This month we bring T Singapore’s May magazine directly to your desktop or tablet, with our entire Film & Culture issue available online. To access it, click on the magazine tab on our website for an experience similar to reading a physical copy of T Singapore. With Singapore’s de facto lockdown extended by another four weeks, now’s the perfect time not just to reprioritise and reorganise your life but also to catch up on films and television shows at home.
In this issue, we celebrate the enduring impact of film and television on culture, art, and society at large. Our cover subject is acclaimed American actress Claire Danes who has starred in classic films and just come off eight seasons of the drama series “Homeland”. In our exclusive interview with Danes, the actress looks back at her two decades in both television and film, while discussing how each medium has evolved and is transforming into a more inclusive space.
Courtesy of Netflix
As cultural consciousness continues to play an active part in the film and production industry, audiences are seeing more authentic representations of themselves in movies and TV shows as portrayed by Netflix — from “On the Block” and “Tigertail” to the upcoming “Never Have I Ever”.
On the subject of inclusivity, writer Lynette Kee ponders whether the Hollywood film industry is truly moving towards a future where minorities and people of colour will be given a more equal chance for onscreen representation. With new movies and shows popping up on streaming services like Netflix and scheduled for the big screen, we question if this is mere lip service or a cynical, money-making exercise. We also look at how much further the entertainment industry truly needs to go to attain a more all-encompassing inclusivity.
Courtesy of Netflix
“For season two, I wanted to express a dark and depressed time, as zombies had spread nearly everywhere,” says Chae. The villain Cho Hak-ju is seen in a wide-brimmed heukrip while plotting against the crown prince.
Elsewhere in the issue, we look at the artistic inspirations of costume designer Alexandra Byrne who contributed to the distinctive visual language of the recent film adaptation “Emma” and has also designed for several Marvel shows. Byrne’s evocative and detailed writing on her personal inspirations gives insight into how a creative mind works and hints at where many of her references might come from. And if you’ve been impressed by the costuming on the popular, Joseon-era, Korean zombie series “Kingdom”, you’ll want to read writer Terence Poh’s examination of the role that hats play in the show, and also on the larger lessons that costuming can teach us in a socio-political context.
Courtesy of New Horizon Pictures Corp
In “Saint Jack”, a scene at Empress Place Seafood restaurant, which was located at what is now known as Boat Quay. Left to right: the director Peter Bogdanovich, actress Monika Subramaniam, cinematographer Robby Müller and the actor Ben Gazzara, who played the film’s protagonist.
Writer Bianca Husodo also uncovers the back story of the movie “Saint Jack”, that was made on this island in the 1970s and was directed by American director Peter Bogdanovich. Though lesser known in the Hollywood movie canon, the film was named as an inspiration by directors Wes Anderson and Quentin Tarantino. Saint Jack celebrated the seedy underbelly of a bygone Singapore, in a direct contrast to its glossy depictions in movies like “Crazy Rich Asians” — and much to the chagrin of the local government at the time. Yet it has aged remarkably well, in distilling a portion of our history and evoking a deep sense of saudade for any viewer who has grown up here. Read more on this intriguing story and perhaps find time to watch Saint Jack and judge it for yourself.
Marina Bay Sands and the Singapore Flyer have suspended operations for a month.
Finally, writer Joseph Koh and photographer Hosanna Swee’s visual journal of empty spaces in the country in the days leading up to the lockdown is both poignant and contemplative. Now is the perfect time for the country (and the world at large) to reflect on how life has changed, perhaps forever, and how to move forward with grace and resilience.
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