary footage with susceptible re-enactments based on real life incidents.
*Post-screening presentation by Dr Lai Chee Kien and Toh Hun Ping
4:00 PM – 5:45PM
Singapore/ 2012 / 24 min / G
UTAMA – EVERY NAME IN HISTORY IS I
Ho Tzu Nyen
Singapore / 2003 / 22 min / PG
WHAT ABOUT FARQUHAR?
Singapore / 2011 / 3 min / PG
TO THE EASTWARDS (THE LINES DIVIDE)
Singapore / 2014 / 15:50 min / PG
Singapore / 2010 / 13 min / PG
BUKIT ORANG SALAH
Singapore / 2013 / 20 min / PG
6:30 PM – 8 PM
GASTON MÉLIÈS AND HIS WANDERING STAR FILM COMPANY
France, Singapore / 2015 / 60 min / NC16
Gaston Méliès, brother of the more widely known George Méliès, is often neglected in cinematic history. While George worked within the studio, manipulating the cinematograph to create illusions, Gaston brought the cinematograph across the ocean. In 1912-1913, Gaston and his film crew embarked on a journey of a lifetime through the Asia-Pacific – from Polynesia all the way to Japan – where he shot more than 64 fiction and non-fiction films.
Gaston spent the month of January 1913 in Singapore, filming in Chinatown, Little India and Pasir Ris, making what could be the first fiction films shot in Singapore: His Chinese Friend, The Poisoned Darts, A Chinese Funeral, and A Day at Singapore, all of which are presumed lost.
This documentary utilises archival footage – surviving images and footage of his films and journey – to trace his voyage, contemplating its significance to the advent of cinema.
*Post-discussion with director Raphael Millet, facilitated by Dr David Teh