“Among the jaded, the very phrase ‘Petronas commercial’ became shorthand for emotional manipulation. But if one of these commercials were to come on TV at one of Malaysia’s crowded open-air eateries, most people would stop to watch. Anything that can tear Malaysians away from their food, at least temporarily, must be special. Then you realize the truth of one of her favorite sayings: A nation is nothing without the stories it tells (about) itself.”
Archive for the ‘Malaysia’ Category
The Rotterdam International Film Festival introduced the VPRO Tiger Awards in 1995. Each year, three prizes are awarded to filmmakers for their first or second film. Winners have included Lou Ye (Suzhong River) and Kelly Reichardt (Old Joy). In contention this year are a host of deadly serious films, tackling family relationships, leave-taking of many stripes and that old stand-by sex … often in the raw and ragged manner of contemporary cinema. The contenders also comprise a tour of emerging cinemas from Costa Rica to Georgia.
Agua fría de mar (Cold water of the Sea)
The pitch: A couple looking to sell their property on Costa Rica’s Pacific coast meet a seven-year-old stray.
Their lives are changed forever? Well, the tot certainly throws emotions and class boundaries into sharp relief in Paz Fabrega’s debut feature.
Alamar (To the Sea)
The pitch: A young man goes on a fishing trip with his father in the Caribbean’s Chinchorro reef.
Lots of booze and marlin to be had? It’s certainly an exercise in male bonding. Pedro Gonzalez-Rubio’s documentary approach to his story means the egrets get as much attention as the relationships.
A jealous neighbor puts a hex on this family and the durn fools only go and eat the Nga pyaw douk! This food-centric horror movie also boasts some rather gross eating of eggs off the floor and an exorcist pronouncing “I seek refuge in god from the outcast Satan.” If the horror film is as intense as this trailer, Malaysia will explode on December 10.
Chris Chong Chan Fui’s film is the first Malaysian feature to play the Cannes Film Festival since 1995. It’s hard to tell what it’s about from the trailer, but the theme of a Malaysian paradise succumbing to industrialisation is certainly there and there’s a Weerasethakul vibe to it. Karaoke itself is usually a symbol for dreams that never make it out of the bar. We await with interest.