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Film InformationEdit

Original Title New Friend (新客)
Romanized Title New Friend
Director Kwok Chiu Man (郭超文)
Producer Low Pui-kam (劉貝錦, 1902 to 1959)
Cast List 鄭超人、陳子纓、我影、陸肖予、陳炳勳、張慧梅、雲端南、晚成、黃夢梅、譚民興、一癡、康笑伯、笑倩、方之談、陳崇榮、陳夢如、周志平
Crew Credits

Producer: Low Pui-kam (劉貝錦, 1902 to 1959);

director and cinematographer: Kwok Chiu Man (郭超文);

makeup and film props: 張兆彭;

English subtitle: 吳偉全;

Chinese subtitle: 徐紹言 and 陳紹鴻;

continuity clerks: 梁偉器 and 黃夢梅.

Year of Release

4th March, 1927 (Friday) released in Singapore

Country of Production Singapore
Language Silent film with English, Chinese subtitles
Colour B&W
Runtime 9 reels
Synopsis

中華民國孤兒沈華強(鄭超人飾演)移居南洋,投靠在馬來亞麻坡經營新德成樹膠店的親戚張天錫(陳子纓飾演),他的家庭有妻子張余氏(我影飾演)、長女張慧貞(陸肖予飾演)及么女張慧梅,初時兩位表妹都愛捉弄這位鄉巴佬表兄。沈華強被安排到新德成樹膠店工作,那裡的英文書記甘福勝(譚民興飾演)仍為一個陰險偽君子,常希望追求得少東女張慧貞而財色兼收,他設計陷害情敵沈華強,因此沈華強轉到新加坡春源樹膠店服務。與此同時張慧貞亦無意中發現甘福勝實為花花公子,亦到新加坡與其知己朋友劉潔玉(黃夢梅飾演)一起入讀女子中學,而跟表兄沈華強相戀。甘福勝設計誘使張天錫答應許配張慧貞,張慧貞不從逃婚,甘福勝與其匪徒朋友綁架張慧貞,沈華強前往救表妹,甘福勝等匪徒不敵沈華強的中華武術,駕車逃走時,汽車掉落山崖身亡!張慧貞與沈華強結婚。

Keywords Immigration, diaspora, Chinese
Screening History Victoria Theatre (Singapore Trial); Marlborough Theatre (premiere); Kau U Fong Theatre (Hong Kong)

HistoryEdit

Silent film "New Friend (新客)" (1927) is thought to be the first film ever made in Singapore. Shot entirely on location on the island, it was made in the midst of the development of film production and was released a year after Runme Shaw arrived in Singapore to begin their then fledging film exhibition business. The film was targeted at the newly arrived Chinese immigrant community and touched on social issues of the local Chinese diaspora. It was the first and last Singapore film its producer, Liu Peh Jing, would make.

According to Thail scholar Nangaen Chearavanont's publishing, trial film (6 of 9 reels films) has shown at 8:00 p.m. on 4th March, 1927 (Friday), it was a free film trial show in Victoria Theatre at High Street, Singapore. On page 34 to 35, posted some photographs chips from film specials, stills, plots, cast tables, ..., etc.(Nangaen Chearavanont 2013); On chapter three, posted its film official special issue (1927 released) articles from the film producer, director and film heroine, seating paln of Singapore Victoria Theatre in 1927, ... (Nangaen Chearavanont 2014); and this film has been released in Hong Kong with another Chinese film name "(唐山來客)" from 29th April to 2nd May, 1927 (new clips appeared on youtube hkgalbert video, 14th May 2013).

The film enjoyed its premiere at the Marlborough Theatre but details of its director and actual news clippings of it cannot be found.

SignificanceEdit

"New Friend (新客)" (1927) stands as an exception amongst the largely culturally and visually Malay films that would follow after. It was literally the only Chinese film to be made in decades to come. Using Chinese actors and dialogue, it was also produced by the Chinese. From here, a trend emerged with the local film producers mainly hailing from Chinese descent. They would go on to fund even Malay films, with Shaw and Cathay being two very prominent examples of Chinese-backed Malay film studios.

ReferencesEdit

  1. Mr. Low Pui-kim (劉貝錦, 1902 to March, 1959) "The stories of Low Pui-kim back to motherland (劉貝錦歸國紀)" (December, 1926), Shanghai: San Min Company (三民公司) (Shanghai, Republic of China)
  2. Mr. Fang Hsiu (方修, 9th February, 1922 to 4th March, 2010) "The eighth collection of New Literacy in Malaysian Chinese Society (馬華新民學大系(8))", "volume one of "Theater movement (劇運特輯一集)" (April, 1972), ISBN: 962-432-124-8 (Singapore)
  3. Mr. Raphael Millet "Singapore Cinema" (November, 2006), ISBN: 978-981-41554-2-7 (Singapore)
  4. Ms. Chong Tao-tao Pheona (張陶陶) “Discussions of the first Singapore Chinese-language film, Xinke (New Immigrant) (《新客》:新加坡第一部華語電影的書報討論)” (2012), Singapore: Nanyang Technological University (南洋理工大學)
  5. Ms. Nangaen Chearavanont (Tse Yin) "Film Stories" (April, 2013), ISBN: 978-988-15909-4-7 (Thailand)
  6. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WQwr-v1TuQs (youtube hkgalbert video, 14th May 2013) (United Kingdom)
  7. Mr. Hsu Wei Hsien (許維賢) "Tsing Hua Journa of Chinese Literature (清華中文學報)", "Discuss Singapore and Malaysia first film production "New Friend (新客)" from Chinese dialects (《新客》:從「華語語系」論新馬生產的首部電影)" (volume 9 of 2013) (Taiwan, Republic of China)
  8. Ms. Nangaen Chearavanont (Tse Yin) "Movie Stories" (January, 2014), ISBN: 978-988-15909-5-4 (Thailand)

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