Sunday, April 30, 2006

From Mingguan Malaysia


Lelaki Komunis Terakhir goes to cinemas

By Noor Azam Shairi


Mingguan Malaysia. 30 April

All the controversy generated by a few people about the documentary Lelaki Komunis Terakhir before the film had even been written or shot will be answered when it meets audiences in cinemas starting 18 May.

The documentary directed by Amir Muhammad has received official approval from the Malaysian Film Censorship Board (LPF) for general viewing.

The approval, however, is only for three screens run by Golden Screen Cinemas in Mid Valley and One Utama, Kuala Lumpur; and Gurney Plaza, Penang.

LPF Chairman Mohd Hussain Shafie was recently quoted by The Star as saying, even though the documentary is about the former leader of the banned Communist Party of Malaya, Chin Peng, it will not cause any negative effects.

He said that the documentary did not propagate communism but merely used facts that are readily available in history books.

LKT uses those historical facts as a backdrop but it actually examines what Amir has termed as the "landscape" of this country.

"I am not just talking about the geographic landscape but the historical one. When making Lelaki Komunis Terakhir I wanted to know what this landscape called Malaysia actually is," said Amir in an interview with The Bangkok Post.

Before Lelaki Komunis Terakhir, Amir made the documentary The Year of Living Vicariously which examined the shifts of political consciousness in post-Suharto Indonesia.

After that documentary, Amir was inspired to investigate his own country, and coincidentally that was the time Chin Peng came out with his memoirs, My Side of History, which became the basis for Lelaki Komunis Terakhir.

Lelaki Komunis Terakhir which is described as a semi-musical documentary combines Amir's interviews with people from various walks of life and his observations and experience in several towns where Chin Peng lived in Peninsular Malaysia.

Before the limited screening here, Lelaki Komunis Terakhir was screened at the Berlin International Film Festival and received encouraging reviews from international critics.

The documentary has also been invited to several other festivals including Hong Kong, Singapore and Vancouver as well as documentary festivals in Canada, Munich and Amsterdam. Lelaki Komunis Terakhir will also be screened in Ipoh on 19 May as a charity screening for the Perak Heritage Society.

In another development, Amir has just finished filming Susuk under Grand Brilliance, which he directed with Naeim Ghalili. Susuk is scheduled to meet audiences at the end of the year.

* Translated from the original article.

4 Comments:

Anonymous siew eng said...

wow. quite a fair report. but then, this is not berita harian, kan?

9:55 pm  
Blogger Mondial said...

Amir, haven't you forgotten we live in a third world country? Everywhere you look the signs are there..poor service, disgusting manners, clogged drains..need I elaborate? Progressive, liberal citizens,we're a minority in this place (regaredless of race/religion). I have been looking forward to your documentary and,of course, am very disappointed that it has been banned. Writing to the press I don't think is going to yield anything because at the end of the day you are against narrow minded individuals who have influence over a very large number of narrow minded individuals of the public. The earlier mentioned suggestions of placing trailers on the net or a title change are both very practical. (Its difficult to rationalise with narrow minded conservatives..a waste of time actually). If modifying your strategy enables Malaysians to see your documentary you would have got your point across as well as given a slap to the conservatives at the same time! PS loved your world cup article in the NST. Good luck!!

2:14 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, we can't judge a film/short film/documentary based on it's presentation in international film festival(s)...I'm not surprise there's so many cheap Malaysian films/ documentaries were presented overseas, but the quality also very cheap. I watched 'The Big Durian' in New Zealand and my friends watched it in UK. We would say the quality of the documentary was very low, did not have any positive outcome and showed the most 'unstable' jugdement of the writer...As a Malaysian, I would appreaciate if we want to screen a film overseas, please show something that we can be proud of. You are not only present urself, but you present the country...

6:39 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You live in an English-speaking country and cannot even write coherently, let alone grammatically, in English. You are the one giving a bad image to Malaysia. Amir on the other hand is doing his job.

12:26 pm  

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