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C Q

GET IN LINE An exclusive interview with TK Cheng

REELITY TV Stepping into the past to look at the present

BROKEN HEARTS Norman Yusoff reconsiders " Salleh Ghani’s Sri Mersing "

OH MY ENGLISH! A brief history of the " Malaysian Urban Wave

#3 | AN INDIE POWERED MAGAZINE!

SMOKE AND MIRRORS

OF STORIES ON AND OFF THE SILVER SCREEN

REVIEWS GALORE What happens If I Stay at Kolumpo Merdekah

FEELING FESTIVE Filmmakers talk film fest experience

MEANING OF LIFE Nine film people on films and filmmaking

PIRATES, AHOY! Khairil M Bahar on his first feature film Ciplak


Sokongan untuk filem Malaysian Urban Wave sangat kecil dibanding dengan kutipan box office filem lain

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EDITORIAL NOTE! Editorial Board Saya masih mampu ingat dengan jelasnya, pengalaman pertama saya menonton filem di panggung wayang. Tahun 1999, malam itu malam Sabtu, hujan renyairenyai. Saya, bersama-sama dengan Ayah, Mak, Kakak dan Atok berjalan dari rumah kami yang terletak di Pengkalan Weld, ke Panggung Cathay di Penang Road, Georgetown. Sebaik sahaja kami masuk ke dalam panggung, saya dapat hidu bau sofa lama dan kepam udara dingin. Sebelum filem bermula, mata saya tercari-cari cahaya dan lantas tertancap ke papan tanda bercahaya warna hijau, tertulis ‘Keluar’ yang berada di sudut bawah, paling kanan skrin besar. Keterujaan langsung menerjah setiap seisi tubuh saya. Kami tonton filem animasi Tarzan, dan hingga sekarang alun suara Zainal Abidin menyanyikan lagu Kau Di Hatiku masih menjadi antara memori pertama saya menonton filem. Lain orang, lain jalinnya. Lain orang, lain cara mereka berhubung dengan filem. Dan semestinya, setiap orang yang menonton filem, pasti pernah terkesan dengan maujudnya sebuah filem. Untuk saya, jejaka idealistik pertama yang telah memenangi hati saya juga muncul daripada filem. Saya tidak mungkin boleh lupa bagaimana tenungan Jason Scott Lee, di dalam filem The Jungle Book memanah jiwa muda saya. Bagaimana gesek biola yang mengalun lembut sepanjang-panjang filem In The Mood For Love itu mampu terngiangngiang, persis radio rosak, berulang dan diulang dan diulang lagi. Berhantu! Itu untuk sayalah, saya pasti anda semua punyai detik ketersimaan dan kepanasaran yang mampu mengubah impi dan persepsi anda tatkala selesai menonton filem, pasti!   Saya juga tidak mungkin boleh lupa detik tertitisnya air mata Mak sewaktu menonton babak akhir filem Mann dan keasyikan Atok bercerita perihal kali

yang berpuluh-puluh beliau tonton filem Bobby di Panggung Odeon Jalan Penang. Filem sudah jadi sebahagian daripada alam separa sedar kita. Filem mampu jadi mesin putar masa atau persis poket Doreamon, yang boleh bawa kita ke alam lain, ke zaman lain, mengenal budaya lain dan juga bisa bagi kita gambaran bagaimana berada di dalam kepala orang lain. Ada yang ketemu cinta saat membikin filem. Ada yang ketemu diri saat menonton filem. Ada yang terusap lembut dek keagungan Tuhan saat menonton filem. Macam-macam ada! Saya membesar dengan menonton filem. Kita semua kenal akan apa itu filem dan apa yang mampu ia lakukan kepada kita. Sungguh, saya sedar yang saya sebenarnya sudah mula menganalisa aspek pembikinan filem sebelum saya menginjak ke sekolah rendah lagi apabila Ayah bawa saya ke lokasi penggambaran Anna And The King yang waktu itu berlangsung di Padang Kota, Pulau Pinang.   Untuk isu CQ kali ini, saya yakin, bibitbibit terindah yang zahir daripada menonton filem dan juga menikmati proses penghasilan filem terangkum dalam bentuk hasil tulisan-tulisan yang penuh jiwa, tepu ruh dan padat dengan saat yang tak sirna ditelan waktu. Dan kini, saya menukilkan sekapur sirih ini, sebaik sahaja saja keluar dari Panggung Cineworld, di bumi sebelah sini, 10,755km dari tanah tumpah darah saya, sebaik sahaja selesai menonton Avengers: The Age of Ultron dan, saya masih kenang dan ingat akan pengalamaan saya menonton filem di Panggung Cathay, 18 tahun yang lalu, kerana rasa dan perasaannya masih sama.   EZZAH MAHMUD SUB EDITOR

EDITORS IN CHIEF FIKRI JERMADI WANI ARDY SUB EDITORS DEA ISHAK EZZAH MAHMUD MARIA ADIBAH AZMI CONTRIBUTORS AARON SEE ABAH ADAM RADHI AGAKI AKMAL FIRUL ANI AZIZ ZAKARIA ATHIRAH ABDULLAH AZIRA RAZAK DEA ISHAK EZZAH MAHMUD HASSAN MUTHALIB KHAIRIL M BAHAR NORMAN YUSOFF OH SEHUN PAUL SELVAM RAHIM RAMLI SHAH HADRI STEPHEN ANTONIO SUE RUSLAN TK CHENG WANEE HASSAN WIRAMANJA LAYOUT DESIGNER ADI ISKANDAR FRONT COVER ANTHONY FINE / FLICKR Get in touch with us online:

CQ Magazine is an indie powered e-publication for creative explorations adhering to a high standard of professional writing and journalism. The opinions of contributors do not necessarily represent the view of CQ Magazine. Design inspired by Swedish Film magazine. 
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CONTENTS!

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3 CDE AB LAKARAN LAYAR LEBAR ABAH 4 WHERE DO BROKEN HEARTS GO NORMAN YUSOFF 9 MOMENT YAYA ASHIM 10 KEPULANGAN AKMAL FIRUL 13 KEAJAIBAN DOA WANEE HASSAN 14 GETTING IN LINE TK CHENG 19 FOR THE THINGS WE PLAN TO DO DEA ISHAK

52 IMAGE: ANI AZIZ ZAKARIA!

42 LEDAKAN REALITI TV WIRAMANJA 45 KRIMINAL SUE RUSLAN 46 SINEMA SPEAKING FIKRI JERMADI 49 EVERYTHING I AM NOT ATHIRAH ABDULLAH

IMAGE: DANILO PRATES / FLICKR!

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31 BILA MANA KAU HENDAK BERPUTUS ASA OH SEHUN 33 NOT SUITABLE FOR ADULTS STEPHEN ANTONIO 34 HITAM EZZAH MAHMUD 37 THE WATER PAUL SELVAM 38 DIRECTOR’S NOTE KHAIRIL M BAHAR

3

IMAGE: LENINERS / FLICKR!

IMAGE: KEVIN STANCHFIELD / FLICKR!

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42 IMAGE: NUALA / FLICKR!

50 SANG ANARKIS SHAH HADRI 52 FILMS AND FILMMAKING COLLAGE

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IMAGE: ALI MIR / FLICKR!

20 DILARANG MASUK KE TANAH MERDEKAH ANI AZIZ ZAKARIA 22 MULLAMOOSE TOWN AARON SEE AND ADAM RADHI AGAKI 25 FINDING ENLIGHTENMENT IN THE CITY HASSAN MUTHALIB 27 SEPI AZIRA RAZAK 28 FESTIVAL CITY ADI ISKANDAR


POETRY ABAH

CDE AB Lakaran Layar Lebar TEXT: ABAH ! IMAGE: KEVIN STANCHFIELD / FLICKR!

Cahaya dipancarkan ke layar Mata mula teruja Dalam pemikiran dalam sanubari Menusuk masuk ke dunia penceritaan Empunya jiwa tenung terus, tekun, cuba hadamkan   Awalnya sang pemain watak menapak terus ke sebuah ruangan Mata makin teruja Berbual mencanting persetujuan dirinya dan pemilik ruangan itu Meneroka lagi ke dunia filem itu Fana alamnya seperti ada yang tak kena   Gugup... gusar itu seakan kita rasakan sebagai penontonnya Hamparan visual serong, segar, serik, sesak, selera, segala segi seumpama segumpal sia-sia Insan pemain watak itu ingin tamatkan kisahnya Jalan menapak ke ruangan pemilik tempat Kelunya watak pemain utama, pasti Lalu menerusi perbuatan lumpur itu, dia mendengar sebuah nada suci Menadahkan telinganya pada azan yang dikumandangkan Namun dirinya bercampur-baur rasa pusarannya Oleh kelakuan sang watak itu sendiri   Pemain watak berhasrat menyimpulkan layarnya   Mata setuju menaakul Masing-masing Menunggu keluar dari dunia filem yang berhenti berputar

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FEATURE NORMAN YUSOFF

Where Do Broken Hearts Go? Norman Yusoff looks back at Sri Mersing, the landmark film by Salleh Ghani IMAGE: JAMES CHEN / FLICKR

“The heartland lies where the heart longs to be. Sometimes it takes a lifetime to find the true place to plant it.” – Vera Nazarian If one recalls any old Malay romance melodrama of the 1950s and 60s – either M. Amin’s Gurindam Jiwa, P. Ramlee’s Antara Dua Darjat or Hussain Haniff’s Dang Anum – she/he may find that they generally delved into questions of impossibilities and necessities of human togetherness. These questions inform the aforementioned films’ portrayal of characters trapped in a web of pain and predicament due to the fallibility of human politico-social and cultural systems. Underpinned by the cultural mode of melodrama, their depicted milieu is invariably saturated with their characters’ affective and emotional states, ranging from tragic sorrow to unbearable romantic longing. For example, due to the three films’ critical observation of the Malay feudal system, such emotional significations tend to resonate with the agency of individuals who experience social deprivation, subordination and/or exclusion. In one of my favourite melodramas, Sri Mersing   (1961), which is the focus of this discussion, issues of social marginalisation, deprivation, place and displacement, become a major hindrance to the romantic reconciliation of its central protagonists. The film, which was the late Salleh Ghani’s feature debut, has been heralded by critics and fans alike as Salleh’s best work. Sri Mersing’s storyline revolves around Damak who, together with his mother and younger brother Deli, have come from the state of Pahang to live in the fishing village 4 | CQ MAGAZINE | #3

