Singapore University of Social Sciences

Singapore Film: 1930-2000 (FLM253)

Applications Open: 01 April 2020

Applications Close: 31 May 2020

Next Available Intake: July 2020

Course Types: Modular Undergraduate Course

Language: English

Duration: 6 months

Fees: To be confirmed

Area of Interest: Digital Media

Schemes: Lifelong Learning Credit (L2C)

Funding: To be confirmed


This course looks at the history of film in Singapore. Students will learn about Leila Majnun (1933), the first feature film made in Singapore; the propaganda films made by the Japanese in World War II; and Singapore’s golden age of filmmaking in the 1950s and 1960s, when Malay films were made by Cathay Keris and Shaw Brothers. The course will look at the dry decades of the 1970s and 1980s, then consider the resurgence of locally made films that began with Eric Khoo’s Mee Pok Man in 1995, and end with the satirical Chicken Rice War in 2000. The course will consider the social, political, and economic factors behind the development of Singapore film and will also pay attention to the themes in the films themselves. Students will be required to view representative Singapore films and critique relevant articles. The films will feature the use of English, Malay, Mandarin, and some Chinese dialects.

Level: 2
Credit Units: 5
Presentation Pattern: Every July
E-Learning: BLENDED - Learning is done MAINLY online using interactive study materials in Canvas. Students receive guidance and support from online instructors via discussion forums and emails. This is supplemented with SOME face-to-face sessions. If the course has an exam component, This will be administered on-campus.


  • Early Images of Singapore: Historical Perspectives and Value
  • A Regional Film Industry in Singapore
  • Singapore Cinema as a National Cinema: Race and Language
  • Independent and International Productions in Singapore
  • Contemporary Singapore Cinema I
  • Contemporary Singapore Cinema II

Learning Outcome

  • Demonstrate familiarity with the key periods of filmmaking in Singapore.
  • Examine the relevance of social, political, cultural, and economic contexts in the making and reception of Singapore film.
  • Show the ability to identify and assess the opportunities and difficulties involved in the making and distribution of Singapore film.
  • Analyse the themes, styles, motifs, structures, and production values of Singapore film.
  • Comment critically on the key interests and challenges in the development and history of Singapore film.
  • Discuss the evolution of Singapore film through the decades, paying attention to specific scenes and larger thematic concerns
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