Edited by John A. Lent
[Journal of Asian Pacific Communication 23:1] 2013
► pp. 41–65
Cinema in the Malay Archipelago can be said to have first come into being with the wayang kulit (Malay shadow play) due to the similar apparatus utilized, i.e., a white screen; the projection of moving images with the accompaniment of dialogue, sound effects, and music. Wayang kulit can also be designated as the first “animated cartoon” because the shadow puppets’ arms and mouth are made to move through manipulation of the articulating parts as in the technique of cutout animation. The main difference between the two art forms is that while wayang kulit movements are created in real time, cutout animation would be laboriously created frame by frame under an animation camera. None of the traditional art forms of Malaysia was any inspiration for early animators (as Chinese shadow puppets had been for the making of Lotte Reiniger’s The Adventures of Prince Achmed, a silhouette animation film made in 1926). The inspiration was only to emerge very much later in the works of film and animation school students’ almost a half century after the first animation film was made in the country.
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