of Mersing. In the process of regarding Mersing as their new home, Damak and his family have to confront the villagers’ bias and prejudice. Complications ensue when Damak becomes involved in a fight with Awang, the son of the village headman, over a local kampong beauty named Sri. One night, when Sri’s father Pak Malau is away, Awang and his henchmen kidnap Sri. In order to distract attention from his misdeed, Awang slanders Damak, accusing him of kidnapping the girl. Pak Malau, who tends to trust Awang due to his status as the village headman’s son, arranges her daughter’s wedding with the latter. Sri, who refuses to accept her father’s decision – with the help of her best friend Siti Payung – disappears on her wedding day, incurring the wrath of Pak Malau, Awang and the village headman. The village headman orders that Damak be arrested and penalised. This opportunity is utilised by Awang and his henchmen to further torture Damak. Deli seeks help from Mersing’s aboriginal community to assist him in gaining the release of his innocent brother and to confront Awang and his henchmen. Damak’s innocence is proven when Pak Malau eventually discovers that Awang has been the mastermind behind Sri’s disappearance. But, by the time Pak Malau attempts to persuade Damak and his family to stay, it is too late. In its depiction of how social struggles for power have negative implications for people, Sri Mersing explores the experience of merantau, the Nusantara   world’s long tradition of migration and exile, of being away from home, even within their region of domicile. This being

the case, Sri Mersing becomes far more than a class-impeded, ‘Romeo-and-Julietstyle’ romance: the film is kamping, regional yet ‘universal’; it has even more relevance in today’s context. Its widelyrecognised protagonist Damak (by Malay movie fans) is a dagang merantau (traveller-migrant worker), i.e. someone in a state of ‘in-between’ or – to use an academic term – ‘liminality’. In the course of the film’s narrative, the kampong of Mersing may be seen as a transit point or a transient settlement for Damak and his family, i.e., a space of ‘inbetween-ness’. Even geographically speaking, Mersing (now a town) is a ‘transit’ point, which can be understood in terms of its location in the northeast corner of the state of Johor. As well, it is a gateway to other several islands, including the nearby offshore island of Tioman. That said, I want to show the ways in which – and the planes on which – the film Sri Mersing depicts its characters experiencing a state of being in-between here and there, in-between places and inbetween emotions, all informing its themes of displacement and liminality. It is upon this state of spatio-temporal condition that Sri Mersing asks us to reflect, a state in which nothing is stable and everything is constantly in flux or ‘on the move’, a condition which, one could suggest, parallels the profoundly unstable territory of romantic love. As is the case with many other old Malay movies, some of the bangsawan conventions on which Sri Mersing draws (such as singing and dancing) should be taken into account in assigning the film’s


 Damak and his brother are constantly reminded by their mother that they should not act like ayam jantan while in a foreign land


IMAGE: RONALD TAGRA / FLICKR!

FEATURE NORMAN YUSOFF

overall form and meaning. While the film may not be as ‘cinematically arresting’ as Hussain Haniff’s Hang Jebat or P. Ramlee’s Semerah Padi, certain images and framings, I suggest, should not be taken for granted. Consider, for example, the film’s beginning that invokes ideas of ‘on-the-move’ interspersed with various crisscrossing trajectories while at the same time introducing its main characters as ‘on the move’, between places: a boat on the sea approaching the shore; its waving sail rippling in the wind. Pak Malau and his daughter Sri step ashore from the boat and walk through several areas of the kampong as they head for their house. The camera pans right, ‘looking up’ at sever­al palm trees, pausing at one of them, then tilting downward to follow a coconut being dropped to the ground by Damak’s monkey. The characters’ state of mobility and drift is conveyed via dialogues; in the sequence, Pak Malau approaches Damak and tells him that he and his daughter have just arrived home after returning from Tioman Island. When Pak Malau and Sri cross Awang’s path, the viewers learn that Awang has returned to Mersing after being in Terengganu (a neighbouring regional state) for 15 years. In the scene that follows, Pak Malau announces to his wife and Sri that he is leaving for Tioman Island for a week

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(Tioman is frequently invoked to connect with Damak’s homeland of Pahang). During the night, when Damak is asked to look after Sri and her mother, one may discern some of the characters’ state of mobility – ‘coming’ and ‘going,’ back and forth, continuously, and in multiple directions. The viewers see Sri’s friend Siantan, who is completely infatuated with Damak, leave the house upon learning that he is coming to stay overnight at Sri’s house. When Damak arrives, Sri’s mother asks him whether or not he encountered Siantan on the way; he replies that it was impossible due to the opposite directions from which they were coming, saying: “Her (Siantan’s) house is on the darat (shore, upland), my house in the baruh (lowland area) [read: inbetween spaces].” During the night, Awang and his henchmen pursue their vicious plan to head for Sri’s house. Once in her neighbourhood, they temporarily disappear when Deli arrives to inform Damak that their mother is ill. Upon Damak and Deli’s immediate departure from Sri’s house, Awang and his henchmen return and kidnap Sri. Before dawn, Sri’s mother rushes to Damak’s house to inform him that Sri has been kidnapped and asks Damak to help find her. As we can see, this particular sequence highlights the characters’ constant oscillation between locales and domiciles.    In line with the melodrama’s traditional

conventions, the director sentimentalises Damak’s condition of social powerlessness and economic deprivation as the displaced (dagang merempat). This condition further disrupts the trajectory of his romantic relationship with Sri, as they encounter heartache, tragedy and social prejudice. Director Salleh Ghani characterises his subjects in the manner of the melancholic characters in old literary texts (e.g. mendicants, vagabonds, migrants, exiles and orphans), all of whom may easily evoke certain sympathetic response from the reader. Locals such as Pak Malau, Awang and the village headman continuously remind Damak that “ini bumi Mersing” (lit. ‘this is the land of Mersing’), reinforcing their sense of ketuanan (sovereignty and supremacy) over the village. Damak and his brother must invariably evince humility: they are constantly reminded by their mother that they should not act like ayam jantan (roosters) while in a foreign land. Damak and his family’s growing sense of alienation becomes further evident when he is accused by the village headman of practising black arts, an accusation that forces them to move into the jungle and build a temporary abode. His having to stay both by the sea and at the edge of the forest, along with his work of dealing with nature, attests to Damak’s survival and resilience, further affirming him – in the


FEATURE NORMAN YUSOFF wider cosmology of belief – as a loyal and sensitive inhabitant of nature. It is interesting to note that when the orang asli (aboriginal) community agrees to help Deli to battle Awang and his henchmen for the release of his brother, it may be that they share similar sentiments due to their marginalised and underprivileged status. In addition, the aboriginal people are always seen as the embodiment of displacement and liminality. Damak’s peripheral status defines his status as a ‘victim-hero’ typical of a traditional melodrama: he becomes the film’s villain’s source of slander and his virtues are eventually recognised. The film does not finally place the kampong of Mersing as a space of innocence as is the customary convention of a melodrama, although Damak admits that it is ‘bumi bertuah’ (a blessed and fortunate land). This could primarily be due to it being a place for him to mencari rezeki (make a living). That said, Sri Mersing is a traditional melodrama that highlights dramatic revelation of moral and emotional truths, situating Damak as an object of innocence and vulnerability that may evoke the viewers’ sense of pathos and sympathy. This tendency is enhanced by Nordin Ahmad’s articulate and dynamic performance with its myriad expressions and nuances of emotions: the quiver in his plaintive voice evokes our sympathy; his sorrowful eyes inform us of his suffering; and, his uncontrollable rage – his desperation to clear his own name – triggers our approbation. The characters’ desires and feelings conjure up various manifestations of ‘inbetween’ and/or ‘on-the-move’. Take Sri, for example. Her romantic longing for Damak becomes thwarted when her father intervenes and arranges her marriage to Awang. At this stage, she is torn between love and her parents’ needs, and between her individual autonomy and social value system. When she laments her state of feeling in one of her songs, its pantun-like lyrics frequently reference the straits and seas within the Nusantara world, alluding to geo-spatial notions of ‘oceans-inbetween’ (and ‘mobility’); for example, “Laut Melaka bernama selat, banyaklah orang naik perahu...” (lit. ‘The strait is the name for Malaccan sea with many people on board the boat’); “Selat Makassar Lautan Maluku, banyaklah kapal membawalah dagang...” (lit ‘Makassar strait, Maluku sea, with many ships carrying merchants’). Other supporting characters, too, epitomise these ‘in-between’ desires and feelings, traversing longing and belonging. Siantan, who becomes jealous of Sri

because of Damak, experiences symptoms of gila asmara (a form of obsessive fixation) because Damak fails to reciprocate her attention; in one scene, when she joins her friends singing by the river, she hums: “Puas ku cari pusing keliling sayang ... belum mendapat bagai dinanti” (lit. ‘I’ve searched all around yet haven’t found the one I wish for’). Awang, who incessantly pursues Sri and is about to marry her, is murdered towards the end of the film. The Deli-Siti Payung relationship remains uncertain due to his family’s decision to leave Mersing permanently. The pre-wedding feast sequence, which has been creatively referenced in more contemporary Malaysian films, like Perempuan, Isteri & ... (1993) and ... Dalam Botol (2011), is particularly significant visa-vis its understanding of the notions of ‘in-between’ and ‘on-the-move’. This particular sequence, which mobilises several different spaces simultaneously, liberates the viewers’ sense of spatiotemporal continuum, dividing their gaze and minds through ‘the middle,’ between places, or between here and there. In particular, each scene shows characters in ‘movement’ or ‘transit’ in diverse ways. For example, outside of the bride’s house, a zapin dance performance transgresses the bangsawan-style, proscenium stage presentation. It is conveyed via the editing and diverse framings that whisk us in and out of certain movements and gestures (alternately from dancers and musicians to spectators). This zapin scene is linked to the scene of another festive performance featuring a dondang sayang song duet performed outside the groom’s house. These joyful ‘performative’ moments, which represent a dialectics of movement and arrest, contrast with and prefigure a certain impending tension. The zapin scene is intercut with a scene showing Sri crying her eyes out in her bedroom; then, when Sri’s friend Siti cues her, she escapes through a submerged hollow in the bedroom floor and flees to Damak’s place far away in the jungle. These disparate locations visualise the comings and goings of people, movements in the form of dance-performance, Sri’s escaping and heading for the jungle, all of which imply a plurality of centres; for example, Siti and Sri’s transit point near the jungle, Sri’s bedroom, Damak’s house, and, the bride’s make-up assistant Mak Bunga standing on the verandah watching the zapin dance. These settings connect (or disconnect) conditions of here and there,  interior and exterior, near and far, presence and absence and coming and going, all of which parallel a state of displacement and liminality.

The characters’ desires and feelings conjure up various manifestations of ‘in-between’ and/or ‘on-the-move’

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FEATURE NORMAN YUSOFF For perantau like Damak and his family, the Mersing kampong serves as a spatial sense of displacement and a temporal sense of impermanence due to their decision to return to Pahang. Damak invokes an old Malay proverb, telling Pak Malau that “hujan emas di negeri orang, hujan batu di negeri sendiri, lebih baik di negeri sendiri” (lit. ‘Although gold rains in foreign countries and hailstones fall in our country, it is still better in our country’). The final scene, in which Pak Malau and Sri bid farewell to Damak and his family, shows both Pak Malau and Sri persuading Damak not to leave: Pak Malau even asks Damak to forgive him but the latter refuses. In this respect, the film problematises Damak’s masculinity and his status as a hero. On the one hand, his refusal to continue to live in Mersing informs his integrity – a man with principle; on the other, his hardest heart that cannot be easily melted is gripped by a culture-bound symptom of rajuk, a form of sulking. I read his reluctance to forgive others as due to his rajuk, a form of human foible and vulnerability.

