Moon Over Malaya (1957)

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The print, the only one left in the world, of Moon Over Malaya (1957) directed by Chun Kim (assistant directed by Chor Yuen) reached us last month. We are preparing for the first Charity Screening to raise funds for the Asian Film Archive, a non-governmental and non-profit organisation, dedicated to save, explore and share the art of Asian Cinema. More details will be released soon.

Through the kind contribution of 南大网侍郎, Lai Chee Kien and Bibah, we’ve managed to identify the location of this still: the garden of Sultan Abu Bakar State Mosque, Johor Bahru.

Moon Over Malaya, also known as 椰林月 or The Whispering Palm, was shot in Singapore and Malaysia. It was produced by Kong Ngee, founded by the Ho brothers (Ho Khee-yong and Ho Khee-siang). Shaw Brothers, Cathay Organisation and Kong Ngee were the three major studios in Singapore in the 50s. The Nanyang Trilogy by Kong Ngee in 1957, was shot in Singapore and Malaysia. Moon Over Malaya, the most acclaimed of the three films, was in Cantonese and starred Patrick Tse, Nam Hung and Patsy Kar Ling. The other two films of the trilogy were Blood Stains the Valley of Love and She Married an Overseas Chinese.

Other early Chinese films made in Singapore include:

1. New Immigrant or Xin Ke directed by Liu Pei Jing (1926) should be the first Chinese language film made in Singapore. The film, however, was lost. No film historian or scholar or programmer I know, has actually seen it.

2. Chinese filmmakers Hau Yaw and Wan Hai Ling directed 8 Malay films in Singapore with the Shaw Brothers from 1938-1941. Wan Hai Ling was also the first female director recruited to make feature films in Singapore.

3. Lion City (1960), directed by Yi Sui, was the first Chinese film in Mandarin, shot in Singapore and produced by Cathay-Keris. The Asian Film Archive holds this title in our collection.

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