Screening Singapore: The cinematic landscape of Eric Khoo's Be With Me

Law, L., Wee, C.J.W-L., and McMullan, F. (2011) Screening Singapore: The cinematic landscape of Eric Khoo's Be With Me. Geographical Research, 49 (4). pp. 363-374.

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This paper investigates the mutually constitutive relationship between the context of film production and the composition and content of images produced. Singapore film director Eric Khoo is central to our investigation, and his 2005 film Be With Me is a key example of how Singapore's ongoing urban redevelopment to become a world city reflexively shapes the style and appearance of the city-state projected in the film. Singapore's history as a developmental state, its pervasive influence on the public and private spaces of its citizens, and recent state-led initiatives to nurture the arts and media sectors all make it an ideal site to examine the relations between the cinema and space. Be With Me also lends itself to spatial analysis as its mise-en-scène is a geography of the life course: particular parts of the city are 'cast' as spaces of youth, middle, and old age. We elaborate how the landscapes deployed in the film are simultaneously constituted through state policies, mise-en-scène, and gender/age/class considerations. In so doing we show how Khoo's vision of the city-state has altered since his emergence as a film director in the 1990s: from an oppressed site of hyper-modernity to a more ambivalent 'globalised' built environment in which marginalised or liminal urban spaces for sensuous life and hope for human connection can be experienced.

Item ID: 21016
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1745-5871
Keywords: cinema; space; Singapore; Eric Khoo; cultural policy; senses
Date Deposited: 22 Mar 2012 06:48
FoR Codes: 16 STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY > 1604 Human Geography > 160403 Social and Cultural Geography @ 100%
SEO Codes: 95 CULTURAL UNDERSTANDING > 9503 Heritage > 950304 Conserving Intangible Cultural Heritage @ 100%
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