About the online programme
The island city of Singapore was the site of a rich film industry in the 1950s and 1960s whose outputs are the shared heritage of different “nationalities” and “ethnicities” by virtue of Singapore’s shifting historical, political, and geographic situation in the Malay Peninsula. Today, as a sovereign and global city-state, the country cradles a new wave of filmmakers at once inward-looking and cosmopolitan in outlook, informed by the shifting meanings of Singapore’s island-ness.
From the outside, one might dwell on Pulau Ujong, or the mainland, and harbor the impression of a compact and self-contained cinema. But once we regard Singapore beyond its insularity, as an archipelago that flows through the Strait of Malacca, the Riau islands, and the South China Sea, we can better appreciate decentered films vis-àvis the mainland-city.
As islands in history are the site of contact, acculturation, and resistance, and the condensed location of complex social, cultural, and economic exchanges, so films about, set in, or that takes off from Singapore and that relates it to its outside/other productively reveals issues and transformations that, at first blush, might appear scalarly disproportionate to the nation’s smallness.
Like the tidal islets of Pulau Hantu (Ghost Island) in the Strait of Singapore that are deeply connected but sometimes appear as separate, the satellite program of INLAND, ISLAND online offers a glimpse into how figurative “island” (as opposed to “national”) filmmaking in the region can unsettle but reveal flows, be mobile but chart new grounds, appear solitary but call forth communities.
The short films from this online programme will be made available to stream here on AFA’s website from 3 March – 2 April 2022
A Life Forgotten (2014), dir. Brian Chew, Malaysia
Saudade (2020), dir. Russell Morton, Singapore
Lost World (2018), dir. Kalyanee Mam, USA
Dahdi (Granny) (2014), dir. Kirsten Tan, Singapore
For the full Reframe: INLAND, ISLAND programme screening at Oldham Theatre, please visit the main programme page here.
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