Black Narcissus (1947)

  • April 23, 2022 | 8:00 PM - 10:00 PM | Saturday
  • Oldham Theatre


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The 23 April screening of Black Narcissus will be introduced by Ben Slater. Ben Slater is a writer, editor and lecturer who has written extensively about international films shot in Singapore including his book “Kinda Hot: The Making of Saint Jack in Singapore” (Marshall Cavendish: 2006). He’s currently collaborating with Asian Film Archive on the Cinema Reclaimed programme for Singapore HeritageFest in May and June 2022.

Director: Emeric Pressburger, Michael Powell
Runtime: 101 minutes
Country: United Kingdom
Language: English
Rating: PG


Academy Awards 1948

Golden Globes 1948

“There’s something in the atmosphere that makes everything seem exaggerated.”
– Mr. Dean in Black Narcissus

Full Synopsis

Using a woodland English garden as a studio and adapted from Rumer Godden’s bestseller, Black Narcissus is a sumptuous Technicolor psychological drama charting the voyage of five Anglican nuns up the vertiginous Himalayas. Haunted by the ghosts of the old harem, the nuns struggle to re-invent Mopu Palace as a holy convent amidst the buffeting winds and unfamiliar locals. Complicated by the charming Englishman who becomes an object of repressed desire, the sisters’ imperial mission of re-educating the natives plunges them into a crisis of self-doubt and hysteria.

Whereas the family in Godden’s The River arrive with peaceful assimilation, the sisters in Black Narcissus depart with a despair arising from their inability to tame both the alien landscape and their inner demons. Powell and Pressburger’s rendering of the exotic and surreal Himalayas reflect the Gothic anxieties of British rule in India—one rooted in a desire to dominate and conquer the incomprehensible.

Supplementary Reading

Disclaimer: This programme features films which include outdated and historically inaccurate depictions, including instances of minstrel shows, yellow and brownface. Rather than deny or erase the colonial apparatuses in film history, these films and their complex legacies should be critically viewed in its original form, contextualised and discussed.

Oldham Theatre’s opening hours

The full Orienting Paradise: Western Projections of the East programme can be found here. Tickets will go on sale Friday, 25 March 2022.

Friends of AFA members may select the “Friends of AFA” option and enter your membership number if you wish to redeem your remaining complimentary tickets.

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Important Notice:
Do note that Oldham Theatre does not play ads and screenings will start promptly. Arrive early so as not to disrupt the screenings. All patrons are encouraged to purchase your tickets online to be able to secure a seat. If you choose to purchase tickets or merchandise at Oldham Theatre’s box office, cashless payment is preferred.
Measures will be taken to ensure the health and safety of all patrons at Oldham Theatre. This includes wearing a mask at all times for both staff and patrons and TraceTogether logging. Doors will open 20 minutes before showtime, so arrive early to register and find a seat.

Concession tickets apply to Students (Local & Overseas), Full-time National Servicemen (NSF), Senior Citizens (55 years and above) only.
Please check film ratings before purchase of tickets. Please note that you may be asked to present your ID at the door (this applies to concession tickets as well). Only physical photographic identification is allowed, digital copies of identification are not allowed. AFA reserves the right to turn away any members of the public without physical photographic identification.
Upon confirmation of your order for Tickets, no exchange of Tickets will be made under any circumstances and Tickets are not transferable. No refund on Tickets will be made under any circumstances except due to cancellation of the event. The resale of Tickets at any price is prohibited.