ABC Guide

Published on 23 December 2014


Fort Canning Park

This hilly historic location is where the British made the decision to surrender to the Japanese during the Second World War. Way before that, it was where Malay royalty presided over early Singapore. Fort Canning also housed the old Drama Centre, a major arts venue for local theatre practitioners in the 1980s and early 1990s, before it was re-located to the current National Library Building.

Today, Fort Canning is a popular arts and entertainment venue, hosting outdoor concerts by international acts as well as the annual Shakespeare in the Park (produced by the Singapore Repertory Theatre) and Ballet Under the Stars (by the Singapore Dance Theatre).

The Green is where outdoor performances are hosted while the Fort Canning Centre for the Arts, a visual arts gallery, will soon be home to a fine art museum. In early 2015, the Pinacothèque de Paris, the largest private art museum in Paris, will have its first location outside of Europe within the Centre. Curated works include classic and contemporary visual artworks.

Fong, Nickson

A secondary-school drop-out turned computer-graphics artist, Fong is the first Singaporean to win an Academy Award for his contribution to the world of computer animation. Pose Space Deformation, an animating algorithm he created to make features of animated characters more lifelike, was used in blockbusters like Avatar and Lord of the Rings. Fong and two colleagues, part of an international team, won the Academy’s Technical Achievement Award.

 The fortysomething Fong is a graduate of the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts and the Savannah College of Art and Design in the United States, from where he earned a Master’s degree in Computer Art. Apart from his work in Hollywood, Fong has also made a string of short animated films. One of his student works, showcased at a computer-arts convention, caught the attention of DreamWorks, where he was offered a job.

 After landing the role of Senior Technical Director on films like The Matrix Reloaded and Shrek, Fong returned to Singapore where he founded production company Egg Studios, now called Art Fusion, which offers animation training in Singapore.

Film Noir

Film noir translates literally from the French to “black film”. It can also be interpreted as “film of the night”. According to American film critic Roger Ebert, it was inspired by a series of cheap crime-story paperbacks dubbed “series noir”. This film style, prominent in post-Depression Hollywood around the 1940s and 1950s, revolves almost entirely around hard-boiled crime and detective stories. The genre, typically shot in black and white, is characteristically bleak and gloomy, filled with smoky dark urban landscapes like alleys, back doors and hardened criminal underworlds. Plots are usually rife with hatred and betrayal. Hallmarks of the genre include Nicholas Ray’s They Live By Night and Carol Reed’s The Third Man. Robert Zemeckis’ 1988 Who Framed Roger Rabbit is a noir parody that develops a gangland plot set in 1940s Los Angeles.

 (Illustration Jimmy Lee)
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