You’re never going to be true blue Malaysian until you’re cleansed with these 5 local motion pictures which what I thought (in a artistic lingo) has a rich exotic mixture of themes, genres, topics, values and styles in the cinematographic world (in no particular order).
1. Sepet, 2005
Sepet is a Malay term to describe the slit-like Chinese eye. This is a romantic comedy film was directed by the late Yasmin Ahmad. Her works are notably famous for its focus on portrayals of social norms being defied, as well as cross-cultural barriers. Sepet revolves around the love story of a Chinese boy and a Malay school girl whose love is disapproved by the society and their loved ones due to their different racial backgrounds. Among three other films of similar concept, Sepet is the first to set its foot in the local scene as a heartwarming film which portrays real pressures from the society on star-crossed lovers.
2. Flower In The Pocket, 2007
This movie revolves around the antics of two motherless brothers who are both neglected by their workaholic father. After being forced to give up their beloved puppy by their estranged father, he must re-evaluate the significance of caring his kids, and consequences of neglecting them. Lieu Seng Tat’s film is a simple yet powerful assertion about the importance of love and companionship that is sure to tug your heartstrings.
3. Puteri Gunung Ledang, 2004
Puteri Gunung Ledang aka The Princess of Mount Ledang by Saw Heong Tin is based on the Malay legend. The synopsis doesn’t deviate too far from what we’ve learnt from school. It’s a story about a princess, who lives on top of Mount Ledang, and a Malaccan Sultan’s effort to pursue the Javanese-Hindu princess’s heart by undergoing his journey to fulfill a list of laborious tasks. The film explores the theme of loyalty, duty as well as individualism. A must watch local production because is rare to catch a film which has fantasy elements in it.
4. The Red Kebaya, 2007
Directed by Oliver Knott, The Red Kebaya is a poignant and sentimental film which begins with a successful but lonely photographer setting out to shoot at abandoned houses which haunts him with an eerie mood of deja-vu at each visit. Ugly truths about his pasts were unraveled as he digs deeper. If you must know, his past revolves around the red Kebaya, a clothing that is part of a Malaysian tradition which in his circumstances, a symbol of adultery and betrayal. With an amazing soundtrack and breathtaking cinematography, the film deserves a standing ovation for its unique and refreshing plot.
5. The Big Durian, 2003
Amir Muhammad’s The Big Durian is a controversial yet prestigious Malaysian film (the first, in fact) to be shown at the Sundance Film Festival. The film is about the night of October 18, 1987, whereby a soldier ran amok with a riffle in Kuala Lumpur, causing panic and chaos. Ethnic, religious and political divisions in Malaysia were highlighted by Muhammad as well.