Talk & Film Screening | Beyond Bengal & Bring 'Em Back Alive!

Date: Thursday, 17 November 2011
Venue: NUS Museum

 6:30pm - 7:00pm - Talk by Dr Sandra Khor Manickam & A/P Timothy P. Barnard
7:00pm - 8:00pm - Beyond Bengal
8:00pm - 8:15pm - Brief interval
8:15pm - 9:00pm - Bring 'Em Back Alive!

Admission is free. Please register at or call 6516 8429 / 6516 8817

The movie Beyond Bengal was written and directed by Harry Schenck and released in the USA in 1934. Shot in Perak, British Malaya, with the cooperation of the Sultan of Perak and the assistance of colonial officers, the film is part of the genre of exploitation films, exposing the deep, dark recesses of the jungles of faraway places. The film features a mix of National Geographic-like footage of Perak in the 1930s, elements of exotic exploitation in the love story between two natives, and it injects a good measure of horror in the scenes of crocodiles eating humans. Bewildering, entertaining and truly a movie of its time and culture, Beyond Bengal will be shown in tandem with an episode of 1980s American television series Bring 'Em Back Alive!, which focused on the life of animal collector Frank Buck in Singapore and Malaya, to show the fascination American movie-makers had about Malaya, and their attempts at representing Malaya through film.

Sandra Khor Manickam has recently been awarded her PhD from the Australian National University, School of Cultures, History and Languages. Her dissertation focused on the construction of aboriginal races in the history of anthropology of British Malaya. Dr Manickam has a long-standing interest in issues surrounding nation, race and knowledge formation in Malaya. She is currently a Visiting Fellow at the Department of History, National University of Singapore.

Timothy P. Barnard is an Associate Professor in the Department of History at the National University of Singapore. His main area of research is on the cultural and environmental history of Southeast Asia, with particular attention to the Malay world. He has published a number of articles and book chapters on Malay film in Singapore.

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