IMAGE: JACK / FLICKR!

Songwriting adalah proses memerah otak yang sihat untuk pemalas macam saya " "

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In effect, Damak is a suffering and melancholic hero. This particular scene, which informs about Damak and his family’s departure, can be contrasted with the film’s first scene wherein a boat from Tioman (Pahang) takes Pak Malau and Sri back to Mersing. Both the opening and closing shots signify the site of the ‘inbetween,’ negotiating between the place of arrival and the point of departure, and between togetherness and separation. For example, adopting a somewhat lugubrious tone, Damak assures the tears-inducing Sri that they will be ‘far in distance but near at heart’, perhaps one of the film’s saddest moments reinforced by the lilting sound of Zubir Said’s mournful violin on the soundtrack. The last imagery, which is captured in an extreme long shot, once again depicts a state of flux: Damak’s boat, with its waving sail, drifts out to sea leaving behind Pak Malau, Sri and Siti Payung. The above ending, which has all the hallmarks of a doomed romance, certainly renders Sri Mersing heartbreaking and depressing. There is no doubt that the film will continue to overwhelm us with

tides of sadness and despair every time we revisit it. But, somewhat more significantly, this timeless classic will plunge us deeper into questions of longing and belonging, questions that pertain to both human relations and geographical space.


POETRY YAYA ASHIM

Moment

TEXT: YAYA ASHIM IMAGE: KYLESTEED / FLICKR!

All the things we have gone through together Left as moments now Did you remember the streets that we walked on? Did you notice the journey that we shared along? The laughter The joy The tears Nothing at all and becomes the moment   This is hard for me I think it’s not too hard for you, right? But past stories never come back It remains a moment   Time flies so fast From the seconds The hours The days The months And even a year Then left the moment behind   Deep in my heart I’m still missing you And today everything changes It remains a moment   May I miss you, again? I put you as my moment Thanks to you for the time spent Thank you for the moments created   We should never regret with our life Never ever take the time for granted   Life keeps going on and moving forward But the moments still remains there without failure

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SHORT STORY AKMAL FIRUL

Kepulangan TEXT: AKMAL FIRUL IMAGE: MARIAG / FLICKR!

Sebutir mutiara jernih jatuh ke pipinya. Kemudian sebutir lagi, dan banyak lagi sehingga banjir dataran hatinya. Langit turut menangis menyaksikan seorang lakilaki di atas hamparan sejadah biru membaca puisi-puisi keampunan. “Ya Tuhan… Kau kuatkanlah semangatku untuk kembali ke jalanMu, jangan Kau halang jalanku, jangan Kau sesatkan aku.” Adha mengelap air matanya. Dilipatnya sejadah biru itu menjadi lipatan segi empat tepat lalu diletakkan di atas katil. “Sejak bila kau pandai sembahyang ni?” Satu tubuh berdiri di muka pintu menghembus keluar asap rokok dari dalam mulutnya. “Zamarul… Em… Kau dah makan dah?” Adha meletakkan songkok yang memeluk kuat kepalanya di atas meja. “Belum. Jom lah, aku dah siap dah ni.” Zamarul menghembus lagi kepulan asap keluar dari dalam mulutnya. Kali ini lebih banyak. Seperti cuaca yang menemani alam Kuala Lumpur, sebentar ia hujan, kadang ia cerah. Begitu jugalah hati dan perasaan Adha. Telefon bimbit di tangannya menjerit kuat. “Hello?” Perlahan suara itu dilepaskan. Adha berjalan masuk ke dalam kereta. “Along balik tak minggu ni? Dah lama Along tak balik kampung! Adik bukan apa, mak ni makin teruk sakitnya.” Enjin kereta dihidupkan. “Along tak pasti lagilah, Adik. Kalau Along nak balik nanti Along bagitahu. Kirim salam pada mak.” Tuttt… Tuttt… Tuttt… “Adha! Kau tak payah nak jadi baik sangatlah! Kau ingat kau sembahyang tu, kau dah jadi orang alim?” Satu jeritan memukul telinga Adha. Zamarul melabuhkan punggungnya di atas sofa. “Aku bukan nak jadi orang baik. Aku cuma tak nak jadi orang jahat, atau bertambah jahat. Cukuplah dosa yang aku buat selama ni. Aku sedar, aku banyak buat dosa. Bila lagi aku nak bertaubat? Nak tunggu aku mati?” Perlahan-lahan Adha membawa tubuhnya ke ruang tamu rumah.

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“Dosa? Kenapa baru sekarang kau sedar yang semua ni dosa? So, sekarang kau nak kata yang aku ni masih bergelumang dengan dosa? Dan kau nak jadi ustaz yang beri ceramah pada aku? Macam tu?” Sekali lagi Zamarul melemparkan bom kata-kata kepada Adha. Kali ini, hati Adha sedikit retak! Tidak ada tindakan yang Adha mampu lakukan selain mendiamkan diri dan senyum. Walaupun tanpa keikhlasan. Adha membiarkan kepalanya ditelan kelembutan bantal. Sempat dia menoleh pada barang-barang di dalam kotak dan beberapa beg pakaian yang berada di atas lantai. Matanya kini memanah tepat pada satu gumpalan awan kelabu yang berarak manja di luar jendela. Gelap. Satu ciuman mendarat di bibir Adha. Ada satu tubuh tegap memeluk erat tubuhnya. Dua tubuh berdada bidang saling bertembung. Seperti ada pertarungan sengit di dalam ruang dingin dan kelam itu. Satu lagi ciuman mendarat di bibir Adha. Kali ini lebih lama. Tuk! Tuk! Tuk! Pintu bilik diketuk kuat! “Adha!” Cepat-cepat Adha kembali ke dunia nyata meninggalkan khayalannya. Awan kelabu di luar jendela mulai pudar warnanya. “Kenapa, Zamarul?” Adha membuka pintu bilik. “Kau nak pindah? Kenapa?” Zamarul hanya mampu mengangkat kening kanannya. “Aku nak tinggalkan tempat ni. Aku nak cari kerja baru. Aku nak tinggalkan dia.” Adha kembali menghampiri katilnya. “Siapa? Mamat tu? Roy?” Zamarul melangkah masuk ke dalam bilik Adha. “Ya lah. Siapa lagi. Aku nak lupakan semua ni. Dah tak sanggup…” Adha sempat mengeluh. “Baru tadi dia call aku. Dia cari kau…” Zamarul mengeluarkan sebatang rokok. Adha membisu. Jeda. Kepulan asap merayap di udara sebelum ia lenyap perlahan-lahan. “Hello! Along! Mak pengsan tadi! Kena serangan jantung! Sekarang kat hospital! Doktor kata mak kena buat pembedahan.


Matanya kini memanah tepat pada satu gumpalan awan kelabu yang berarak manja di luar jendela. Gelap


SHORT STORY AKMAL FIRUL Kalau tak…” Tubuh yang dari tadi terbaring kini berdiri. Adha berjalan mundar-mandir di ruangan biliknya yang bersepah. “Habis tu macamana sekarang ni? Siapa jaga mak? Adik?” Punggungnya dilabuhkan di atas katil. “Adik tak tahu nak minta tolong siapa lagi. Kos pembedahan mak tinggi, Along…” Kulit kepala Adha tiba-tiba gatal. Jari-jemarinya ganas menggaru di celahcelah rambut hitamnya. Peluh-peluh kerisauan mulai meratai ruang kulit dahinya setelah mendengar berita itu. “Ya Tuhan. Kau kuatkanlah semangat aku untuk kembali ke jalanMu.” Adha mengelap cecair jernih yang mengalir di pipinya. Dilipatnya sejadah dengan rapi lalu diletakkan di atas katil. Satu jeritan dari telefon bimbitnya menarik pandangan Adha. “Kau nak apa lagi dari aku?” Hatinya berbisik ganas! “Angkat je lah call tu!” Zamarul sedikit menjerit. Tubuhnya dari tadi berada di muka pintu bilik memerhati Adha. “Hello?” Lembut sahaja suaranya dilepaskan. “You… You sihat?” Jeda. Cengkaman songkok di kepala Adha dilepaskan perlahan-lahan. “Sihat. Ada apa call?” Adha melabuhkan punggungnya di atas katil. Ada satu tubuh memerhatikannya di celah pintu. “Rindu… Kenapa you hilang macam tu je?” Adha mendongakkan kepalanya sebelum membiarkan tubuhnya ditelan tilam yang empuk. “Roy. Dah lah… Kita tak boleh ada apa-apa hubungan lagi… Dosa!” Jeda. Mata Adha tertumpu pada kipas yang berputar laju. “I dapat tahu dari Zamarul… You perlukan duit… Mak sakit kan? You cakap je berapa you nak, I bagi… I sanggup bagi berapa pun!” Jeda. Adha membiarkan air liur membasahi ruang tekaknya yang tiba-tiba kering. Tuttt… Tuttt… Tuttt… “Kau pasti apa yang kau buat ni, Adha?” Zamarul menyalakan sebatang rokok yang terselit rapi di bibirnya. “Aku pasti. Sekali aku pergi, aku takkan patah balik. Aku nak tinggalkan semuanya. Aku nak lupakan semuanya. Aku minta maaf, Zam. Harap persahabatan kita tak terhenti di sini.” Adha memasukkan beg terakhirnya di dalam bonet kereta. “Kirim salam aku pada mak kau.” Zamarul membiarkan asap putih merayap keluar dari rongga mulutnya. “Kirim salam kemaafan aku pada Roy juga.” Adha menutup bonet keretanya. Zamarul mengangguk tanda memahami kata-kata Adha. Jeritan telefon bimbit Adha minta dijawab segera. “Hello, adik. Abang baru nak bertolak balik ni… Apa? Mak! Innlilahiwainnailaihirajiun…” Air mata Adha mengalir lagi.

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“Ya Tuhan. Kau kuatkanlah semangat aku untuk kembali ke jalanMu.” IMAGE: TOM ELLEFSEN / FLICKR!


POETRY WANEE HASSAN

Keajaiban Doa TEXT: WANEE HASSAN IMAGE: ALI MIR / FLICKR!

Doa adalah bumbung paling keras, Melawan petir berdentum ngeri, Melindungi malam hari menjaga rapi, Maka aku menjadi kecil dengan menadah tangan, Menyedari akan hinanya sekeping hati.  Doa adalah payung paling teduh, Menampung panas menghalau basah, Peneman pada jauh dan dekat setiap langkah, Maka aku ini cuma bisa berasa tenang, Bersujud kembali pada pencipta diri.   Doa adalah kaca mata paling tebal, Menangkis silau kerlipan cahaya, Meredup pandang sinar bianglala, Dan jika pun aku ditumpaskan berkali-kali, Aku berpegang teguh pada doa, Senjata abadi.

