Malaya Black & White screenings (March 2015)

Saint Jack (11 March) & Pretty Polly (18 March)

This March, the Malaya Black & White film series returns with a brand new season, Beyond Saint Jack, guest-curated by author and critic Ben Slater. The season will kick off with the screening of Saint Jack (1979) on 11 March followed by Pretty Polly (1967) on 18 March at the NUS Museum.

Saint Jack (1979)

Wed, 11 March, 7pm

NUS Museum

M18 *Please bring some form of identification for entry.

Banned for nearly 30 years in Singapore, Peter Bogdanovich’s adaptation of Paul Theroux’s novel is the most notorious film (entirely) shot in the Lion City. Ben Gazzara is unforgettable as Jack Flowers, a moral pimp, scheming and dreaming across the slippery landscape of a rapidly changing 1970s Singapore. Jack’s the archetypal ‘old hand’ in exotic climes, and yet he’s a melancholy and generous figure – straddling local and expatriate milieu, authentically captured by Bogdanovich, a brilliant European crew, and a cast of mainly non-professionals discovered in Singapore. This screening is accompanied by a segment from the BBC TV series ‘Moving Pictures’, depicting the film being shot on location in 1978.

Pretty Polly (1967)

Wed, 18 March, 7pm

NUS Museum

Rarely seen today (it’s not on DVD!), this big-budget adaptation of Noel Coward’s acidic Singapore-set short story was shot almost entirely in Singapore in early 1967. Despite a great deal of local excitement about teen megastar Hayley Mills and Bollywood king Shashi Kapoor making a film here, Pretty Polly was not successful, but it remains a fascinating depiction of Singapore as a hedonistic playground for swinging grown-ups, where Mills experiences romantic liberation. Trevor Howard is the long-term expat uncle (who works at a rubber plantation) with his younger Chinese lover, a cynical remnant of the end of empire.

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.

To find out more about the Malaya Black & White project, please go to https://malayablackandwhite.wordpress.com/

Event Timeline
Mar 11 - Mar 18, 2015
[ Wed ] - [ Wed ]
7:00 PM - 10:00 PM SGT
Add to Calendar
NUS Museum
Saint Jack (Wed, 11 March, 7pm)
Pretty Polly (Wed, 18 March, 7pm)

On sale until Mar 18, 2015, 7:00:00 PM

Venue Address
50 Kent Ridge Crescent Singapore
NUS Museum