Movies in Singapore


The early Singaporean cinema started in 1930ís was result of wholesome film activities by few creative men who coordinated all verticals of cinema together. Their cinema took ideas and techniques from the world screen industry, but did maintain its own individuality by keeping aloof from mainstream cinema. Though too less in number, the movies released by Singaporean directors-producers were worth noticing.

The early production houses were Shaw and Cathay, who themselves created movie houses to play their own movies.

P. Ramlee and Cathay Keris were the key people who introduced film industry to Singapore. The most noted directors of this time were Hussein Haniff of Cathay Keris and P. Ramlee who was a versatile talent in script making, acting and directing.

The early Singaporean cinema presented Arabian love stories which were all time epics of the common man. Later Chinese movies which were creations of both Chinese and Indian entertainment stalwarts became popular in Singapore. During the infamous Japanese invasion during World War II, the Shaw and Cathay theatres were used to propagate war hysteria and hate of the era.

In the early 1950's efforts were made to create Malay language feature films, that later history of world cinema seen as tender but brave step to produce indigenous cinema.

To some extend the movies tried to reflect Singaporean life in its true awe. But the effort did not last long due to financial crisis and lack of technical inadequacies. The next phase of cinema was led by Chong Gay. His creations were The Hypocrite, Crimes Does Not Pay and The Two Sides of the Bridge.

Bobby A Suarez has made some innovative experiments by making They Call Her Cleopatra Wong, Dynamite Johnson, etc. Sonny Lim, a Hawaiian musician tried to promote the movie They Call Her Cleopatra Wong in America by dubbing it in American accent.

One of the internationally acclaimed movies of all times was Lim Suat Yenís film The Road Less Travelled. Post 1990 the Singaporean cinema recovered from its inherent inertia considerably. With the entry of Bugis Street, Mee Pok Man, which proved good standard by box office as well as artistically and ideas of independent filmmaking. Arnmy Daze, Forever Fever, God or Dog Tigerís Whip and Teenage Textbox were some well discussed movies of the time. In 1990ís decade 12 of the Singaporean movies got entry in the Cannes film festival.

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