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INNER VIEW TK CHENG

Getting in Line In 2014, TK Cheng was involved in 14 different productions. CQ sat down with him to # find out why, and discovered he doesn’t like labels. IMAGE: TK CHENG!

Hi TK! Describe yourself in two sentences. TK is just a 30-something guy who is new to the film industry. He is still working hard to contribute something to humanity via films. Wow. That’s a big target. Why filmmaking, though? From comic drawing, through animation and to films, it’s all about storytelling, and I am always looking to different media to present my story. Before I found film, which I regard as the seventh arts (with the combination of performing, visual and auditory arts), there is no other art form that can present such a perfect ‘story’.   Is there a specific film or director that caught your interest in this way? To be honest, I didn’t really pay any specific attention to the directors, but when I started getting deeper into the industry I began to study them a bit more. This would depend on the kind of the film I’m trying to make. Recently, I am collecting the works of a number of directors, such as Daihachi Yoshida, Andrei Tarkovsky, Lav Diaz and more.   How did you start your filmmaking career, then? In my case, it’s all a matter of coincidence. I wanted to give myself a new life after quitting my permanent role as a 3D animator. I became a freelancer for a year. I felt that the life I had was quite uncomfortable, because I didn’t really enjoy what I was doing at that time. I realised that animation is just one type of storytelling. To go further, I should go for the fundamental, film. Thus, I strongly considered getting involved in live-action 14 | CQ MAGAZINE | #3

films, dealing with human beings; previously, I dealt more with the computer! At that time, there was a Chinese production house hiring production assistants. I applied for it and was accepted. How did your animation background help with the making of live-action films? I believe it does help a lot. My theory for animation is like it is the son for the film. Everything of it is still based on film works and theory. In my case, I feel that the most useful skills I learnt that can be used in live-action films are the conceptual arts knowledge. Actually, I tried a little bit of this for my short film, Hikikomori, with help from my production designer.   Before we get to Hikikomori, talk to us about your filmmaking debut, Share. It was done around the time I first stepped into film industry, and the starting point was a local short film competition. Of course, I think we should make film for film itself and not for competition, but I wanted to test my skill level and try to see practically how a film was done. Since I was new to this industry, I wished to create something as my first work. Every year, I would then make another short film, so I can compare the levels of my improvement and progress.   Share with us the most challenging part about making Share. Everything has to be done by yourself, without proper knowledge and professional support. That was hard. How did it come about? I just came up with the idea during a

yamcha session with my friend. At that time, everyone around us kept looking down at their smartphones. I didn’t have one at that time, so I wondered what will happen if a romantic couple is like that. How will the other person respond? That was how the idea came out. Nowadays, I too have a smartphone, so I became one of them. It was screened at Filemmakers Anonymous 18, an experience which you described as “nervous” and, intriguingly, “just a short 5 minutes but my heart became empty suddenly. Am I too happy?” What did you mean by this? I think it was probably because my short film was too simple and straight to the point. I realised that this might be the reason after I attended the 27th Tokyo International Film Festival. It seems like I always have such feelings after a film I was involved with is finished. I will feel empty and lonely. This will remind me I should move on, because the films I have done are now in the past and a part of my life. I need to create something more and better.   You worked a closer friend of ours, Irwan Azani, who shot that film for you. This would also continue for your second directorial effort, the aforementioned Hikikomori. What is your relationship with him like? He is just like my mentor, my saviour! He is a nice guy who is willing to be my director of photography when I was Mr Nobody for my first short film. At that time it was very hard for my to get advice or support from experienced filmmakers, but he is the one volunteer who helped me on cinematography. He allowed me to try whatever I wanted to. Until now he is still


It seems like I always have such feelings after a film I was involved with is finished. I will feel empty and lonely


IMAGE: KONG PAHURAK!

INNER VIEW TK CHENG

willing to support me as a long-time collaborator. He’s the director, actually! Much like Share, Hikikomori touched on the subject matter of human relations. In this case, it dealt with the extreme situation of a young man who only comes out from his room for meals. How much of this is reflected in society, do you think? I don’t have a wide version about the social issue, but I always think everything starts with one person’s life, and the closest to it are family members. However, most of the time we’ll create a border with them when we grow up gradually. Additionally, we choose not to voice out when we feel something is wrong. We are afraid of hurting someone’s feelings, and we don’t dare face the consequences. In the end, we’ll find out isolation and living by ourselves is the best way.   One more thing. I believe most of the director’s first work is usually based on their own true story.   Can we say that Hikikomori is based on your own true story, then?# Yeah, I guess it is considered a part of my own experience. # Beyond your directorial efforts, you actually managed to rack up a long CV as a production person. It’s just because I started work as a project coordinator. This post is quite unique, it’s something similar to a project manager,

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casting manager and location manager, all at the same time! Most of the time I gained more experience on producing and in the production line, so I guess that’s why after that people can believe in me and are willing to pass to me related tasks. At the same time I won’t reject this post, because I always think the filmmaker is not solely responsible for directing, but also for assuming the role of a manager who links up the otherwise discrete steps in the creation of a finished product. In particular, you have worked extensively with Edmund Yeo and Woo Ming Jin on their films, River of Exploding Durians and Second Lives of Thieves. What was that experience like? At first, those are big and different experiences for me, from the preproduction and production stage, from the director’s mindset towards film perception, and how they’re judged and made a film that really more on art value rather than profit.   There seldom is any support for local independent films, and we only able to process these films with some grants from different film festivals on limited budgets. Thus, I needed to multitask more. At the same time, it was exhilarating because it allowed me the opportunity to learn and master different knowledge and experiences in a short time.# Both films successfully brought me into two Asian international film festivals.

Second Life of Thieves had its world premiere at Busan International Film Festival 2014, while River of Exploding Durians became the first Malaysian film in history to compete in the Main Competition of the Tokyo International Film Festival. I came back realising I have experienced a world I have never seen before. A world full of possibilities and knowledge. Without them, I wouldn’t be continuing in this industry. Let’s look at River as a brief example. I am aware that it had a last-minute change of location. What was that like for you and how did you solve that issue? That was just about teamwork and the relationship between the members. This kind of situation always happen within the production period. I believe most experienced filmmakers can handle it well. For my case, I was able to get a lot of suggestions and help from people who always supported local independent filmmaking. Also, my team was willing to work until the very last minute and into overtime to get it right.   You were also involved in the film Glorifying Love and Super Stone, both directed by Lai Kim Koon. They were far more commercial efforts, mainstream films released in the cinemas. What were the biggest differences you noted between working on those films and the more independent ones? Actually, I don’t really know whether I


IMAGE: TK CHENG!

INNER VIEW TK CHENG

I enjoy working in small and short projects, but it doesn’t mean I’m an independent all the way

should make differences between ‘commercial’ and ‘independent’ films. I remember when I watched Chungking Express by Wong Kar-wai at the age of 13, I called it an independent film. I watched it again two years ago, but I don’t think in the same way. However, for both categories of film mentioned above, I would say they’re totally different in every aspect. I won’t talk about the storyline since that is a personal perception. The budget and the crew, though, are bigger for the mainstream production. However, the personal spirit and flexibility of working style are always better for the independent production. At the end of the day, everyone is working hard to create a good film.

In fact, 2014 was a very busy year for you: in addition to those four feature films, I count one telemovie, a couple of mini drama series, and eight short films! What drove you to be involved with such a high number of films? I just wanted to gain more experience from being involved in different kinds of projects. It all started with just one simple purpose: I want to apply for scholarship.   Before I got into this industry, I planned to continue my further studies on filmmaking. But I don’t have much financial support, so I hoped to use my filmmaking-related experiences as ‘credits’ to ‘exchange’ for scholarship. After I became involved, though, my mindset changed. I believe what I do is not only for myself. As long as the project’s content is good, I’m happy to be a part of the team that helped to complete it.   Can you recount for us the worst filmmaking experience you had? I can’t, because there were too many! However, those experiences are for me. I grow up by stepping on them under my feet. For me, the worst experience doesn’t seem as bad as what others may think. It helps me to notice it, to learn and not do it again. We can’t avoid it; just like Murphy’s Law, anything that can go wrong will go wrong, and we should learn to face it. That’s why I can’t really remember my worst filmmaking experience.   Generally speaking, a lot of your filmmaking experiences have been on the fringes, being more involved with smaller or independent films, which are largely Chinese in nature. In your opinion, how possible is it for Malay and Malaysian-Chinese films to ‘merge’ together and be regarded simply as a Malaysian film? Or are we bound to have separate films paths for a long time? I am wondering now: have I been labeled as an ‘independent filmmaker’ all this time? I feel I enjoy working in small and short but more focused and good quality projects, but it doesn’t mean that I’m an independent filmmaker all the way! I wish I can produce some works that can implant artistic appreciation into mainstream films but are still acceptable for the audiences, so that one day the ‘independent’ and ‘mainstream’ labels are vaporised in their mindset.   OK, fair enough. We can remove the label, but the issue persists in reality, so I’m keen to get your opinion on that. About the film language issue, I believe it is more on cultural difference. We grow up in

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INNER VIEW TK CHENG

IMAGE: TK CHENG!

the unilateral way, around a group of the same race. What we learnt and gained are totally one-sided, so we can’t really produce something more merged and mixed with other cultures. # This is a question I discussed with Irwan. We do hope we can work out something like that ‘merge film’ Malaysian film in the future. I know that right at the very start of your career, you wondered whether making films was something that was right for you. Now that you’ve garnered some experience in industry, what is your feeling and opinion? It has been nearly three years I’ve been in this industry, and I did not notice it at all.

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Now I believe what I chose was right for me. Or rather, I believe it chose me. There are certain reasons I can’t explain, but it makes me feel like I won’t give up on this no matter what happens. Many people can’t stand this industry, for the issues in reality we have to face everyday. Filmmaking won’t be able to give us a stable and promising lifestyle, but we do have to face it, and it depends how long we can tolerate it. For me, it has become my favorite part of my life. What kind of advice would you give to those who are keen to get into filmmaking? Don’t just keep thinking and talking about your dream, or that you want to make great films. Start making your first film, and you’ll

find out everything you want. There are no specific tutorials or shortcuts to it. Final question: the couple from Share popped up at the start of Hikikomori. Will we continue to see them in all your films?" This kind of gimmick usually only happen to movie stars. If people like them, and the story is related, there is no harm for them to reappear!


POETRY DEA ISHAK

Oh dear, oh dear,# What have we here?# A fallen heart# A longing soul# A soft touch# More priceless than gold# Oh dear, oh dear,# What will we do when we grow old?# My dear, listen here,# Let’s cross the ocean with me# Let’s make and write our own history# Let’s shoot a movie and put it out for the world to see# Oh dear, oh dear,# You worry too much, my dear# We’ll be alright, we’ll be just fine# I’ll be right here when you are blue# I’ll always be right next to you.

For The Things We Plan To Do TEXT: DEA ISHAK IMAGE: QUINN DOMBROWSKI / FLICKR!

