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CLASSICS: Secret Spies Never Die!

Dedicated to the heritage of film, the Classics section showcases both canonical masterpieces and often overlooked gems cinema history – in particular films by Asian auteurs that have been recently digitally restored.

This year, the Festival brings a Classics programme inspired by the transnational cinema network in Asia during the Cold War era. Based on the research of film historian Lee Sang Joon, Associate Professor at Nanyang Technological University, this section looks into how cold war politics, ideology and international relations have shaped Asian films and popular culture during the 60s and 70s in the genre of Cold War espionage films.

Co-presented with the Wee Kim Wee School of Communications and Information, Nanyang Technological University, in celebration of the School’s 25th Anniversary in film and communications studies, we present to you the Asian spy genre in its formative years between 1950s and 1980s before the Kung Fu movie boom took over.

From Korean director Hang Hyeong-mo’s The Hand of Fate (1954) made at a time when the country was struggling towards recovery in the wake of the Korean war, to Singapore’s very own Gerak Kilat (1966) by Jamil Sulong, and the first Australian-Hong Kong co-production The Man from Hong Kong (1975), the festival’s Classics line-up draws attention to the region’s unique storytelling style of the popular cult genre which hit its peak during the Cold War era.

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GERAK KILAT

Dubbed Singapore’s own James Bond, this Shaw Brothers Studio Malay language outing is the first in the celebrated Jefri Zain secret agent series.

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OPERATION LIPSTICK

Regarded as a prized Shaw and pop cinema classic, this wacky spy caper brims with Bond conventions and the ensuing destruction of their wry sacredness.

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OPERATION REVENGE

A lightweight spy comedy that takes the best of the Bond universe to preposterously ridiculous results.

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THE HAND OF FATE

Part film noir and part espionage thriller, this melodrama narrates the tragedy of a divided Korea through a tale of forbidden love.

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THE MAN FROM HONG KONG

Australia’s first martial arts flick gives a Bond cum Bruce Lee-inspired cop a free pass to trash through Sydney.

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THE ONE-ARMED EXECUTIONER

From one of grindhouse cinema’s greats, comes a revenge tale replete with firepower, sensationalism and a surprising dose of melancholia.

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