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Malaysian Cinema, Asian Film

Malaysian Cinema, Asian Film: Border Crossings and National Culture

William van der Heide
Copyright Date: 2002
Pages: 336
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  • Book Info
    Malaysian Cinema, Asian Film
    Book Description:

    This monograph departs from traditional studies of national cinema by accentuating the intercultural and intertextual links between Malaysian films and Asian (as well as European and American) film practices. Using cross-cultural analysis, the author characterizes Malaysia as a pluralist society consisting of a multiplicity of cultural identities. Malaysian film reflects this remarkable heterogeneity, particularly evident in the impact of the Indian and Hong Kong cinema. Detailed analyses of a selection of Malaysian films highlight their cultural complexities, while noting the tension between cultural inclusivity and ethnic exclusivity at the heart of this cinema. This title is available in the OAPEN Library -

    eISBN: 978-90-485-0512-8
    Subjects: Film Studies

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. 1-4)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. 5-8)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. 9-10)
  4. Introduction
    (pp. 11-24)

    ʹPanggung Wayangʹ is a frequently used phrase for cinema and cinema-going in Malaysia. It is made up of two words: ʹPanggung,ʹ meaning a theater, a stage and even an audience, and ʹWayang,ʹ which refers to the traditional shadow puppet theater of the Malay world.¹ Wayang is sometimes also combined with the word ʹGambar,ʹ which means a picture, a drawing or a photograph, to signify a movie. It is reputed that P. Ramlee (of whom more below) constructed a word ʹPawagam,ʹ made from the first few letters ofPanggung,Wayang andGambar, to designate the cinema (Ché-Ross, 1996), but it appears...

  5. 1 Border Crossings
    (pp. 25-56)

    This book is primarily concerned with the analysis of Malaysian film culture and films produced in Malaysia over the past fifty years. Prior to tackling the films themselves, it is necessary to examine some fundamental theoretical issues that are central to the argument, particularly cross-cultural analysis and transtextuality. There are certain other issues that also need discussing, but this will be done at the relevant stages of the overall argument: national and cultural analysis in the chapter on Malaysian society and culture (chapter 2) and national cinema in the chapter on film in Malaysia (chapter 3), while other, more specific...

  6. 2 Malaysian Society and Culture
    (pp. 57-104)

    In the previous chapter, the concept of transtextuality was used to trace the complex interaction and movement of filmic texts across cultures through a process of anterior and posterior textual relations. This chapter pursues similar ʹlines of connectedness’ and their involvement with notions of cultural and national identities. Once again it is useful to speak of ʹanteriorʹ and ʹposteriorʹ relationships, but in this context those relationships apply to societies and cultures and their participation in the voluntary and/or forced migration of peoples – appropriately encompassed in the concept of transmigration, which theShorter Oxford English Dictionarydefines as the passage...

  7. 3 Film in Malaysia
    (pp. 105-160)

    Malaysia does not figure very prominently in the rankings of world cinema; in fact it is hardly mentioned in the general discussion of film in academic books and journals or in more popular film books and magazines. I am aware of only two substantial entries on Malaysia in Euro-American film publications, which, whether we like it or not, still constitute the dominant discourse on cinema in the world. There is a chapter on Malaysia (and Singapore) in John A. Lentʹs interview-based book on Asian film industries (Lent, 1990: 185-200) and regular entries (since at least 1972) by the Malaysian film...

  8. 4 Malaysian Cinema
    (pp. 161-240)

    It may have been noticeable that there was only minimal discussion of specific Malaysian films in the previous chapter, except for the peculiar case of Laila Majnun. This chapter remedies that situation by presenting detailed analyses of a number of films made in Malaysia, not in order to fill a void seemingly made invisible by the presence of imported films, nor to now focus upon the ʹcenterʹ – the Malaysian national cinema. It is precisely the notion of a center that is being rejected, since it presumes a nationally circumscribed cinematic identity, defined through unique thematic and formal characteristics. On...

  9. Conclusion
    (pp. 241-248)

    The previous chapters have been a series of interrupted journeys or forays into and around Malaysian film culture, with each chapter approaching its subject increasingly more specifically, until a selection of films made in Malaysia were examined in detail in chapter 4 in order to illustrate the arguments presented throughout the book. The metaphor of the journey is important and relevant, because it suggests a movement through time and space. Movement has been the prime characteristic of the theoretical and cultural perspectives employed in the argument: the movement of ideas and the movement of peoples through place and history, defined...

  10. Notes
    (pp. 249-264)
  11. Filmography
    (pp. 265-270)
  12. Bibliography
    (pp. 271-292)
  13. Index
    (pp. 293-301)