Convergence and slippage between film and history: Reviewing invisible city, Zahari’s 17 years and sandcastle

Loh Kah Seng, Kenneth Paul Tan

Research output: Chapter in book/report/conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


A modest but growing literature has noted a discontinuity in Singapore’s cinematic history, wedging a period of the “dark ages” between a “golden age” of mostly Malay-language studio films that entertained large numbers of Asian cinemagoers from 1947 to 1972 and a “revival” of the film industry since the late 1980s, driven by economic policy considerations and consisting mostly of Chinese and english-language films aimed at an international audience (Millet 2006; Uhde and Uhde 2000). Uncannily, this depiction of the middle period as culturally deficient reflected the virtual absence of politics in the 1970s, following the historic defeat of political alternatives that had animated the post-colonial consciousness in the preceding decades. The victors emerged to form a hegemonic People’s Action Party (PAP) state, armed with broad-ranging apparatuses of social control and driven to achieve high economic growth. This “administrative state” was conducive to the depoliticisation of citizens chiefly into producer-consumer subjects and model workers, willing to enter into a simple social contract with a paternalistic state that decides and provides (Chan 1975).
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSingapore Cinema
Subtitle of host publicationNew Perspectives
EditorsKai Khiun Liew, Stephen Teo
Place of PublicationLondon
Number of pages14
ISBN (Electronic)9781315683874
Publication statusPublished - 25 Nov 2016

Publication series

NameMedia, Culture and Social Change in Asia


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