Imagined Communities, Imagined Worlds

Tilman Baumgärtel

in Southeast Asian Independent Cinema

Published by Hong Kong University Press

Published in print January 2012 | ISBN: 9789888083602
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9789882209114 | DOI:
Imagined Communities, Imagined Worlds

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The article gives an overview of the recent upsurge of independent cinema in Southeast Asia. I argue that these films are examples of a new transnational cinema forthe lack of alternative: as the political and social situation in the countries where they have been made does not allow for their inclusion into the mainstream of the national cinema, they have turned to an international market to find an audience. I argue that a new generation of film-makers has been empowered by the easy and cheap access to digital video. Thanks to digital cinema technology, film-makersfrom South East Asia have the opportunity to produce their alternative and often very personal works. Using Arjun Appadurai's influential essay ‘Disjuncture and Difference’ (1996) as a theoretical framework, I discuss some of the specific traits of recent independent films from Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, Cambodia, Singapore and the Philippines, and point out their genuinely transnational nature with regard to distribution and reception.

Keywords: Southeast Asia; Independent Cinema; Digital Cinema; Arjun Appadurai; Mediascape; Malaysia; Thailand; Indonesia; Cambodia; Singapore; Philippines

Chapter.  5706 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Society and Culture

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