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REVIEW ANI AZIZ ZAKARIA

Dilarang Masuk ke Tanah Merdekah Ani Aziz Zakaria mengupas kembali filem pendek Merdekah, dan erti tersirat yang bakal dikaitkan dengan Malaysia. IMAGE: ANI AZIZ ZAKARIA!

Filem pendek ini mengingatkan saya pada sebuah filem yang telah dianggap ‘cult’ oleh peminat filem tegar, pelajar filem dan pengkaji filem, iaitu Citizen Kane arahan Orson Welles. Persamaan bukan pada jalan ceritanya, kerana Merdekah tidak kehilangan sesuatu dalam dirinya. Ia tidak mahu kembali ke masa lalu, tetapi Merdekah merupakan paradok kepada Citizen Kane: ia mahu mencari pengertian masa kini, hakikat kemerdekaan, dan batas-batas dalam kebebasan. Apa yang membuatkan ia sama hanyalah pada papan tanda ‘Dilarang Masuk’ yang menjadi metafora yang terdapat di dalam Citizen Kane dan filem pendek Merdekah ini. Merdekah adalah filem pendek keluaran produksi Samjal yang boleh dicapai di laman Youtube. Ianya sebuah filem arahan dari pelajar Fakulti Filem, Teater dan Animasi, Amir Sazali, dan dilakonkan oleh Iqbal Arif sebagai Radhi dan Razif sebagai Daris. Yang sebenarnya mereka berdua adalah dua karakter berlawanan yang berkongsi di dalam sebuah badan seorang karyawan. Mereka berdua menyertai sebuah pertandingan gambar yang bertemakan kemerdekaan. Pertandingan foto ini membuatkan definisi kemerdekaan itu menjadi subjek pertikaian mereka. Karakter mereka adalah simbol/ lambang pertentangan situasi politik globalisasi, antara dua praksi terbesar sosialis-komunis dan praksi kapitalis yang tidak selesai berpuluh-puluh tahun. Krisis idealogi ini yang juga mengheret Malaysia sebagai mangsa pertentangan ideologi di dalam Perang Dunia Kedua. Perang tersebut dimenangi oleh paksi kapitalis, yang juga setelah peperangan tersebut, 20 | CQ MAGAZINE | #3

Malaysia memperoleh kemerdekaan. Penampilan Radhi yang mengukuhkan kenyataan saya, ia mahu merakamkan sebuah imej yang berbeza pada kemerdekaan, dengan memilih lokasi di sebuah hutan yang juga sebuah kawasan bertuan dan dilarang masuk, serta menolak mentah-mentah cadangan Daris yang mengesyorkan mengambil imej kotaraya yang moden, untuk dikaitkan dengan kemerdekaan (kemodenan adalah simbol kapitalis). “Tanah semua ni milik kita, kita adalah pemilik tanah ni.” Dialog yang diluahkan oleh Radhi ini membenarkan interpretasi saya. Radhi adalah pemuda yang mahu mencabar hak pemilikan individu, baginya sesebuah negara itu belum merdeka jika masih ada kekangan-kekangan untuk mereka bergerak. Radhi mengambarkan bayangan imej yang mahu dirakamkanya, seekor burung gagak yang bertenggek pada tiang bendera. Burung gagak adalah simbol negatif; saya tidak tahu apa pengertian sebenar mengenainya, saya sering menterjemahkan burung gagak dengan kematian. Mungkin secara bawah sedar, pengarah mahu menyampaikan tentang kemerdekaan yang telah mati. Sepatutnya saya tidak perlu mengandaikan lagi, kerana beberapa simbol sudah menegaskan ia mahu memberitahu kita tentang kemerdekaan yang sudah mati atau, jika tidak, mungkin dalam keadaan tenat. Ini memang sebuah kerja yang luar biasa, sejarah dan ideologi yang besar dan panjang telah dirumuskan di dalam sebuah filem pendek yang berdurasi selama 8 minit. Merdekah juga adalah akronim daripada


REVIEW ANI AZIZ ZAKARIA

“Tanah semua ni milik kita, kita adalah pemilik tanah ni.”

dua ayat, ini hanyalah andaian saya sendiri. ‘Merdeka’ yang dicantumkan dengan ‘dekah’, iaitu ketawa yang berdekah-dekah, ketawa yang tidak disekat-sekat, barangkali ia seperti seorang lelaki yang sedang mengetawakan sesuatu yang tidak masuk akal, sambil menepuk-nepuk meja, dan sesekali mengesat air matanya. Itu gambaran liar saya yang saya terjemahkan sebagai hamburan ketawa kepada kemerdekaan. Merdekah adalah sebuah satira politik yang patriotik. Mungkin ia tidak sepatriotik Leftenan Adnan, tetapi dari sisi lain ia lebih baik dari iklan-iklan kemerdekaan atau lagu patriotik yang dinyanyikan oleh himpunan artis terkenal, yang muncul hanya ketika pesta kemerdekaan. Paling tidak pun, ia tidak menipu kita semua, mengenai hakikat realiti dan sosial, ia berkata apa yang patut diperkatakannya. Kalau merdeka itu tidak bebas, kalau merdeka itu masih mengawal pergerakannya, untuk apa sebenarnya kemerdekaan? Itu adalah pertanyaan dasar yang dibangkitkan di dalam filem pendek ini, tetapi suara ini sering dipinggirkan kerana mahu memenangkan kepentingan beberapa puak minoriti, dan pengarah menyampaikannya dalam bentuk yang tragedi; Radhi ditembak sehingga mati oleh pemilik tanah yang muncul dari sebalik pokok, dan tidak menampakkan wajahnya (seperti puak-puak yang minoriti yang mempunyai kepentingan, tetapi tiada siapa yang menyedarinya), yang melihat kemodenan itu adalah kemerdekaan. Babak akhir membongkar bahawa Radhi dan dan Daris adalah orang yang sama, masih berdiri dan tersenyum sinis, ini mungkin mengitar semula idea dari filem Fight Club, tetapi siapa kisah mengenainya, kerana ‘Merdekah’ telah pun berdiri mengenai idea dan perjuangannya, dan ia tak peduli pun kalau ia akan mati dibunuh. Seperti petikan kata-kata pada penamat filem pendek ini yang dipinjam dari Pramoedya, novelis besar Indonesia: “Bunuhlah aku jika tak dibutuhkan lagi kehidupan.”

IMAGE: TOM ELLEFSEN / FLICKR!

IMAGE: TANAKAWHO / FLICKR!

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EXPERIMENTAL AARON SEE AND ADAM RADHI AGAKI

Mullam oose T o w n

TEXT: AARON SEE AND ADAM RADHI AGAKI! IMAGE: JOHN WARD / FLICKR!

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This is a story, but it spirals onto itself. The candy cane seller fashioned his stall after the salad shop because he wanted to impress her. All the grand and impressive marble sculptures, and monumental granite columns were recreated to the finest detail. A statue of a woman stood solitarily betwixt the columns. She was naked, draped in sackcloth, and we called her Martha. Her solemn stare would sanctify the commercial street; her humble stare arrested the guilty thoughts of the money-minded men. No one knew where Martha came from, or who her sculptor was, but all the newspaper boys and the milk-selling girls knew Martha was a fan of Mozart. Mozart, the chorded-melodiclyricist and front-running rebel aristocrat of this very town, three centuries ago. Or was it yesterday, no one really knew when is when… for time is fiction, it does not exist; not here, not in Mullamoose Town. We’ve been here and there, some say everywhere; we’ve been breathed in fire at the depths of the ocean, and we’ve sung ancient songs in the vacuum of space. Our town time is all out of order, while our space is embraced as an inter-galactic donut. They say we were there when it all began, they say we will be there when it all ends, they say the blood of the first men ran in our veins, but slap the reins, bring in the soggy corsets, lets tie these inhibitors and incarcerate them on benedict mattresses. For in Mullamoose, the undutiful and excessive lust-machines are put to rest, in hallways of milky mattresses and ironic distress: so then, the vortex of our mystery is crystalised in the simplified

and axiomatic truth of our humble limits we Mullamoosees give symbolic form to the intangible quintessence of blindness. It’s all a ruse, this fuse, on an overused wick balancing on an underused monolith, a corinthian in the name of placebo-driven addicts who question and question endlessly, tirelessly; sheepishly they return tails between their legs begging for enlightenment. Their minds all imprisoned in 24, the pulse of centuries coming and going is all an ineffable dream, their courage, only surpassed by their cowardice, lands them in the blind blame of yesterday’s open game. If you have not seen our festivals I urge you to come… they are splendid, its grandiosity will lift you over the gates of cosmopolitan pediatricians. It is best to invest some zest in my jest, it’s no test, but come to this fest. Filled with gleaming charlatans and joking jesters that pass on no chance to give grief and guilt to the hounds of hell that swallow the sanity and serenity and sincerity of your soul; all the odds and misfits congregate. A suffrage of malleable glass urchins hovering around cruelly in this Origami circus we label as technology, in the name of modernity, fraternity, an unwholesome crave for serenity, an identity concealed in indemnity, stroke the earlobes of your neighbor and be free. Along those lines is the crux of our crisis, we live to revolve in our daily holes of toll paying, where the exploited anointed breach the reaches of our starless eyes and shatter the only safeguarding disguise of marshmallow lies and silky strife. In the summertime a secret is revealed to our iris,


EXPERIMENTAL AARON SEE AND ADAM RADHI AGAKI

A suffrage of malleable glass urchins hovering around cruelly in this Origami circus we label as technology

IMAGE: ROD RAMSEY/ FLICKR!

sometimes its spinach, oftentimes its haggis, but we gather these clues, we all play a role, and bring them forth to the man who lives in the house - the decoder of ciphers, a trusted man with 16 tongues. Paperclips, dancing blades, goggles, wooden arrows and jelly beans have all captured and arrested our intentions at some point in our neglect of the trusted decoder. At this very point in all our lives we’ve had the same dream, that we were a grain in an ocean of ashes, we were but one in many, and out of us rose a phoenix with a salamander clasped mercilessly in its beak. The same dream of drowning in the pretentious ashes of a salamandervictimising Phoenix, that dream is a universal threat that screams and hides in the dynamic electricity that shifts face and form from within and without the mechanics of the macrocosm. Fill the master barrister’s canister with lumber dust, lapse to slumber, eradicate the sins of tomorrow and cloak yourselves with beluga oil and feel the profundity of salvation basking in a kaleidoscope of acidic tension. The weight of creativity is carried to catatonic combustion, the destructive unification and ethereal distilling of volatile reservoirs drowns the flag bearers of Mullamoose crime. #3 | CQ MAGAZINE | 23


The big city has been depicted in films as a place of alienation and loss of identity


REVIEW HASSAN MUTHALIB

Finding Enlightenment in the City Amidst the grey clouds, Hassan Muthalib finds the silver lining in Kolumpo. IMAGE: ROSS POLLACK / FLICKR!

