In 1956, the Senguptas travel from Calcutta to rural Malaya to start afresh. In their new hamlet of anonymity, the couple gradually forget past troubles and form new ties. But this second home is not entirely free and gentle. A complex, racially charged society, it is on the brink of independence even as communist insurgents hover on the periphery. How much should a newcomer meddle before it starts to destroy him? Shuttling in time and temper between the rubber plantations of Malaya and the anguish-filled years of pre-Partition Bengal, between the Malayan Emergency and Direct Action Day, between indifference and lust, A Flutter in the Colony is a tender, resonant chronicle of a family struggling to remain together in the twilight of Empire in Asia.
The language of film and the conventions and forms of non-fiction film were still in formation in the first two decades of the 20th century. Colonialism was one of the drivers of this development, as the picturing of the native “other” in film was seen as an important tool to build support for missionary, academic and colonial efforts. While social histories of photography in non-European contexts has been an area of great interest in recent years; Celluloid Colony brings moving images into the same scope of study.
Through a close reading of non-fiction films that were produced from 1912 onwards in the Netherlands East Indies, this book uses motion picture as a primary source to explore the historical milieu of Indonesia in the late colonial era, and enhances our knowledge of developments in early twentieth-century filmmaking.