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The University of Southampton
FilmPart of Humanities

Return of the pontianak: Southeast Asian horror film, postcolonial cultures, and world cinema Seminar

16:00 - 17:30
19 October 2021
Online via Microsoft Teams

For more information regarding this seminar, please email Tracy Storey at .

Event details

The pontianak, or female vampire, is one of the most popular supernatural figures in Malay cinema. Based in the animist worldview of the region, the pontianak first starred in a series of horror films in the 1950s and 60s, before returning to Singaporean and Malaysian screens in the twenty-first century across a wide range of film and television genres.

In this talk, Rosalind Galt will examine the role of the pontianak in the politics and aesthetics of decolonisation in Singapore and Malaysia, arguing that this female vampire ghost disturbs postcolonial orthodoxies of race, gender, and religion. Registering anxieties around femininity and modernity, race and nation, Islam and indigenous beliefs, the pontianak film offers a richly resonant vision of postcolonial film cultures in Southeast Asia.

Bio: Rosalind Galt is Professor of Film Studies at King's College London. Her new book, Alluring Monsters: the Pontianak and Cinemas of Decolonization is forthcoming next month from Columbia University Press. She is also the author of Pretty: Film and the Decorative Image (2010) and The New European Cinema: Redrawing the Map (2006), co-author with Karl Schoonover of Queer Cinema in the World (2016), and co-editor of Global Art Cinema: New Theories and Histories (2010).

Please register using Eventbrite and you will then be sent a Outlook meeting request which will include the link to the seminar.

Please note the seminar will take place online using Microsoft Teams.

The deadline for registering for this event is 1pm on the day of the seminar (19/10/2021). 

Any questions or queries please contact Tracy Storey on

You can view a recording of the seminar here.

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