After so many turkeys and dodos over the past few months in Malaysian cinema, what a breath of fresh air with the appearance of Kolumpo! The dodo is long gone but you can still spot some turkeys in the National Zoo. One of them shares the parameters of the Zoo’s premises but that’s another story - and it certainly merits far less consideration than Kolumpo. Kolumpo is a film made up of three multilingual short stories individually directed by Bront Palarae, Sheikh Munasar and Rozi Izma. James Wong was the associate producer under the production company, Otto Films. Set in the city of Kuala Lumpur, the film weaves together well-known themes of life, hopes, dreams as well as the quirks of Malaysians of various races. And how could you go wrong with a cast that includes some great actors like Sharifah Amani, Azad Jazmin, Ruminah Sidek, Nell Ng, Mano Maniam, Soffi Jikan, Sabri Yunus, Sherry Alhadad, Along Eyzandy, Radhi Khalid and Emely Poon, Ameerul Effendi and Rosnah Mat Aris. In the first story, Rahul, an Indian immigrant, arrives in town to discover that the company that offered him a job has gone out of business. He is helped by a local restaurant owner and so begins his life in the city as an illegal immigrant worker but then he has to face up to his inevitable fate. Meanwhile, in Setapak, Gienna is a Chinese woman in her thirties who is constantly avoiding phone calls from her mother. She finds herself helping an old senile Malay lady who cannot remember where her house is. The incident brings her

to a realisation and reconciliation with her own mother. The third story is set in Ampang. Young Hafiz meets a pretty stranger at the KLCC LRT station after they both miss the last train. For someone who has never dated anyone in his life, this is a life-defining moment, and his only hope of a glimpse of love. At the end, he realises that Cupid uses more than arrows in the performance of his task. The three stories are a collage of the human connections that bring happiness (or misery) in the big, impersonal city. Themes such as these have already been articulated in diverse ways in films such as Bukak Api (Osman Ali), Sanctuary (Ho Yuhang), Room to Let (James Lee), Aandal (Santosh Kesavan), Budak Kelantan (Wan Azli Wan Jusoh), Haru Biru (Shadan Hashim), Anak Halal (Osman Ali), Vilayattu Pasange (Vimala Perumal), …Dalam Botol (Khir Rahman), Balada Pencinta (Khir Rahman), Jalan Pintas (Nam Ron) and Rock Oo! (Mamat Khalid). While these films have been more or less pessimistic about life in postmodern Malaysia, Kolumpo offers an alternative, non-judgmental – and, surprisingly - humorous view of the problems faced by young people and their nemeses, both real and imagined. Much more interesting than the plots, I think, are the characters that have been conjured up to deliver what the filmmakers themselves feel, about their own lives and experiences in trying to make it in Kuala Lumpur over the years. The big city has mostly been depicted in films as a place of alienation, disempowerment and loss of identity. However, while hermits climb high

mountains and go into deep caves to achieve spiritual realisation, the filmmakers of Kolumpo are instead indicating that the big city could also be a place where one can find enlightenment through their experiences, both good and bad. F. Scott Fitzgerald once remarked: “Before you sit down to write, stand up and live.” The filmmakers, perhaps, regard it as a duty to impart their own experiences (having ‘lived’ thus far), as a guide to others who come to the city with stars in their eyes but then are faced with despair and disenchantment. The three stories in Kolumpo depict the city as a testing ground where one needs to hone oneself, discover that life is but a journey, and that the journey itself is one that can bring enlightenment to those who are able to realise it. For example, the first story is not really about illegal immigrants but more about the Malaysians (the syndicate boss and the pirate taxi operator) who take advantage of, and are ruthless to the immigrants while pretending to be civil and helpful. Neither is Gienna’s story about a woman who helps an old lady who is lost but of finding her own self and of her estranged relationship with her mother. The final story is not really about a boy in search of love but that God does work in mysterious ways. Looking at the subjects and styles of the film, it is easy to say that it echoes the late Yasmin Ahmad’s approaches. But I think the filmmakers of Kolumpo have actually gone beyond that. As Shuhaimi Baba has articulated in her seminal film, Layar Lara, the ghosts of yesteryear have been laid to rest (but not yet, it seems, in many other, #3 | CQ MAGAZINE | 25


REVIEW HASSAN MUTHALIB dowdy mainstream films!). Charin Pengpanich’s excellent cinematography (as in Dain Said’s Bunohan), effortlessly brings the characters and their stories to the fore. While the films of Yusof Haslam and Syamsul Yusof have grandly treated the Petronas Twin Towers as picture postcards, Pengpanich discreetly puts them into the background. The towers appear in every one of the three stories but function as motifs that quietly question the role of physical development at the expense of human development (as was also done in Room to Let). The ubiquitous sloganeering posters of the political masters is another in question (as has also been grittily done in Jalan Pintas). A pity that the Censorship Board is now also into censoring posters in film; they asked for it to be nixed out!  The late Datuk Syed Alwi, playwright extraordinaire, once said that artistes like him did not hanker for accolades. All they want is the opportunity to continue to express themselves creatively. Kolumpo’s filmmakers (graduates of the now defunct Akademi Filem Malaysia, the first film school in Malaysia), have quietly gone about their business by first paying their dues in the industry in various capacities. Kolumpo proves that they are now a force to be reckoned with, but they need all the opportunities they can get. Let us see if they will be allowed to by the powers-thatbe.  Kolumpo entertains, it has something to say about the human condition, and it depicts the culture and lifestyles (both positive and negative), of the peoples that inhabit Malaysia. These are the criteria of a good film. Kolumpo may be the best mainstream Malaysian film with an alternative touch to hit the cinemas this year.

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F. Scott Fitzgerald once remarked: “Before you sit down to write, stand up and live.” IMAGE: HAIFEEZ / FLICKR!


Sepi

POETRY AZIRA RAZAK

TEXT: AZIRA RAZAK 
 IMAGE: MIGUEL ALMEIDA / FLICKR!

Titis-titis hujan# Membawa rasa sayu ke jiwa.# Terserap ke dasar hati# Dan mengalir keluar ke pipi. Cinta yang hadir# Telah dipaksa pergi# Dan sepi hadir untuk menemani. Keluhan demi keluhan.# Sukarnya untuk lari dari sepi. Tidak di tempat hingar manusia# Tidak di tempat bingit kenderaan# Tidak juga pada hempasan ombak di pantai# Apatah lagi di hutan sunyi atau perpustakaan senyap. Mungkin sepi akan pergi# Bila cinta datang kembali

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FEATURE ADI ISKANDAR

Festival City For many filmmakers the fun begins with a festival screening. Adi Iskandar talks to four filmmakers to find out what that’s like IMAGE: DOM BRASSEY DRAWS COMICS / FLICKR!

Making films is not exactly the easiest of endeavours. It may be the fulfilling of childhood dreams for many, but the process of realising it can be as arduous as anything. Looking for ideas, developing and (re)writing them, searching for friends with (film) benefits, finding the money to make it all come to life, the long days on set with malfunctioning mics… it can add the stress up fairly quickly. One thing most filmmakers will agree on, though, is what comes after. After having finished their films, exhibiting it in credible venues becomes a rat race in its own right, but being selected for a film festival brings with it different kinds of joy.   “Being able to attend a screening of my own work was mind-blowing,” said Edmund Yeo, whose feature film debut was selected for competition at the recent Tokyo International Film Festival. Here he refers to his first festival visit as a director, representing his short film Chicken Rice Mystery at the Dubai International Film Festival in 2008. “I was so excited to know that the hard work of my cast and crew was recognised by a film festival so far away.”   Kirsten Tan, a Singaporean filmmaker, feels much of the same. “The first one [festival screening of her own work, 10 Minutes Later] I attended was the Women’s Film Festival in Seoul. It was interesting to gauge the reactions of audiences our of your home country and to see how moments in a film are received differently by foreign audiences.”   Such screenings and discussions can be exhilarating, to the point where once is 28 | CQ MAGAZINE | #3

never really going to be enough. “It was fantastic going back with a film in competition,” said Bradley Liew, a Malaysian filmmaker currently based in the Philippines. Having previously attended the Busan International Film Festival representing the directorial works of others, last year his short film Xing was screened in competition. “You really feel your growth as a filmmaker, and in a way it is also nice to know your work is appreciated internationally.” Many film festivals utilise volunteers to bring the show into town, and Sebastian Ng was one of them back in his student days. “I signed up as a volunteer and mostly worked as an usher,” he recalled of his experiences in the 2007 Los Angeles International Film Festival. “It allowed me to earn free tickets to go catch some of the films. It didn’t feel any different from going to the cinema in general, except that I was watching films that weren’t widely available yet.”   That exclusivity is a point Kirsten agrees with. “If you're a film geek, it would obviously be exciting to see the premiere of new auteur works.” Bradley goes one step further, suggesting that these films are the potential building blocks of your own works. “I put heavy emphasis on being able to watch the feature films in competition,” he said. “Those are priceless opportunities to be among the first people to watch films that are challenging ideals and pushing the boundaries of cinema.” That’s not to say, though, that all the films available are good. If anything, you’re just as likely to end up with an unattractive affair. “Films that turn up at film fests are

often untested, and all you get to go by are the synopsis and cast and crew lists,” Sebastian continued. It’s worth it for him, though; he saw Whiplash prior to its general release, and the payoff is just that bit bigger: “When you find a good one you're all the more surprised and happier for watching it. You get a stronger sense of epiphany.” Beyond that, experiencing the viewing culture of another country is also noteworthy. This writer had the pleasure of watching the Palme d’Or film The Class, a French film screened outdoors at Busan International Film Festival in 2008. More to the point, he was surrounded by many people he had not figured to be fans of European cinema: old age pensioners, for whom such fares fuels a good night out with friends. Kirsten had a similar experience in at the Berlin International Film Festival in 2014. “Due to the popularity of the festival films, they only allow tickets to be purchased in person,” she said. “Berliners actually wake up at 7am to start queuing for film tickets and often by 9am, screenings are sold out. I was blown away by the reaction that the general public has for cinema in Berlin.”   In the midst of all the fun, work is still work. Kirsten was in Berlin to workshop her script, Popeye, selected for the screenwriting lab Script Station. “Due to the clout of the Berlinale, they were able to bring in some of the world’s best script doctors and it was a humbling experience to say the least to have your script read by one of the advisors there.” Beyond being selected for the workshops,


“People wake up at 7am to queue for tickets; by 9am, screenings are sold out.”


