Southeast Asian Cinema

Featured Books

* Southeast Asian Independent Cinema
* Glimpses of Freedom: Independent Cinema in Southeast Asia
* Film in Contemporary Southeast Asia: Cultural Interpretation and Social Intervention
* Dream Factories of a Former Colony: American Fantasies, Philippine Cinema
* Genders and Sexualities in Indonesian Cinema: Constructing gay, lesbi and waria identities on screen

Southeast Asian Independent Cinema

Southeast Asian Independent Cinema

by Tilman Baumgärtel
Hong Kong University Press, 2012

The rise of independent cinema in Southeast Asia, following the emergence of a new generation of filmmakers there, is among the most significant recent developments in global cinema. The advent of affordable and easy access to digital technology has empowered startling new voices from a part of the world rarely heard or seen in international film circles. The appearance of fresh, sharply alternative, and often very personal voices has had a tremendous impact on local film production. This book documents these developments as a genuine outcome of the democratization and liberalization of film production. Contributions from respected scholars, interviews with filmmakers, personal accounts and primary sources by important directors and screenwriters collectively provide readers with a lively account of dynamic film developments in Southeast Asia.

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Glimpses of Freedom: Independent Cinema in Southeast Asia

 Glimpses of Freedom

edited by May Adadol Ingawanij and Benjamin McKay
Southeast Asia Program Publications, 2011

Since the late 1990s, a vivid new sphere of cinematic practice in Southeast Asia has emerged and been identified as independent. What exactly does this term mean in relation to the way films and videos are made, and the way they look? How do issues of festival circulation, piracy, technology, state and institutional power, and spectatorship apply to practices of independent cinema throughout the diverse region? The authors who speak in this volume—contemporary filmmakers, critics, curators, festival organizers—answer these questions. They describe and analyze the emerging field of Southeast Asian cinema, which they know firsthand and have helped create and foster.

Glimpses of Freedom is the outcome of a project collaboratively conceived by a new generation of scholars of cinema in Southeast Asia, inspired by the growing domestic and international visibility of notable films and videos from the region. Contributors include internationally esteemed independent filmmakers, critics, and curators based in Southeast Asia, such as Hassan Abd Muthalib, Alexis A. Tioseco, Chris Chong Chan Fui, and John Torres. International scholars such as Benedict Anderson, Benjamin McKay, May Adadol Ingawanij, and Gaik Cheng Khoo contextualize and theorize Southeast Asia’s “independent film cultures.” The interaction between practitioners and critics in this volume illuminates a contemporary artistic field, clarifying its particular character and its vital contributions to cinema worldwide.

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Film in Contemporary Southeast Asia: Cultural Interpretation and Social Intervention 

Film in Contemporary Southeast Asia

edited by David C. L. Lim and Hiroyuki Yamamoto (Editor)

Routledge, 2011

This book discusses contemporary film in all the main countries of Southeast Asia, and the social practices and ideologies which films either represent or oppose. It shows how film acquires signification through cultural interpretation, and how film also serves as a site of contestations between social and political agents seeking to promote, challenge, or erase certain meanings, messages or ideas from public circulation. A unique feature of the book is that it focuses as much on films as it does on the societies from which these films emerge: it considers the reasons for film-makers taking the positions they take; the positions and counter-positions taken; the response of different communities; and the extent to which these interventions are connected to global flows of culture and capital.

The wide range of subjects covered include documentaries as political interventions in Singapore; political film-makers’ collectives in the Philippines, and films about prostitution in Cambodia and patriotism in Malaysia, and the Chinese in Indonesia. The book analyses films from Burma, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia and the Philippines, across a broad range of productions – such as mainstream and independent features across genres (for example comedy, patriotic, political, historical genres) alongside documentary, classic and diasporic films.

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Dream Factories of a Former Colony: American Fantasies, Philippine Cinema

Dream Factories of a Former Colony

by Jose B. Capino
University of Minnesota Press, 2010

Philippine cinema, the dream factory of the former U.S. colony, teems with American figures and plots. Local movies feature GIs seeking Filipina brides, cold war spies hunting down native warlords, and American-born Filipinos wandering in the parental homeland. The American landscape furnishes the settings for the triumphs and tragedies of Filipino nurses, GI babies, and migrant workers.

By tracking American fantasies in Philippine movies from the postindependence period to the present, José B. Capino offers an innovative account of cinema’s cultural work in decolonization and globalization. Capino examines how a third world nation’s daydreams both articulate empire and mobilize against it, provide imaginary maps and fables of identity for its migrant workers and diasporan subjects, pose challenges to the alibis of patriarchy and nationalism, and open up paths for participating in the cultures of globality.

Through close readings of more than twenty Philippine movies, Capino demonstrates the postcolonial imagination’s vital role in generating pragmatic and utopian visions of living with empire. Illuminating an important but understudied cinema, he creates a model for understanding the U.S. image in the third world.

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Genders and Sexualities in Indonesian Cinema: Constructing gay, lesbi and waria identities on screen

Genders and Sexualities in Indonesian Cinema: Constructing gay, lesbi and waria identities on screen

by Ben Murtagh
Routledge, 2013

Indonesia has a long and rich tradition of homosexual and transgender cultures, and the past 40 years in particular has seen an increased visibility of sexual minorities in the country, which has been reflected through film and popular culture. This book examines how representations of gay, lesbian and transgender individuals and communities have developed in Indonesian cinema during this period. The book first explores Indonesian engagement with waria (male-to-female transgender) identities and the emerging representation of gay and lesbi Indonesians during Suharto’s New Order regime (1966-98), before going on to the reimagining of these positions following the fall of the New Order, a period which saw the rebirth of the film industry with a new generation of directors, producers and actors. Using original interview research and focus groups with gay, lesbi and waria identified Indonesians, alongside the films themselves and a wealth of archival sources, the book contrasts the ways in which transgendered lives are actually lived with their representations on screen.

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