May 18, 2006


Afdlin Shauki makes some fun, laid-back comediesMalaysia confuses me. On the one hand you've got ass-hat decisions like the one to ban Amir Muhammad's THE LAST COMMUNIST and the ticket stuffing campaign to keep viewers from going to see Yasmin Ahmad's GUBRA. Several acclaimed movies like THE BEAUTIFUL WASHING MACHINE will not be shown in Malaysia and on a recent news show the following topic was discussed: SEPET AND GUBRA - CORRUPTERS OF MALAY CULTURE (although as Yasmin was quick to point out, this show actually caused a spike in flagging ticket sales for GUBRA).

On the other hand Malaysia can make some good movies when it wants to. GANGSTER, a nihilistic, crime-ridden slab of ooze from 2005 will be screening at this year's New York Asian Film Festival and it rocked the box office in Malaysia last year. And Afdlin Shauki makes some fun, laid-back comedies. And now there's a new movie coming out called S'KALI about four multi-ethnic friends. You can find the website here and a downloadable teaser trailer here. It's bound to be controversial, and hopefully that will be good for their box office.

May 18, 2006 at 12:59 PM in News, Trailers | Permalink


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was Andal released in the theaters? it was pretty sleazy, in a transfixing way.

Posted by: jevya | May 18, 2006 2:21:13 PM

The Beautiful Washing Machine WAS indeed shown in Malaysian cinemas. A friend of mine watched it and hated it.

Posted by: wyejon | May 19, 2006 4:05:29 AM

My mistake. I took the following paragraph from Yasmin Ahmad's blog:

"“The Beautiful Washing Machine”, James Lee’s bittersweet contemplation of feminine alienation, won the Best ASEAN Feature award and the FIPRESCI prize at the 2005 Bangkok International Film Festival. It hasn’t, in any big way, seen the light of day here."

And I misinterpreted it. Although it is interesting to read her follow-up to that statement:

"The last I heard, James felt like he had received one beating too many and was close to throwing in the towel."

Posted by: Grady Hendrix | May 19, 2006 4:52:12 AM

"The Beautiful Washing Machine" had a Malaysian theatrical run, albeit one limited to Kuala Lumpur -- and maybe also Penang (like "The Last Communist" was slated to have until the Home Affairs ministry stepped in). I am another person who viewed it -- and didn't like it.

For one thing, felt that director James Lee came across as too Tsai Min-Liang and Wong Kar-Wai wanna-be. For another, I thought that the all Mandarin-speaking sphere in which the people in his film inhabited was not representative of the Malaysia I know (which is more multi-ethnic and -cultural and, thus, akin to the Malaysia of such as Yasmin Ahmad's "Sepet" and Amir Muhammad's "The Big Durian" and "The Last Communist").

As for "Andal" (AKA "Aandal"): It did get a limited theatrical run in Malaysia. But, then, the Malaysian censors are far more lenient on foreign than Malaysian films (and, with regards to foreign, more lenient on Western films than those from other parts of Asia).

Posted by: YTSL | May 19, 2006 5:21:40 AM

Oops! Mea culpa. Forgot that "Aandal" IS a Malaysian movie!! Perhaps hence, in the grand scheme of things, its getting just a limited theatrical run in Malaysia... ;(

Posted by: YTSL | May 19, 2006 5:24:31 AM

By the way, Yasmin mentioned that Tsai Ming-liang is Malaysian-born. Did anyone else know this?

Posted by: Grady Hendrix | May 19, 2006 7:44:55 AM

Re Tsai Ming-Liang: Yep. Me!!! :)

And should there be any doubters as to Tsai Ming-Liang's origins:-

Posted by: YTSL | May 19, 2006 9:20:50 AM

So dark the con of Tsa Ming-Liang....

Posted by: simon abrams | May 19, 2006 7:37:08 PM

Damn it, now I look illiterate. I meant Tsai. Can I try again?


So dark the con of Tsai Ming-Liang.

There. Now I'm clever and apologetic.

Posted by: simon abrams | May 19, 2006 7:38:15 PM

yup that tsai ming liang thing is true... but he's not big here so most people don't care.

Posted by: wyejon | May 20, 2006 8:49:13 AM

I've actually met James Lee numerous times, and I think his bigger influence may be more Jim Jarmusch (whom he cited as one of his fave directors) than WKW or Tsai Min Liang.

Posted by: Edmund Yeo | May 25, 2006 8:25:44 PM

Laast I heard, Tsai was living in Malaysia but working mostly in Taiwan. His company, Homegreen Films, is based in Taipei...but I guess his new film takes place in Malaysia.

Posted by: Dan R. | Jun 9, 2006 5:39:46 AM

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