Marilyn Monroe, Zhang Ziyi and Fann Wong part of ArtScience Museum’s exhibition on screen goddesses

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Featuring 196 items, the show has been brought in from Melbourne’s ACMI.

SINGAPORE – Faced with the pressure of being part of the James Bond film franchise, French actress Lea Seydoux, who plays Dr Madeleine Swann in Spectre , quizzed in a video interview: “Will I be good enough?”

Singaporean curators have supplemented the original exhibition with sections on Asian stars, one of the most substantial highlighting actresses Saloma, Maria Menado and K. Fatimah who shot to fame during the golden age of Singapore Malay cinema from the 1940s to 1970s. There is one of Zhang mid-leap in her billowing red robes in Hero , part of a set of photos which the Chinese actress voluntarily posed for on her day off. A set of images of Chinese-American actress Joan Chen contains annotations by Wong, such as “too demure” and “too successful”, and makes explicit his search for the perfect shot.

Ms Lim said: “The Melbourne exhibition had about 150 items. With our additions, ours is closer to 200. As much as we loved some of the Melbourne works, we felt we could give that space to additional content from Asia and Singapore.” Among links spanning generations is American actress Zendaya’s homage to the legendary African-American dancer Josephine Baker: A pearl-sleeved gown she wore to the 16th Annual Chrysalis Butterfly Ball in 2017.

Another parallel is the dragon motifs on the costumes worn by Anna May Wong in Limehouse Blues and Glenn Close as Cruella de Vil in 102 Dalmatians , which spotlight the demonising of women who did not fit conventional beauty standards, whether they are from ethnic minorities or middle-aged.

 

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