TERRITO/REALITIES: Chapter Two: From Over to Under

In From Over to Under, the massive world and society-shaping power of infrastructural development is made visible in works surveying how the private and the public intersect in mundane ways that reveal the traumas and unequal power relations that have been submerged by history and grand narratives. Reflective of the ways for collective existence as undergirded by the massive machinery of the economic progress, this chapter also questions the participation of non-human and more-than-human agents in our daily living.

Chapter Two: From Over to Under consists of the films Becoming Alluvium, The Land of the Wandering Souls, Becquerel, and Mbah Jhiwo. 

Chapter Two: Part I

Becoming Alluvium (2019), dir. Thảo Nguyên Phan

In this emotionally charged contemplation on the glory and the tragedy of the Mekong River by artist Thảo Nguyên Phan, different levels of real and imaginary worlds are brought together. Khmer folk tales, local lore and stories about reincarnation are told through vibrant watercolour animations and observations of daily life. Imbued with a sense of ecological responsibility toward the agricultural realities of the Mekong delta, they reveal a poetic but nonetheless biting consideration of Vietnam’s troubled history.

The Land of the Wandering Souls (2000), dir. Rithy Panh 

A documentary by filmmaker Rithy Panh, The Land of the Wandering Souls follows a group of workers who are laying a high-tech fiber optic cable that will link Cambodia to the rest of Asia and Europe. The project is a hopeful symbol of the country’s slow integration into the world community and the modern technological age. However, for the people employed to actually dig the trench by hand—a group of rice farmers, ex-soldiers, and their families, the poorest of the poor—the work is a mixed blessing. This film provides a haunting glimpse into the lives of these indigent workers as they encounter the painful remnants of the past—mines, bones, and a landscaped littered with human suffering—and labor to bring Cambodia into the modern age.

Chapter Two: Part II

Becquerel (2021), dir. Riar Rizaldi 

In an alternative future of Indonesia, when nuclear technology reaches the point of generating an artificial sun for endless energy resources, a lazy philosopher Sajad Ali wandering around seeks a place to sleep. Told in a semi-essayistic approach, Sajad Ali reflects the dynamics of nuclear technology in the future, the politics of materiality through the search for minerals such as thorium in Indonesia, as well as the complexity of nuclear issue in the Global South and its tension with ecology, energy consumption, nation-state, and productivity.

Mbah Jhiwo (2021), dir. Álvaro Gurrea

Yono, or Mbah Jhiwo (Ancient Soul), is one of the miners who carry large sulfur rocks up the side of the Kawah Ijen crater every day. One morning, his wife unexpectedly leaves the family home, changing a routine where time had seemed to stop. Since then, trapped like Sisyphus in an eternal task and guided by his faith in getting her back, Yono will confront similar events which will transform their aspect as his beliefs change from animism, to Islam, and to capitalism. An ethno-fictional film that explores otherness and questions the myth of progress in the neo-colonial reality of the islands of the South Seas.

Purchase your tickets for Part I here. 

Purchase your tickets for Part II here. 



Event Information

Screening Dates and Times

Chapter Two Part I: 13 August 2022: 4–6pm

Chapter Two Part II: 19 August 2022: 8–10pm


Alliance Française de Singapour

Ticket Purchase

Purchase your tickets for Part I here. 

Purchase your tickets for Part II here.