FEATURE ADI ISKANDAR

IMAGE: CALI4BEACH / FLICKR!

the chance to network, even informally, is something that is too good to pass up for many. After all, knowing how to game the system is a part of making it. “If you really want to make it internationally, you need to meet and know the right people,” said Bradley, “watch international quality films and understand how the whole system works.” All that networking might be good for your career, but just like anything else, too much of something can be just as bad. “I think festival fatigue can be quite real, especially when you’re attending a festival for its full duration,” said Kirsten, whose works have been screened in over 15 countries including the United States, Germany, Russia, Austria and Argentina. “You’re constantly meeting new people, watching films and going for parties.”   Bradley agrees with this point. “You need to have the stamina and perseverance to be able to attend three or four networking parties a night over the span of maybe ten days.” Putting forward the best of yourself is therefore key. “You never know what programmer, buyer, or distributor you might be able to meet.”   Cost is also another issue. For the filmmakers, some of whom are

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independent for a lack of choice, it can mean the difference between being present and absent. “My first film screened in an international festival was Sunrise,” said Bradley, of a festival in Sweden. Most filmmakers would be keen to attend that first international screening, but as the organisers did not cover the flight, he had to give it a pass. The situation is trickier for those merely attending as a film fan, as the financial side of things is a key factor for many. “One of the main reasons I attend Busan so often is that it is just about the cheapest film fest one could attend,” said Sebastian, who generally spends around RM2,000 for the ten-day trip. “I'd love to attend Toronto, for example, but the cost of flying there, accommodation, and the film fest pass would eat up a huge sum.”   Of course, what’s films and filmmaking without the glitz and the glamour? Star gazing is very much an activity for many attendees, and for filmmakers, walking down the red carpet can be a surreal experience. “Everyone looks like they came out of an Armani ad,” said Bradley of the Cannes Film Festival in 2013. “Everyone’s selling something and trying to be seen. It was pretty cool at first but towards the end it felt like a big seduction

game.” Sebastian was certainly seduced to a certain extent. “The Bourne series was my favourite action film series so I was especially thrilled to have the chance to tell [its producer] Frank Marshall how much I enjoyed the films.” He also counts meeting other directors such as Wayne Wang and Kevin Macdonald as highlights, but a particular standout was a brief encounter with Danny Boyle, whose Sunshine featured Malaysian Michelle Yeoh. “I chatted with him about her, and he also briefly mentioned his next project, an oddly-titled film that was to be set in India.” Ultimately, though a film festival can be fun and games, you’re not doing anything if you’re not advancing yourself. For Edmund, that’s the endgame. “I wanted to know what were the very best films in world cinema at that particular time. I wanted to learn from the best.” More to the point, the meeting of others as a part of the festival experience can help to strengthen the resolve and motivate the self. “We would realise that as different as we are from each other, we are similar too. It is a beautiful feeling.”


POETRY OH SEHUN

Bila Mana Kau Hendak Putus Asa TEXT: OH SEHUN IMAGE: JASON SAMFIELD / FLICKR!

Bila mana kau hendak berputus asa Tapi sebenarnya kau tidak mula apa-apa Bila mana kau sentiasa memberi masa untuk manusia mencurahkan rasa hati Tapi sebenarnya tidak pernah kau ambil peduli   Bila mana kau sentiasa ingin manusia sekeliling memahami Tapi sebenarnya jika dieksplen A to Z belum tentu kau mengerti   Bila mana kau sentiasa tercabar melihat kejayaan manusia Tapi sebenarnya kau yang tidak mahu belajar   Bila mana kau hanya ingin rasa bahagia Tapi sebenarnya untuk ucap syukur pun lidah kau kelu   Yang kau butuh cuma waktu dan kata pemuji Kerna tidak rugi untuk  kau mengenal sang pencipta Yang Maha   Se-ga-la-ga-la-nya

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It was meant to appeal to young adults, and it did what it had to do


REVIEW STEPHEN ANTONIO

Not Suitable for Adults Stephen Antonio stops and takes a closer look at R.J. Cutler’s If I Stay IMAGE: DOMIRIEL / FLICKR!

Young love has always been an interesting topic to discuss upon, even more so when it is the center of a movie. If I Stay follows a story of cello prodigy Mia Hall (Chloe Morétz), mainly focusing on her love relationship with budding punk rock guitarist/vocalist Adam (Jamie Blackley). The situation in the movie grows dire as Mia, along with her family, got into an accident. This caused the young heroine to fall into a state of coma, with her surprisingly-well-groomed spirit strolling around and eavesdropping on people, recalling memories of her past. Transitioning from flashbacks to the present, we are shown, through Mia's point of view, the memories that build up to the accident. Relationships and character development were shown throughout, particularly of Mia and Adam. Unfortunately, several forced acting bits became a part of the package. Nevertheless, I still found it to be generally amusing.   One relationship I really enjoyed in the movie is actually not those of the main 'lovebirds', but the one between Mia and her grandfather (Stacy Keach). Boy, in such a short screen time, I could really feel the bond between the two. Even without a name for his character, Keach managed to make me really feel his regrets, and how he says his son is a better father than he ever was or will be. I mean, that's quite deep for a kids movie, yet it's really believable and genuine.   That's not the say that the other relationships were that bad. The sibling relationship between Mia and her younger brother was non-existent, but it didn't get

to the extent where it would ruin the movie. I did find the parents-daughter relationship to be quite predictable, but again, it didn't bother me that much. The best friend relationship was quite decent, and I actually liked the love relationship, particularly moments where they didn't talk and just spoke through music (somewhat chewy, I know). Acting-wise, apart from Keach I found Morétz's performance to be spot on. It's nice to see her escape her forgettable roles in unknown movies such Diary of a Wimpy Kid and transition to more mature roles. If I Stay also adds to her versatile resumé, from playing the bad-ass Hit-Girl in KickAss all the way to playing a demented horror victim in Carrie. A young and rising force to be reckoned with in the Hollywood scene, it doesn't hurt either that Morétz is astonishingly beautiful (that has got to be the reason why millions of people worship her as a goddess in Tumblr).   Another thing with this movie that I have only touched on a bit is music. It actually plays a significant part in the plot, and helps add a certain ambience towards the movie. The contrasting genres between classical and punk rock adds more flavor, and the bonfire scene where the two genres blended together was one of my favorites. It brings more life towards the gloomy tone sent out by the plot and perhaps also bring something the PG-13 audience would enjoy.   There were a lot of criticisms regarding this movie, and I will agree and say that this movie does have its fair share of flaws. I felt that many of Mia's relationships weren't given enough screen time for us to

truly get into. The overall feel given by the plot structure also felt funeral-y; in my personal opinion, taking the cliché chronological route would have made the movie just as good, if not even better. Mia's family is also a little too perfect for my liking, and we never even get to see any of Adam's talked-about family members in the movie. However, one needs to remember, this movie was not meant to become an Oscarwinning piece. It was meant to appeal to young adults, and it did what it had to do. I mean, it was adapted by Gayle Forman's young adult novel. Plus, Chloe Morétz is 17! She is at an age where girls amongst the age of 13-18 can relate to her. In the end, it's a great piece for its target audience, but it kinda hurts that it isn't so for others.   Watch this movie if you're a young adult who's looking to dry your eyes out walking out of the cinema (mostly if you're female). Otherwise, it's not painful, but not great either.

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EXPERIMENTAL EZZAH MAHMUD

Hitam TEXT: EZZAH MAHMUD!

Baju hitam pekat itu aku capai dalam almari besi penjara. Bukan penjara biasa, tetapi penjara yang membekung pekung aku selepas aku cuba diri, berdiri dan mendiri. Bersama seluar hitam dan topi gangsa. Mangga yang sudah hampir lima tahun aku guna itu aku masih guna. Karat. Bunyi getar kapal terbang yang terbang rendah membingitkan suasana. Oh! Mungkin hanya memang deriaku yang satu itu seperti mendapat derita yang akhbar dek suruhan dan kataan dan cakapan ini itu. Mata hitamku kecil besar. Menoleh aku ke belakang yang wujud satu tingkap berkaca retak sejuta. Jariku kembali menekan mangga itu atas bawah untuk dikunci dan senafas penat kering ku hela. Baju hitam yang ternyata menjemput selesa dan sejuk beku itu kini menjadi warna pakaian kegemaranku. Langkah persis berkawat tidak kurang lima aku ambil. Menuju tingkap bebas yang sungguh tidak dapat membetahkan pandang mata ini jelas serlah dengan perihal apa yang ada di luar. Mungkinkah kapal terbang? Atau kapal selam? Atau kapal laut? Bawa aku terbang ke syurga yang sudah ada tapi belum mampu aku pergi, kerana aku masih di sini? Bawa aku dalam kelam cairan masin laut biru yang makin gelap setiap inci kebawah? Bawa aku layar dunia yang punyai daratan tapi banyak lebih lautan yang ombaknya persis hembus garuda yang gila. Mungkin cuma imaginasi, yang aku ingin sekali jadi realiti. Mungkin. Parah diluka realiti. Pasti. Jejari mulus yang kedut separa ini dilari perlahan pada garis retak. Mohon untuk diluka. Mohon untuk diguris tajam. Sakit sahaja meresap umbi. Darah tidak terzahir. “Aku mungkin kebal!” jerit batin. “Tapi hanya zahir yang berlakon kuat, dalam lembut lemah bagai ubi yang dihenyak,” bisik batin. 34 | CQ MAGAZINE | #3

Kegemaran ku dulu putih. Betul. Yang suci bersih persih itu. Gigiku pastikan putih. Kasut dan gelang tangan pun sama. Logik akalku yakin penuh. Aku putih dalam luar. Cuba sedaya aku zahirkan untuk jadikan putih itu benar putih. Aku pekakkan telinga sentiasa. Seketika. Sehingga, aku ketemu sama Hitam. Mungkin Hitam tidak berapa kenal akan aku. Jijik rasa mulanya untuk berdamping. Risau aku kelak putihku akan dinoda Hitam. Hitam yang aku ragu-ragu kehitamannya. Aku cuba kecilkan anak mata yang sedia kecil seusai aku lelapkan daya untuk memandang. Sudahlah di luar tingkap, selebar bahu kiri dan kananku temu. Tidak ku hirau, aku mahu tengok dan tatap apa yang ada di luar balik kaca merekah itu. Gelap. Aku cuma nampak hitam. Hitam yang hitam benar. Fikir aku awanan itu mustahil untuk warninya begitu. Memang lumrah ianya tuk gelap, tapi bukan hitam yang zulmat amat. Ini luar alam. Sekali lagi nafas dihela. Mata terpandang bawah. Aku toleh kiri sedikit. Ada tukul marah. Warna merah darah dan pemegangnya kukuh disitu. Berdiri tersandar. Degup jantung sedikit melaju dan aku guna tangan kananku capai dia perlahan. Berat. Tapi aku yakinkan diri yang tukul itu tak berat mana. Mudah saja tuk aku lemparkan dan lampiaskan. Demi pecah-sepaikan tingkap bebas yang aku perlu dan mahu agar bisa ku lihat dan tatap luar sana. Sekali cerkah dan sekali ayun tukul itu aku lempar sekali keluar bersama derai kaca tingkap yang sejuta retaknya itu. Ah! Aku terasa puas. Seketika cuma. Bengkak hati aku masih lagi tebal dan buatku bebal tak kebal. Aku rasa yang aku kini sebati dengan hitamnya luar tingkap. Yang gelap hitam awannya, hampir tidak susah untuk

