This book explores the ways in which the British official film was used in Malaya/Malaysia, Singapore and Hong Kong from 1945 to the 1970s. Aitken uncovers how the British official film, and British official information agencies, adapted to the epochal contexts of the Cold War and end of empire. In addition to an extensive introduction, which touches on a number of critical issues related to the post-war British official film, the book provides an account of how the tradition of film-making associated with the British documentary film movement spread into the region during the post-war period, and how that tradition was contested by a 'Colonial Office' tradition of film-making. The volume concludes by covering the rise of television in the region within the context of developing post-colonial authoritarian states in Singapore and Malaysia, and the continuation of colonial authoritarianism in Hong Kong.
Ian Aitken is Professor of Film Studies at the School of Communication, Hong Kong Baptist University. His most recent book publications include Hong Kong Documentary Film (2014), Lukácsian Film Theory and Cinema: An Analysis of Georg Lukács' Writings on Film 1913-1971 (2012), and the Routledge Concise Encyclopedia of the Documentary Film, (ed.) (2012).
Introduction: the forms of the British official/sponsored documentary film.-1. Diverging jurisdictions: The influence of 'Griersonian' and 'civil service' traditions of official film-making on the Malayan Film Unit (1946-57) and Hong Kong Film Unit (1959-73).-2. Delusions of regional superintendence at the end of empire and the case of the Singapore Regional Information Office, 1947-1961.-3. The use of the official film in Malaya/Malaysia, Singapore and Hong Kong, 1957-73, and the role of the United Kingdom Information Services, British Information Services, British Council and Hong Kong Government Information Services.-4. Berita Singapura (1963-9) and Hong Kong Today (1967-73).-5. The rise of television, persistence of authoritarianism, and decline of the official film in Singapore, Malaya/Malaysia and Hong Kong, 1955-75