Filming Merdeka #2: Antara Dua Darjat (1960)

This screening is in Bahasa Melayu, with English subtitles

On Thursday (23.08.2018) at 7.30pm, we will be screening ‘Antara Dua Darjat’ which was directed, written and stars P. Ramlee. No stranger to Malay golden age cinema, the film is about a love across classes, between a poor pianist and a daughter of an aristocrat brought together through their love of music.

After the screening, we invite you to stay back and share your thoughts with discussant Adil Johan, a research fellow at the Institute of Ethnic Studies (KITA), UKM who recently published on postcolonial nation-making in Malay film music from 1950s to 1960s Singapore and Malaysia called “Cosmopolitan Intimacies: Malay Film Music of the Independence Era” (2018) with NUS Press. By exploring the film’s themes of the internal dynamics within the Malay identity of not ethnicity but class, gender and kampung/city tensions we hope to mull over on a more expansive notion of “Merdeka”


In conjunction with the month of Merdeka, Imagined Malaysia will be hosting a series of film screenings exploring the themes of independence, national belonging and decolonisation.

‘Filming Merdeka’ challenges the idea that ‘history’—with its objective narration of facts—should remain the dominant mode of commemorating independence. Can the fictional format of the cinema create unique spaces and vantage point to re-look and rethink nationalism? How can fiction—through the genre of humour, thriller and romance—as well as the cinematic manipulation of time, help reimagine the envelope of nationalism? In short, how is independence narrated through cinema, and does the ‘filmic’ conditions of visualising postcolonial statehood add to the narrative of independence?

By looking closely at the genre of cinematic fiction that playfully navigates between storytelling of individuals, communities and the state, we aim to tease out the multiplicity of ways in which the ideas of national belonging are contested, de-contested and hegemonised by the embryonic powers of the postcolonial state.

Each screening (approximately two hours) takes place every Thursday evening at 7.30 pm, and is followed by an optional discussion after.

16.08.2018 马来亚之恋 / Malaya Love Affair (1954)
23.08.2018 Antara Dua Darjat (1960) with discussant Adil Johan
30.08.2018 Darah dan Doa (1950)
06.09.2018 Mother India (1957)

Event Dates



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