Malayanized Chinese-language Cinema: On Yi Shui’s Lion City, Black Gold, and Film Writings
Hee, Wai Siam
Date of Issue2017
School of Humanities and Social Sciences
This article discusses how the Singaporean Chinese director, Yi Shui, created a Malayanized Chinese-language cinema during the 1950s and 1960s, and offers a retrospective of the way people in Malaya and Singapore framed their nation-building discourse in terms of anti-colonialism and anti-imperialism after the Bandung Conference in 1955. This article holds that the term huayu dianying (Chinese-language cinema) was not first used in the 1990s by scholars in Hong Kong and Taiwan, but that its origins can be traced to Singapore and Malaya in the 1950s where Yi Shui promoted Malayanized Chinese-language cinema in the Nanyang Siang Pau. This earlier use of the term “Chinese-language cinema” overlaps with its current academic usage, including films in Mandarin and Chinese dialects. In 1959, Yi Shui’s essays were collected in On Issues of the Malayanization of Chinese-Language Cinema. Yi Shui also directed several Malayanized Chinese-language films. This article analyzes his “Chinese language cinema” film practice by examining the discourses surrounding the “Malayanization of Chinese-language cinema” in order to show that his semi-documentary Lion City and the melodrama Black Gold attempted to mediate the misunderstandings rooted in the national boundaries and politics of various dialect groups through a “multi-lingual symbiosis” of Chinese languages.
Inter-Asia Cultural Studies
© 2017 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. This is the author created version of a work that has been peer reviewed and accepted for publication by Inter-Asia Cultural Studies, Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. It incorporates referee’s comments but changes resulting from the publishing process, such as copyediting, structural formatting, may not be reflected in this document. The published version is available at: [http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/14649373.2017.1277834].