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SEA Documentary Film Festival 2016 – 1987: Untracing the Conspiracy

Length: 60min

Year : 2015

Filmmaker:  Jason Soo

Country:  Singapore


In 1987, 22 people were arrested under Singapore’s Internal Security Act (ISA). Accused of being involved in a Marxist conspiracy to establish a communist state, many detainees were tortured and then coerced into implicating themselves and their friends on public television.

Featuring interviews with ex-detainees and political exiles, the film focuses on the first 30 days of their ordeal. The ex-detainees describe various physical and psychological techniques used by their interrogators. This ignoble history of the ISA is a damning indictment of how detention without trial is not just a special kind of law, but a suspension of law.



Jason Soo is a graduate of visual and media arts from the University of Melbourne. He is an independent filmmaker and an adjunct lecturer in art history. In 1999, he was awarded First Prize at the “Jacques Derrida Exhibition and Prize” in Melbourne.

His first narrative film titled A short film on the May 13 Generation is based on historical events in 1954 Singapore, when 800 students occupied Chinese High School to seek exemption for classmates affected by a new conscription law. A short film on the May 13 Generation has since been screened at the Cinémathèque Française in Paris.