Malaya Black & White | Ricochet

"I am supposed to say something to the children in the Singapore audience. These children who are doomed to ride the up escalator forever."
David Bowie, Serious Moonlight World Tour Book

In December 1983, David Bowie's massive 'Serious Moonlight' tour arrived in Asia for three shows in Hong Kong, Bangkok and Singapore, virtually uncharted territory for major rock acts at the time. Young documentarist Gerry Troyna was hired to capture the trip and not make a traditional 'rockumentary'. The resulting triptych depicts Bowie's strange encounters with other cultures. In Singapore (which is the most compelling part of the film) he grapples with the city's contradictions, befriending Chinese Opera performers, drifting through alienating shopping malls, culminating in the troubled, almost cancelled concert in the National Stadium (organised by Goh Poh Seng).

This screening is part of the 'Beyond Saint Jack' segment under the NUS Museum's Malaya Black & White film series.

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
  • Venue Address was changed to "NUS Museum, University Cultural Centre, 50 Kent Ridge Crescent, National University of Singapore". Diff 2015-04-02 03:15:39
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Wed Apr 15, 2015
7:00 PM - 8:30 PM SGT
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NUS Museum
Ricochet (Wed, 15 April, 7pm)
Venue Address
NUS Museum, University Cultural Centre, 50 Kent Ridge Crescent, National University of Singapore Singapore
NUS Museum