The Cinema of Small Nations

By Mette Hjort; Duncan Petrie | Go to book overview

7. SINGAPORE

See Kam Tan and Jeremy Fernando

[T]he idea of 'national cinema' has given way to 'transnational film
studies' … [I]nstead of following the rush to abandon the national alto-
gether, we [ask] what happens to the national in transnational film
studies. We [call] for the final abandonment of the old national cinemas
model, which assumed nation-states were stable and coherent and that
films [of a particular nation-state] expressed singular national identity.
(Berry and Farquhar 2006: 195)


INTRODUCTION: CONFLICTING NATIONALISMS

Singapore on screen testifies to the fact that this small nation has both benefited from, and paid the price for, its historical position as the premier port in South East Asia. As the gateway between 'east' and 'west' and even 'north' and 'south', the city-state has long been territory to and for the global traffic in people, ideas, images, cultures and capital, including film. Singapore cinema thus has simultaneously local, national and transnational dimensions, similar to the country's multiracial, multicultural, multi-religious and multi-linguistic environments. The inherent contradictions result in considerable complexity. In this chapter we limit our discussion to Singapore cinema of the last two decades or so, a period that coincides with this cinema's revitalisation.

One key ideological tendency informing new Singapore cinema is a form of cultural nationalism that strives to be locally attached. It characteristically yields content about, as film scholar Tom O'Regan has observed in a different context,

-127-

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The Cinema of Small Nations
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Introduction 1
  • Part One - Europe 21
  • 1. Denmark 23
  • 2. Iceland 43
  • 3. Ireland 60
  • 4. Scotland 76
  • 5. Bulgaria 93
  • Part Two - Asia and Oceania 111
  • 6. Hong Kong 113
  • 7. Singapore 127
  • 8. Taiwan 144
  • 9. New Zealand 160
  • Part Three - The Americas and Africa 177
  • 10. Cuba 179
  • 11. Burkina Faso 198
  • 12. Tunisia 213
  • Notes on Contributors 229
  • Index 233
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