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Why Is Southeast Asian Cinema Still Lagging Behind?

27 August 2020


Why Is Southeast Asian Cinema Still Lagging Behind?

Since the 1970s, Southeast Asian films have experienced a steady growth in recognition both within and outside their domestic markets. Then in the 1990s, the industry experienced a resurgence of interest as a new wave of independent auteurs—from Singapore’s Eric Khoo and Thailand’s Pen-Ek Ratanaruang to Malaysia’s U-Wei Saari—shaped their local film sectors with unique directorial visions and provocative works.

In the two decades following, several of the region’s filmmakers, both commercial and art house, also experienced success. From the 2003 action flick Ong Bak and 2004 horror film Shutter to the 2013 family drama Ilo Ilo, directed by Gen.T honouree Anthony Chen, which won the Camera d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival, Southeast Asian cinema has been steadily on the rise.

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