Glimpses of Freedom: Independent Cinema in Southeast Asia

Glimpses of Freedom: Independent Cinema in Southeast Asia


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Glimpses of Freedom: Independent Cinema in Southeast Asia by May Adadol Ingawanij

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.


Benedict Anderson, Cornell University; Tilman Baumgärtel, Royal University of Phnom Penh; Angie Bexley, College of Asia and the Pacific (Australian National University); Chris Chong, independent film director, Malaysia; Hassan Abd Muthalib (artist, writer, and film director), Universiti Teknologi MARA Malaysia; Eloisa May P. Hernandez, University of the Philippines, Diliman; May Adadol Ingawanij, Centre for Research and Education in Arts and Media, University of Westminster; Gaik Cheng Khoo, Australian National University; Mariam Lam, University of California–Riverside; Benjamin McKay (1964–2010), writer, critic, and academic, Kuala Lumpur; Vinita Ramani Mohan, Access to Justice Asia LLP; Alexis A. Tioseco (1981–2009), film critic, curator, and lecturer, Philippines; John Torres, musician and experimental filmmaker, Philippines; Chalida Uabumrungjit, Thai Film Foundation and Thai Short Film and Video Festival; Jan Uhde, University of Waterloo, Ontario, Canada; and Yvonne Ng Uhde, editorial board, KINEMA journal, University of Waterloo

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780877277552
Publisher: Cornell University Press
Publication date: 01/25/2012
Pages: 260
Product dimensions: 6.90(w) x 9.90(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

May Adadol Ingawanij is a senior research fellow at the Centre for Research and Education in Arts and Media, University of Westminster (London). She has published articles on Thai and Southeast Asian cinema in a range of academic and general publications, including Inter-Asia Cultural Studies, Representing the Rural, The Ambiguous Allure of the West, Criticine, Vertigo, Aan Journal, Z Filmtidsskrift, and Segnocinema.

Benjamin McKay was a writer, critic, and academic based in Kuala Lumpur. He had just completed his PhD research on 1950s and 1960s Malay cinema when, on July 18, 2010, he died of a cardiac arrest. As a lecturer in Film Studies at Monash University Malaysia, he was much loved by his students. As a critic, Benjamin wrote a monthly column for the Malaysian magazine Off The Edge and was a regular contributor to Kakiseni and the Southeast Asian cinema online journal Criticine.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Dialectics of Independence May Adadol Ingawanij 1

Part 1 Action

Voices of the Fourth Generation of Malaysian-Indian Filmmakers Hassan Abd Muthalib 15

Dissent Isn't Disloyalty: In Conversation with Martyn See Vinita Ramani Mohan 31

The Age of Thai Independence: Looking Back on the First Decade of the Short Film Chalida Uabumrungjit 47

Piracy Boom Boom John Torres 63

Aku, Perempuan, dan Perempuan Itu: Me, Woman, and that Woman Chris Chong Chan Fui 73

Part 2 Reflection

Circumventing Channels: Indie Filmmaking in Post-Socialist Vietnam and Beyond Mariam B. Lam 87

Auteur-ing Malaysia: Yasmin Ahmad and Dreamed Communities Benjamin McKay 107

Smoking, Eating, and Desire: A Study of Alienation in the Films of James Lee Gaik Cheng Khoo 121

Independence and Indigenous Film: The Framing of Timor-Leste Angle Bextey 137

The Strange Story of a Strange Beast: Receptions in Thailand of Apichatpong Weerasethakul's Sat pralaat Benedict R. O'G. Anderson 149

The Thai Short Film and Video Festival and the Question of Independence May Adadol Ingawanij 165

Part 3 Advocacy

Like the Body and the Soul: Independence and Aesthetics in Contemporary Philippine Cinema Alexis A. Tioseco 183

The Piracy Generation: Media Piracy and Independent Film in Southeast Asia Tilman Baumgartel 195

The Substation and the Emergence of an Alternative Cinema Culture in Singapore Jan Uhde Yvonne Ng Uhde 209

The Beginnings of Digital Cinema in Southeast Asia Eloisa May P. Hernandez 223

Contributors 237

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