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When Strangers Meet: Visions of Asia and Europe in Film

Arts & Culture Cross-Platform Series

Project Period: Contact: Department: Programme: Theme:
18 May to 3 June 2012 Culture Department ASEF 15th Anniversary Culture

National Museum of Singapore

The Asia-Europe film screening programme, organised by ASEF and the National Museum of Singapore, examines how Asians and Europeans have perceived each other in films past and present and touch on bi-regional topics such as migration and culture clashes. It also explores how filmmakers from both regions have learnt from each other through exchanges of knowledge, expertise or stylistic influences and includes both feature length and short films.

ASEF invited emerging filmmakers from Asia and Europe to submit their short films exploring such Asia-Europe perceptions. The selected short films will be screened on Sunday 27 May at 1:30pm.

This film screening is part of ASEF’s 15th anniversary celebrations which are organised to celebrate the lively dialogue between Asia and Europe. The cultural events, under the theme of Mutual Perceptions between Asia and Europe, will take place throughout the year and will be organised in partnership with cultural organisations in Singapore and overseas.

The film programme is presented thanks to contributions from the Institut Francais and the Embassy of the Netherlands.

In addition, the programme is supported by the High Commission of Australia, the Embassy of France, the High Commission of India, the Embassy of Italy, the Italian Cultural Institute, the Embassy of Japan, the Embassy of the Republic of Korea, the the High Commission of New Zealand and the Embassy of the Philippines.

Project Updates

  • More than 250 guests came to the National Museum of Singapore for the opening of “When Strangers Meet: Visions of Asia and Europe in Film” on 18 May 2012. It was the beginning of a series of film screenings organised to mark ASEF’s 15th Anniversary.

    The films revolve around Asia-Europe connections, exploring the historical, cultural, artistic and personal ties between the two regions. The opening film, French director Jean Renoir’s acclaimed “The River” (1951), tells the story of Europeans living in Calcutta, India. One of Renoir’s assistants was a young Satyajit Ray, later to become one of India’s and the world’s renowned filmmakers.

    Guests-of-Honour H.E. Mr Olivier Caron, Ambassador of France to Singapore, and H.E. Dr T.C.A Raghavan, High Commissioner of India to Singapore, addressed the audience about the impact of the film in the two countries. They were welcomed by Mr Iskander Mydin, Deputy Director of the National Museum, and Ambassador Michel Filhol, ASEF Executive Director.

    Ambassador Caron said, “This event really embodies and epitomises the spirit in which ASEF conducts its activities.” He continued, “Jean Renoir is, of course, one of the icons, if not the icon, of classical French cinema. His films epitomise the continuous, rich complex dialogue between West and East, Europe and Asia. All traits of genuine inter-cultural dialogue are present in this film.”

    The iconic National Museum building buzzed with anticipation and joie de vivre on that evening. Among the audience were members of ASEF’s Board of Governors, who were in Singapore for the 28th Board of Governors’ Meeting, key cultural leaders and professionals as well as film enthusiasts.

    Read more…

  • ASEF15 film retrospective

    Published on 03 May 2012

    asef 15 film screening

    When Strangers Meet: Visions of Asia and Europe in Film, a special programme will screen seven feature films at the National Museum of Singapore (18 May - 3 June 2012). The films look at the diverse connections that link Asia and Europe historically, artistically and personally.

    From a tense look at personal relationships on opposing sides of the war in Merry Christmas Mr Lawrence starring David Bowie, to Mel Gibson as a journalist covering the Indonesian events of 1967 in The Year of Living Dangerously, to Bernardo Bertolucci’s visual feast The Last Emperor - the selected films highlight several themes such as intercultural love, migration, independence movements and cultural identity.

    The programme opens with the screening of one of first films to be shown in colour, The River (1951), by acclaimed French director Jean Renoir on 18 May 2012. H.E. Olivier Caron, Ambassador of France to Singapore, and H.E. Dr T.C.A. Raghavan, High Commissioner of India to Singapore and ASEF Governor for India, will be the Guests-of-Honour at a special reception to be held before the screening.

    There will also be a screening of short films by emerging filmmakers presenting contemporary interpretations of mutual perceptions between Asia and Europe through different genres, from fiction to documentaries and visual essays.

    All screenings are free and open to the public.


  • The National Museum of Singapore will join ASEF to hold a special film event on “Mutual Perceptions between Asia and Europe” to mark ASEF’s 15th anniversary this year. The event starting from 18 May 2012 will highlight how Asians and Europeans perceive each other in films relating to different categories. All screenings will take place at the National Museum, Singapore.

    There will be feature-length films by established directors as well as short films by emerging filmmakers from the two regions. It will showcase how filmmakers in each region have learnt from each other through the exchange of knowledge, expertise or stylistic influences.


  • National Museum of Singapore
  • Network for the Promotion of Asian Cinema (NETPAC)


  • Institut Français - Singapore
  • Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Singapore and Brunei
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