Here are a few Malaysian films you should see, for various reasons.
Director: Shanjhey Kumar Perumal
Cast: Jibrail Rajhula, Harvind Raj, Tinesh Sarathi Krishnan, Aahmuu Thirunyanam, Senthil Kumaran Muniandy, Perakas Rajaram, Kuben Mahadevan, Marup Mustapah
It’s been the sad truth that Indian-language Malaysian films have been largely ignored, or getting very scant publicity. Tell me, how many Indian-language local films have you heard of this year? See, you probably couldn’t tell. There have actually been a few released this year, but they came and went quietly.
But Jagat may just change things. I like that it is announcing its arrival in a “loud” way, with a nicely designed official site, an official music video, various social media “blasts” and even vans with the poster going around the country, somewhat like an old-school way of promoting a film.
Shanjhey has long been involved in television, and has made several impressive short films. Jagat is his feature debut and a longer version of his short film of the same title. He uses mostly first-time actors, including a 12-year-old boy, to tell a story about the marginalised Indian community in Malaysia. Think Mean Streets meets Kaki Bakar.
From the trailer, it can be seen that the film is a gritty tale set to some very beautiful visuals.
Release date: Dec 17, 2015 (yes, up against Star Wars)
Director: Dain Iskandar Said
Cast: Shaheizy Sam, Iedil Putra, Prisia Nasution, Nicholas Saputra
Dubbed a supernatural thriller, Interchange brings together acting talents from both Malaysia and Indonesia. The border between the two countries have been blurred many times, but more so now, with actors from both sides crossing over to each other’s countries for acting gigs. And we’re all the better for it. Judging from Dain’s directing chops in the badlands action-drama Bunohan, there surely is a lot to expect from this new film. And with Shaheizy Sam, who is hot property now after the runaway success of Polis Evo, in the cast, it should be of great interest. After all, with Bunohan, Dain managed to make a hypnotically intriguing film about a real-estate dispute.
Release date: Sometime next year?
Director: Chiu Keng Guan
Cast: Bront Palarae, Frankie Lee, JC Chee, Luqman Hafidz, Saran Kumar, Marianne Tan
After the huge success of The Journey, Chiu returns with this inspirational football movie. I won’t say much, just that OlaBola “tells the story of everyday heroes through the lives of a multi-cultural football team. Using the world’s biggest sport as its premise, OlaBola captures the trials and triumphs that keep the team together and affirms that success is a truly collective effort. Packed with action and emotion, OlaBola is set to take Malaysian audiences on a memorable journey that showcases Malaysia’s enduring spirit at its best.”
Normally, one can’t go wrong with inspirational sports movies. And football is the world’s biggest sport. So, there.
Release date: Jan 28, 2016
Director: U-Wei Haji Saari
Cast: Peter O’Brien, Diana Danielle, Sofia Jane, Adi Putra, Khalid Salleh
Seriously, I’ve completely lost track of what’s going on with U-Wei’s RM18 mil film. First, it was publicised that the film had been completed, back in 2010. Then, it was released in Indonesia. And then U-Wei asked the government for RM2 mil for marketing purposes. And everyone was asking when they could see the film.
U-Wei had planned for this movie, based on Almayer’s Folly by Joseph Conrad, since the early 2000s. I know, because I followed and covered its development. In those early days, he had Harvey Keitel confirmed for the lead role. But preparations took longer than expected, and I guess Keitel dropped out in the long run.
Then in 2009, the media’s interest was rekindled when news came that U-wei was scouting for locations.
Right now, as far as I can see online, it has a release date of Dec 11, 2015. That’s a Friday, which is not normally opening day for a new film, unless it’s an Indian film. So, it’s highly doubtable.
Release date: Dec 11, 2015 (?)
Director: Ahmad Idham
Cast: Niezam Zaidi, Along Eyzendy, Pablo Amirul, Elly Feliziana
Release date: Dec 24, 2015
Director: Pekin Ibrahim
Cast: Pekin Ibrahim, Shaheizy Sam, Syamsul Yusof, Faizal Hussein, Rosyam Nor, Cat Farish
Release date: Jan 14, 2016
If this looks confusing, it is. Until you find out that there are TWO movies with the same title, Mat Moto, coming out soon. I included these two movies not really because they’re good (judging from the trailers, just another day at the races), but because it’s a peculiar case, and I believe, the first of its kind in this country.
You see, what happened was Pekin and Ahmad had discussed a movie idea sometime ago, and after Azwan Annuar, who was involved in the initial script development, passed away unexpectedly, things got a bit tricky. A big disagreement broke out between the two directors, eventually leading to them making two films with the same title (I have no idea if the stories are similar though).
The funny thing is, they’re both being released almost one after the other, with Ahmad’s version to the finish line first. Pekin’s directorial debut would have to wait until next year, but his is the more star-studded one with a cooler movie poster.
Trailer (Mat Moto AI)
Trailer (Mat Moto PI)