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Center for Southeast Asian Studies pres.

CSEAS Lecture Series. ‘Why should I keep loving you when I know that you're not true?’ A Cinema of Hiraeth

Gerald Sim, Associate Professor of Film and Media Studies, Florida Atlantic University

event_SIM event_SIM
In filmmaker Tan Pin Pin’s fixation with the geographical phenomenology of Singapore, one discerns ideas about local relations to space. Tan’s essayistic reflections on landscape are captivated by the unseen effects of rapid urban development, radical transformations necessitated by growth. Sifting through the affective and psychic experiences of accelerated change by way of a postcolonial economic miracle, she tries to find identity through evocative onscreen encounters with visual media, local soundscapes, architecture, and cartography. The films tend to refuse the more common artistic recourse to nostalgia, and defy a critical tendency to circumscribe the island’s national cinema in direct relation to social and political specificity in a traditional sense. Her most recent work casts aside the pretense of national essentialism, to dwell instead on the timeless qualities of non-places. Within these anonymous and alienating “any-space-whatevers,” we come upon the most lucid understanding of what it means to be from somewhere that perhaps, ironically, never was.

Gerald Sim is an associate professor of film and media studies at Florida Atlantic University, the author of The Subject of Film and Race: Retheorizing Politics, Ideology, and Cinema (2014), and Lee Kong Chian NUS-Stanford Distinguished Fellow on Contemporary Southeast Asia. His essay on Malaysian filmmaker Yasmin Ahmad, “Postcolonial Cacophonies,” was recently published in positions: asia critique.

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