Embarking on a new project: 50 Malay Films

In 50 Malay Films (a 2011 project) on July 30, 2011 at 8:42 am

Being a Malay myself, I am ashamed to say that I barely know enough Malay Films. Even though I have watched a couple of Malay Films, there are so much more films out there that are unexplored and untouched by me. So, I am going to explore more Malay language films, may it be from Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia or Brunei.

I hope to choose films that explore the Malay culture, lifestyle and manner of speech. Themes of filial piety, religion and/or love will be the best themes. And of course, I will also look into the ever popular Malay horror films and comedy.

My aim is to learn more about the storytelling methods, cinematography and to thoroughly enjoy myself.

I will write a review on each film, with regards to its concept, cinematography and my learning points, if there are any.

I am excited and nervous for the start of this project. I am now in the midst of researching for 50 films to watch. Best of luck to myself!




Wrapping Up The 50AF Project

In 50 Asian Films (a 2010 project) on January 18, 2011 at 4:18 pm

I know that I should have done this ages ago. This project ended the moment I wrote my last post. But, the truth is, I didn’t want to.

I didn’t want to bade goodbye to an extremely good experience. This project forced me to explore different films from different cultures, styles, eras and it made me more exposed to directors, scriptwriters, talents and crews that were/are amazing. And even though it forced me to do so, I enjoyed it. And it didn’t feel forceful at all. I actually really did enjoy it. After all, budding filmmakers love films. Not only making them but watching them too.

I went through lots of self-reflections throughout this project. Watching Asian films made me reassessed myself firstly as an Asian. I wondered how and if my Asian upbringing may itself be an inspiration for future scripts and films that I may write or make as a filmmaker. I pondered on the possibilities of me having a certain style of my own. I marveled at my attraction towards the unexplained. The experience just made me more open to different possibilies and widened my creativity basket.

Also, I thoroughly enjoyed FIL230: Asian Film History, the module that was the beginning of this adventure and exploration of Asian Films. Prof Bee Thiam is a true inspiration, and I can say this safely now without the fear of people accusing me of being a “suck-up” since the semester has officially ended. Though his assignments were really challenging and time-consuming, they were all worth it. We were exposed to beautiful films, analysed them as best as we could, and we learned the history and influences of different national cinemas.

And one of the lessons that I will never forget from this course is when Bee Thiam shared about the Malaysian New Wave: how the filmmakers help each other out sincerely. How certain directors are willing to become the sound man for another director, or even take on the smallest task of adding subtitles for another filmmakers’ film. This teamwork is what is lacking in Singapore, where every man is on his own. I love the idea of collaboration, of helping each other out, entering the film industry together, putting Singapore on the world map for films… etc. It sounds so wonderful. And I see a possibility for this amongst my friends and I, a group of us who constantly help each other out in different film productions.

So, I enjoyed my journey. And it has finally come to an end. I’m grateful that I received a good grade for this module. It would have been a great disappointment and a great shame if I did badly for this module, for it truly was one of my favourite modules. Thank you prof and all the wonderful films (more than 50 films) that I have watched for this module. Thank you for a wonderful experience. And thank you course mates for being wonderful. All in all, a wonderful experience. Thank you.


50AF: Drunken Angel (1948) and Seven Samurai (1954) by Akira Kurosawa

In 50 Asian Films (a 2010 project) on December 10, 2010 at 6:42 pm

Akira’s power of story-telling is astounding here; he has very strong characters that push the story to its limit. Or maybe because his choice of actors fit the characters really well. His movies have really great performances by Toshiro Mifune and Takashi Shimura, who acted in 21 films and 16 films (respectively) that are directed by Akira Kurosawa.

Both the movies have really dramatic shorelines: Drunken Angel is simply the tale about a doctor who is passionate about helping his patients. And one of his patient is this gangster who refuses to take the doctor’s advice. After all, the doctor himself bestowed the medication harshly and the gangster takes offense. The drama in Drunken Angel, therefore, is mainly about the cat and dog relationship between the doctor and patient, and also about the patient’s falling from his respectful status due to his illness of tuberculosis. A down-to-earth story such as is portrayed in Drunken Angel, do not actually require much drama. But drama is Kurosawa’s style and therefore it is present in Drunken Angel.

Similarly, in Seven Samurai, there is drama in it, with it reaching its climatic moment towards the end. The drama comes in the form of the farmers searching for samurais to aid them in protecting their land being forcefully attack by the feudal lords. And their constant fear of failing this task intensifies the drama. And of course, the drama also occurs at the end when the samurais fight against the feudal lords and their army.

Kurosawa also has this very distinct way of editing his film. For instance, the shots are cut at places which make it slightly weird and awkward to watch. For instance, in Drunken Angel, there is this scene where the doctor is scolding his nurse for having thoughts of returning to her lover. There is this sudden close up of the nurse looking away in despair. Of course perhaps Kurosawa wanted to emphasize her emotions by having a close-up. But the jump in shots was pretty awkward.

Nevertheless, I enjoyed both movies tremendously, and have made plans to watch Rushomon, if I have the time.

Stills from Drunken Angel


Stills from Seven Samurai