Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Malaya Black & White | The 7th Dawn


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A curious and fascinating attempt to bring the massive machinery of a Hollywood epic movie to bear upon a story set amidst the Malaya Emergency period. Based on the novel, The Durian Tree, by Michael Keon (a very colourful character himself), The 7th Dawn is a complex love triangle (with life and death stakes) between William Holden's rubber planter and former war-hero, Capucine, improbably cast Tetsuro Tamba as a communist guerrilla chief, modelled on Chin Peng. Shot and designed by the team who brought us Lawrence of Arabia two years before and directed by a pre-James Bond Lewis Gilbert, its credentials are impeccable, and yet it is an almost forgotten film today.


This screening is part of the 'Beyond Saint Jack' segment under the NUS Museum's Malaya Black & White film series.



About ‘Beyond Saint Jack’ - The strange cinematic visitors of Singapore and Malaya Singapore/Malaya’s heyday of foreign production from the mid 1960s to the early 1980s led to a motley filmography of B-movies, commercial disasters, miscellaneous TV episodes, lost films and bizarre curios. While they resist canonisation, these films are a fascinating portal into how the region was perceived by the rest of the world both before and after the end of the colonial era; and the eagerness for Singapore and Malaysia to be represented and acknowledged by the West. A recurring motif of their narratives is the Western visitor in Singapore. This season of 10 films showcases the predecessors and descendants of Saint Jack (1979): old hands, good men, legal aliens, rugged individualists, ex-soldiers, detectives, has-beens and rock stars. Characters who have found themselves ensnared in traps beyond their control, stumbled across exotic, bewildering cultures, or entered zones of erotic possibility.

Beyond Saint Jack is guest-curated by author and critic Ben Slater, who will be present to introduce and discuss each film.

About Ben Slater
Ben Slater is the author of Kinda Hot: The Making of Saint Jack in Singapore (2006), a major contributor to World Film Locations: Singapore (2014) and the editor of 25: Histories and Memories of the Singapore International Film Festival (2014). He’s also the co-screenwriter of the feature film Camera (2014) and a Lecturer at the School of Art, Media and Design, Nanyang Technological University.

Find out more about the Malaya Black & White project: malayablackandwhite.wordpress.com

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