Recreating Cinema's Golden Age Through Hand-Painted Posters And Old Films

The Media Development Authority brings back the golden age of Singapore cinema through hand-painted movie posters and free screenings of early films.
Cinema Nostalgia On Canvas

Hand-painted movie billboards once dominated the façades of local cinemas before bowing out to glossier, digitally enhanced posters of the 1990s.

But the dying art was briefly revived this year when the Media Development Authority (MDA) commissioned Mr Ang Hao Sai to create posters for five old films, including P Ramlee’s Patah Hati (Broken Heart).

The restored films were screened at the newly reopened Capitol Theatre in August for “Spotlight on Singapore Cinema”, part of the SG50 celebrations.

For four days, the public relived the cinematic experience of the ’50s to ’70s as they watched films such as The Lion City, the first Chinese film produced by Cathay-Keris in post-war Singapore, and Malay period drama Chuchu Datok Merah, for free.

MDA Marketing Communications Assistant Executive Nur Sabrina Mohd Ali spent four months working with Mr Ang, one of the last movie poster artists. They used film screenshots of actors and iconic landmarks from old Singapore – the National Theatre and Kallang Airport, for example – as reference for the artworks.

“The films were quite grainy and it was difficult to get clear screenshots,” said Ms Sabrina, 29. “I had to search online for some of the actors’ images and icons, such as the old Singapore Airlines’ aircraft, to make sure they were visually accurate.”

Mr Ang, 64, was delighted to share his works with younger Singaporeans. “Many haven’t seen such posters before,” he said in Hokkien. “I hope my works helped them to appreciate this vanishing art.”

    Sep 2, 2015
    Jamie Ee
    Roy Lim
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