Politics in films : a historical study on film censorship and the emergence on public spaces in Singapore
Date of Issue2018
School of Humanities and Social Sciences
This research paper traces the history of film censorship in Singapore, and investigates how censorship operates as a political tool in its attempt to control the state narrative through local films and documentaries since the 1970s. Arguably, film censorship is a political tool used to influence public historical memory and eliminate alternative voices in public history. As such, there is no room for contestation to the politically driven state narrative in Singapore. In analysing the role of censorship in shaping historical memory through films, it raises the question of whether it is out of necessity or an overt exercise of state control. Firstly, this paper provides a historical background to the censorship in Singapore’s film industry. Using censored films of both fiction and documentary genres as case studies, the next chapter historicise the following films through the recurring theme of political dynamism and a critical analysis of these films based on three aspects: 1) film portrayal of the state, 2) rationale behind the censorship decisions, and 3) the implication of the ban in the time of broadcast. The last chapter explores how public spaces have transformed censorship, and highlights the ineffectiveness of the censorship bans, and thus should be re-examined in light of new changing trends in public spheres. Significantly, it seeks to demonstrate how history still plays an important role in present day politics to certain groups of people.
Final Year Project (FYP)
Nanyang Technological University