Historical Poetics, Malaysian Cinema, and the Japanese Occupation

  • Timothy White


LITTLE HAS BEEN WRITTEN, especially in English, about the history of Malaysian cinema. Rather than a fully-developed study of Malaysian film, this article is really more of an introduction to the project I am undertaking, which is a study of Malaysian cinema from the "Golden Age" (the 1950s and 1960s), including especially the films of P. Ramlee, but also such genres as the crime film, fantasy film, and pontianak (vampire) film, to today's Malaysian cinema, with its own genres, outstanding filmmakers (Aziz Osman and U-Wei Haji Shaari, for example), and performers (most obviously, Sofia Jane). And this article is as much an introduction to my methodology -- historical poetics -- as it is to my subject. Therefore, this article is divided into three sections: the first deals with the need for a new way of looking at Third World cinema; the second with a general discussion of what historical...