Film and Photography
Repairing and Restoring Singapore’s Reel Heritage
The Asian Film Archive has been restoring old classics since 2014.
Loke Wan Tho: The Man Who Built Cathay
While best known as a giant in the movie business in Malaya, Loke Wan Tho was also passionate about bird photography and the arts.
Loke Wan Tho: A Photo Essay
Loke Wan Tho (1915–64) had wide interests; he was a film magnate, a supporter of local sports, a photographer and an ornithologist.
Key Milestones in the History of Cathay Cinema
The closing of Cathay cinema at Handy Road, one of Singapore’s oldest cinemas, marks the end of an era. Here’s a look at the Cathay Building and cinema over the years.
Negotiating Boundaries: Japanese and Chinese Photo Studios in Prewar Singapore
Photo studios such Yong Fong, Lee Brothers and Daguerre had to negotiate the politics.
The Golden Age of Malay Cinema: 1947–1972
Few people are aware that Singapore was once the hub for Malay filmmaking in Southeast Asia. Nor Afidah Bte Abd Rahman and Michelle Heng recount its fabled history.
The Revival of Singapore Cinema: 1995–2014
Singapore’s film industry gets a reboot as it enters a new phase of its development. Raphaël Millet explains how this resurgence came about.
Spies, Virgins, Pimps and Hitmen: Singapore Through the Western Lens
Western filmmakers have always had a fascination for Singapore. Ben Slater tells you why.
My Movie Memorabilia
Wong Han Min’s treasure trove of film memorabilia – collected over three decades – provides a glimpse of Singapore’s rich cinematic past.
Culture on Celluloid: Alternative Films in Singapore
Intellectual and art house films have a long history in Singapore but the issues the genre faces have changed little over the years. Gracie Lee charts the challenges of alternative cinema in our city.
Five Ashore in Singapore: A European Spy Film
Raphaël Millet sits through a B-grade movie dismissed by critics as belonging to the genre of Eurospy flicks that parody James Bond – and discovers a slice of Singaporean celluloid history.
From Tents to Picture Palaces: Early Singapore Cinema
Few people are aware that Singapore’s cinema history dates back to as early as 1896. Bonny Tan traces its development, from the days of the Magic Lantern projector to the first locally made films.
Reel Life Singapore: The Films of Clyde E. Elliott
Clyde Elliott was the first Hollywood director to shoot a feature film in Singapore. Chua Ai Lin examines the authenticity of the three movies he produced here in the 1930s.
Gaston Mèliès and His Lost Films of Singapore
Gaston Méliès may be the first filmmaker to have directed fiction films in Singapore. Unfortunately, none have survived the ravages of time. Raphaël Millet tells you why.
Chaplin in Singapore
One of history’s greatest comic actors, Charlie Chaplin, stops over in Singapore in 1932 and makes a return visit in 1936. Raphaël Millet traces these journeys.
Singapore in Sepia
Photography in Singapore has a long history dating back to 1843. The earliest photographs, or daguerrotypes, captured images on metal plates. Then, in 1851, the glass plate collodion process was introduced, which allowed photographs to be easily reproduced on albumen paper. This new technology was a breakthrough as it allowed photography to take off commercially.
Marjorie Doggett: Photographer of Singapore
Edward Stokes reflects on Characters of Light by Marjorie Doggett, first published in 1957, and on his own recent book, Marjorie Doggett’s Singapore, which portrays her life and work here.
From the Archives: The Work of Photographer KF Wong
K. F. Wong shot to international fame with his images of Borneo, though not without controversy. Zhuang Wubin examines Wong’s work and sees beyond their historical value.
Picturing Singapore: A Visual History
Photographs are an important means to understand Singapore’s history and heritage. Janice Loo shares highlights from the National Library’s PictureSG Collection.
Portraits from the Lee Brothers Studio
Gretchen Liu casts the spotlight on the Lee Brothers Studio Collection. Comprising some 2,500 images, this is the largest single collection of photographic portraits in the National Archives of Singapore.
The Way We Were: The MITA Collection 1949–1969
Photographs can capture subtext that is sometimes more evocative than the intended subject, as Gretchen Liu discovered when she explored the early work of the Photo Unit.
Daguerreotypes to Dry plates: Photography in 19th-century Singapore
The oldest known photographs of Singapore were taken by Europeans in the early 1840s. Janice Loo charts the rise of commercial photography in the former British colony.
Exhibiting Photography In Pre-war Singapore
The founding of two camera clubs in 1921 created more opportunities to exhibit photographs in Malaya. Zhuang Wubin revisits three significant photo exhibitions in pre-war Singapore and examines their implications.
The Making of Xin Ke (新客)
This 1927 silent Chinese movie is the first feature film to be made in Singapore and Malaya. Jocelyn Lau traces its genesis with researcher Toh Hun Ping and translation editor Lucien Low.