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Showing posts with label James Lee. Show all posts
Showing posts with label James Lee. Show all posts

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Cultural Uniqueness or Stereotypical Caricature?

"But as I think of the many myths, there is one that is very harmful, and that is the myth of countries. I mean, why should I think of myself as being an Argentine, and not a Chilean, and not an Uruguayan. I don't know really. All of those myths that we impose on ourselves - and they make for hatred, for war, for enmity - are very harmful. Well, I suppose in the long run, governments and countries will die out and we'll be just, well, cosmopolitans." - Jorge Luis Borges, 1980
Whilst attending a seminar organized by the Sin Chew Jit Poh Newspaper last year, where two acclaimed Malaysian filmmakers, James Lee and Tan Chui Mui, were featured as guests, one thing that left the deepest impression for me was when they started speaking about how some people, both the authorities and the filmmakers, have been trying too hard to produce a film with a 'distinct Malaysian feel', thus limiting the boundaries of creativity. After all, must all Malaysian films feature people speaking Manglish? (to proclaim proudly to people of other countries our sheer ineptitude with the English language?) Must all Malaysian films feature mamak stalls and coconut trees? Why, because Malaysia is all about mamak stalls and coconut trees? And that without these, Malaysian isn't Malaysia anymore?

Thursday, January 19, 2006

C. L. Hor's The 3rd Generation is a Malaysian film masterpiece.

[Disclaimer: This entire post was written with a lot of sarcasm.]

It happened more than a week ago, when I chanced upon Jesscet's entry (I believe she's a writer for KL Lifestyle and possibly a journalist for Malay Mail) about the Malaysian production, 'The Third Generation' where she mentioned that the film being billed as the very first 'Cantonese art film in Malaysia'.

Never much of a fan of anyone who labels non-mainstream films as 'art films, I left a comment showing my curiosity.

"First Cantonese art film in Malaysia? Really? What about those stuff by James Lee? I just feel that the term 'art film' is highly subjective. Usually used to describe aethestically-pleasing (that's rather debatable) non-mainstream films ala Wong Kar Wai's works, or in America, non-mainstream films that are shown in arthouse cinemas (instead of those cineplexes), knowing that 'art' films are generally non-profitable, I find it strange that the filmmakers of 'The Third Generation' would label their own film as an 'art' film. Let alone, the first ever in Malaysia."

(Note: I mentioned James Lee because his 'Beautiful Washing Machine' was mostly in Cantonese, whilst both Ho Yuhang and Tan Chui Mui's works were in Mandarin)

Monday, July 25, 2005

SEPET by Yasmin Ahmad, an important film in the Malaysian New Wave

One of the movies I heard most of when I returned to Malaysia had, strangely, been a local film, which is something unheard of considering that at this time of the year, summer Hollywood blockbusters are the ones that rule the box-office. This local film is Yasmin Ahmad's 'Sepet' which had been making waves at some foreign film festivals, and became quite a subject of discussion among Malaysians, not just the Malays, but also many of the Chinese I know. Finally got to watch it during my flight from Malaysia to Perth.

'Sepet' depicts an interracial romance between a Chinese guy and a Malay gal. And being an interracial romance, it obviously shows the complications involved in interracial romance, like the clashing of cultures, the condemnation of narrow-minded friends, the inability of acceptance by parents. Can true love transcend all these barriers?

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Just to clarify some things from my previous entry

Whoa, I didn't know that Sebastian actually posted the link to my previous entry on famed director, Yasmin Ahmad's blog. And therefore, I would like to take the opportunity to reply to hdoong, a person who took the time to make a rather sensible and thought-provoking response to my entry.

The following is from him:

The Malaysian Chinese Filmmaking Scene And Its Many Many Obstacles.

EDIT: I didn't specifically pointed out that I was ranting about the Malaysian Chinese filmmaking scene when I first posted it, and not exactly the Malaysian filmmaking scene in general. So yeah, remember, I was ranting more about the Malaysian Chinese filmmaking scene.

Image hosted by Photobucket.com

Image hosted by Photobucket.com

Yup, went to this Q & A session at a film academy today with my dad, and I had the fortune to meet James Lee (top photo), a famous local independant filmmaker who is considered as one of the pioneers of the current Malaysian independant filmmaking movement, and Chan Jin Quan (that's what his name sounds like in Mandarin, I'm not too sure what his actual English name is, bottom pic), a veteran TV actor who had been around from the glory days of Chinese Malaysian television to its fall, and he had managed to stay tough and continued the career he had loved... despite this, he looks really young though.

The local Malaysian filmmaking scene is being discussed today, the industry, the regular cinemagoers, the numerous obstacles and restrictions preventing filmmakers from succeeding, many things, therefore, I'll try to speak out about the numerous things that caught my attention today. There had been many issues in our local film industry that makes aspiring filmmaker like me want to stay overseas instead of here, because I knew that there are more opportunities in, say, Australia, than here. So, enough talk, here are the crucial flaws of our system that leaves me rather apprehensive about pursuing my passion here.