Why and for whom do you write/work today?
Feature by: Alexis A. Tioseco
Actually, I don't consider myself a critic in the conventional sense. I write mostly articles as a part of my film research. They may be called academic, although I prefer them to be accessible to readers beyond scholarly circles. I dislike the convoluted academic newspeak so widespread these days. That's why I appreciate the unpretentious yet eloquent simplicity of Ozu's film language so much.
I wrote a couple of books, including Latent Images: Film in Singapore which I co-authored with my wife Yvonne who is a Singaporean. More recently, we contributed chapters to books such as Fear Without Frontiers, Contemporary Asian Cinema, and journals such as Spectator (USC). I have written on Singapore film and on the Czech master animator Jan Svankmajer whose surreal movies I have loved since my student years. Recently, I contributed a chapter on Svankmajer to Horror International (Wayne State U. Press).
In 1993, I founded a semi-annual journal Kinema, published at the University of Waterloo. I have been teaching Film Studies there, my full-time activity. There was no program of Film Studies there, so I started one–I guess unexplored areas must attract me in some way.
People have been asking me what brought me to the subject of Singapore film. Twelve years ago. I asked my wife about Singapore movies and I realized that practically nothing had been written on film in Singapore, except a few scattered newspaper articles and two to three pages in books on Asian cinema. I realized that something should be done. I am happy to see some progress in Singapore's film scene.
Dr Jan Uhde is Professor of Film Studies at the Fine Arts, University of Waterloo, ON, Canada. Born in Brno, Czech Republic, he moved to Canada in 1968. At the University of Waterloo, he founded a program of Film Studies. He is the co-author of Latent Images: Film in Singapore (OUP, 2000) and the Latent Images: Film in Singapore CD-ROM (2003). His publications include Vision and Persistence: Twenty Years of the Ontario Film Institute (University of Waterloo Press, 1990). Uhde's professional interests comprise Central European cinema, especially the films of the Czech animator Jan Svankmajer, and issues of identification and distancing in film (metacinema). He is founding editor of KINEMA, a semi-annual journal for film and audiovisual media published at the University of Waterloo since 1993.
Khoo Gaik Cheng
Tan Bee Thiam