aku gagahi. Aku sembulkan kepala keluar tingkap. Ada sinar nun jauh hujung horizon sana. Jauh. Sedikit sahaja terpancar. Serpih. Sudah lama aku tidak bersapa dengan cahaya. Waktu putihnya aku dulu, aku kerap menjadi lihat pandang, aku putih dan aku serlah. Terus, mana bisa terlepas pandang. Sehingga aku mendekati Hitam. Setuju? Andai putih sebelah hitam. Putih akan nampak lebih putih dan hitam akan nampak lebih hitam. Ambil masa untuk gemarku bertukar hitam. Putih yang persih, andai selalu bergelumang dengan hitam, tidak ajaib jika merubah kelabu dan seterusnya hitam. Bukan? Hitamnya aku ya Tuhan. Lihat aku tertumpu jauh ke bawah. Tidak ku sedar yang aku kini berada di tingkat seratus lima puluh tujuh mungkin. Mungkin. Dulunya hanya di tingkat satu, tapi setiap hari menambah satu dan satu dan satu dan satu. Dihimpit kiri kanan, ditolak depan belakang, tidak lain dan tiada lain hanya mampu ke atas dan atas. Waktu satu aku putih, kini seratus berapa entah, aku hitam. Aku pun sama hitam macam Hitam padahal aku putih. Tidak tercapai akal aku mulanya bagaimana aku yang putih boleh mengenal Hitam. Apa pun tak mustahil fikir aku. Aku siapa. Aku pasti, punyai kuasa yang lebih kuat membuat aku mendamping hitam. Aku fikir hitam itu indah, misteri dan boleh bagi aku nikmat yang lain beza. Tapi, Hitam hadir dengan kenyataan yang beratus. “Terjunlah, terjun! Kau memang malas nak menuruni tangga yang seratus tingkat tingginya kan? Buat apa susah, lagipun kau dah hitam. Tiada makna!” suara halus yang menyakit gegendang deria dengarku. Aku pandang kiri kanan. Tiada apa yang beza, cuma dinding hina yang makin rapat dan rapat hingga besi


Sekali cerkah dan sekali ayun tukul itu aku lempar sekali keluar bersama derai kaca tingkap yang sejuta retaknya itu. Ah!


EXPERIMENTAL EZZAH MAHMUD

IMAGE: SILVIU CHRIAC / FLICKR!

cerucuknya terjulur keluar. Mahu cucuk tembus aku, mahu hiris siat aku. Perasaan aku kuat mengata yang bisik itu hanya Hitam sahaja yang mampu kata. Tapi aku sudah lenyapkan Hitam dalam hidup ku, fantasi ku, mimpi malam ku dan impi depan ku. Pelik mengapa Hitam masih punyai kuasa posesi. Aduh! Persetan kau Hitam! Tak tertahan rasa. Hampir setiap lohong roma yang ada di tubuhku sakit. Mungkin kerana cuba merembes tegang yang bangang. Atau hanya Hitam yang sudah kuasai aku, ingin padam aku dalam aku? Langkah aku yang sedia terrantai besi kalah, aku gagahkan mengangkat lemah. Tangan aku yang mengalilir darah itu sedia aku dekatkan ke sisi tingkap bebas. Apa yang aku mampu fikir sekarang cuma terjun dan keluar daripada sampah hitam legam ini. Memang mulanya indah segala isi rumah yang putih persih itu, tapi sekarang segalanya dah hitam. Mengapa masih mahu usaha bila dan hilang asa.

36 | CQ MAGAZINE | #3

Bayu sepi menyepak pipiku yang bersungai alir air mata, bukan air mata darah, sudah kering darah dikerah. Tersepak. Cairan hitam juga yang mengalir keluar. Ternyata aku dah hitam sungguh. Tiada harapan. Sekarang dua kaki ku yang terrantai dan terguris luka itu ada di sudut hujung bucu tingkap. Aku sudah sedia mahu pergi. Pergi jauh dan tinggal Hitam ini semua, dan seisinya. Tamatkan segala yang dah lama mula dan menggula. Lebih baik mungkin aku pergi. Jauh dan tinggal semua. Nafas terakhir aku hela laju. Hitam gemawan menyapa. Lihat seperti tersenyum lebar melihat aku. Bahagia si gemawan memerli. Ego ku dah tak ada. Hapus hilas bersama Hitam. Turut, hilang kosong segala kapal, terbang, selam dan laut. Tanganku yang dua aku longgarkan dan kurang tegang pegang. Tiba-tiba jerit kuat tertempik dari belakang. Aku terkejut dan terdorong kebelakang.

Putih? “Putih datang cuba hentikan aku?” monolog aku sendiri dalam detik yang tidak kurang perpuluhan kosong satu. Aku jatuh kembali dalam ruang dalam. Aku masih tidak percaya, tapi baju hitamku kiri bertukar kelabu pula. Hanya dengan suara Putih, bajuku bisa tukar kelabu? Dipapah ku untuk berdiri. Rantai kaki seperti lutsinar, tidak dapat kasar mata ini lihat. “Ayuh, kita turun dan pindah ke benua baru,” lembut dibicara. “Jangan kau jadi mangsa mainan Hitam, ternyata kau lebih berharga wahai penggemar putih!” Tanganku dipimpin dan kami berlari keluar dengan sepantas cahaya. Gegar lantai dan siling semua. Nampaknya seperti ingin roboh dan runtuh. Dia tidak kira, menarik tanganku kasar dengan berhasrat satu. Untuk hidup dan kembali putih. Hidup! Kembali! Mulakan! Jadi berani dan cari diri. Aku toleh, Hitam jeling sambil kejar ikut.


POETRY PAUL SELVAM At the water’s edge, the willows droop- mere shadow plays, un-touching- un-mournful, dipping callously in sorrowful waters. There, the ripples play, the sky azure, scratch and tear- cotton clouds in a mitten, the flowers snip, drop twirl, in airless loom, then stuck unfazed on a rested wave. There, the storks play candid the breeze lifted swift and agile, changing moods and swings, that sway and tingle. There, faces once abhorred, once cherished and loved, assemble streaking across- the perfumed air, dull chrysanthemums, and faint lilies, across the languid garden, reminding a glossy past. There, the visions transfix, gaunt but vivid. eyes closed to a woken soul, alert, yet fragile, to the nibbles of fish fries, to strange coldness, frigid fingers, feet muffled, tapping an unearthly dance, a perpetual show, in a slithery enclave. There I see, I feel, frogs leaping, tadpoles swarm, groggy and uncertain, while crickets sleep and otters pitch, I rest, a living livid sense, that I was once bestowed, here, I live, again, at the water’s edge.

The Water

TEXT: PAUL SELVAM IMAGE: JONATHAN BROWN / FLICKR!

#3 | CQ MAGAZINE | 37


FEATURE KHAIRIL M BAHAR

Director’s Note Taking stock of the journey, Malaysian filmmaker Khairil M. Bahar reflects on his first film, Ciplak. IMAGE: LENINERS / FLICKR!

It's been 10 years since I first got into filmmaking. The film in question was a little short called Nicotine. I'd been getting familiar with my Sony Handycam and editing on Sonic Foundry Vegas 3 on my Pentium PC, and the Kelab Seni Filem Malaysia was accepting submissions again. I remember I was sat in the office of Grey Worldwide in front of a candy pink iMac reading the callto-action for films, but I don't remember why, at that particular moment, I decided to shoot something to submit.   The idea for the short was something I'd had since I was in university, and I'd written a draft back then as part of a group of short films all interconnected with each other based around a hall of residence. The idea was to possibly loan the cameras from the film and broadcast department of the university and shoot them, but I never did. Back then I always held myself back from actually doing all the things I dreamed of doing.   However, around that time ten years ago when I was sat in front of that shitty pink iMac reading about the Kelab Seni Filem Malaysia, things were different. My philosophy at that time was to do all the things I dreamed of doing, even if it came out crap, because I couldn't imagine anything worse than being an old man thinking back, “I should've tried making a film” or “why didn't I record an album?”   So I shot Nicotine, and it got a pretty good response. Nicotine led to another short film, Some Like It White.   And after that? Ciplak. 38 | CQ MAGAZINE | #3

And since it's the 10th anniversary of me becoming a ‘filmmaker’, it seems only fitting to celebrate it by re-releasing my first feature film, the one that got my name out there and gave me the career I still have today.   And while I'm at it, why not put it out there for free.   That decision may seem like the odd one, but it's the one that makes perfect sense to me. The movie was released in 2006, back when I communicated on the interwebs through a blog on 20six.co.uk. I didn't even have enough Internet speed to upload my short films onto YouTube. The movie played on three screens for three weeks, I did a small run of DVDs and it was available briefly on video on demand (VOD) through Unifi's HyppTV.   And that's about it. It played a few festivals but Ciplak (and my other indie flick Relationship Status) was never easily available. If you were lucky, you might catch it somewhere or find the DVD at an event, but apart from that for the most part it became the movie I was most known for but not many people had actually seen.   And I'll be honest - at a certain point I was a bit embarrassed by it. The flick was rough, raw, amateurish and shot on miniDV in standard definition. With good HD cameras becoming more and more accessible and YouTubers left, right and centre posting shorts much better shot than anything I'd done in the beginning of my indie film career, could anyone really sit through 83 minutes of shaky SD handheld?

But it was my girlfriend, Eva, who turned me around when she said, "there are people out there who really want to see this film. Think about how pissed off you get when there's a film that you really want to see and it's not available. That's what you're doing to these people that want to see your movie." In essence, she was calling me a dick for not making the movie available. And I will forever be grateful to the love of my life for making me feel like a dick. For better or for worse, Ciplak is the movie that made me. It's the one that gave me a career. It was the most fun I ever had shooting anything because I wasn't burdened with the worries of box office figures, I wasn't subjected to the horrors of the inner workings of our film industry and most of all, I was shooting a movie for the sake of shooting a movie. I'd gotten together with my friends and we were having fun. It was a better time in my life, a time where my biggest worry was what would happen if my mom caught me smoking.   This year has been a weird one. And at one point, I was even ready to quit because I didn't know how to go on. But life does that to you - if it thinks you want to achieve something it will beat you down to an inch of your life to see how much you really want it, and the more you want to achieve the harder it'll punch. The question is whether or not you can take the beating, go toe-to-toe. You may not come out the winner like the end of Rocky 2, but at least you went all 15 rounds like in the first Rocky film and get to be with Talia Shire.   But why free? Well, there's three reasons.


For better or for worse, Ciplak is the movie that made me. It's the one that gave me a career


IMAGE: CIPLAKTHEMOVIE.COM!

FEATURE KHAIRIL M BAHAR

"He made that piece of shit and got the movie released and gained a career? I can do better than that!" Good. Do that

40 | CQ MAGAZINE | #3

The first is because I felt the movie had run its course. It's not an easy movie to sell to TV and home video (or the cinema, for that matter) and I felt it had made whatever it could through proper channels so why not let it out there for everyone who's curious to see it. My original idea was actually to figure out a way to region lock it so that it would be free for Malaysia but paid VOD everywhere else in the world. I then discovered that wasn't easy to do. In fact, it was almost impossible as I couldn't find any service that would feasibly let me do that. There are plenty that will region lock a paid VOD video, but not a free one.   Which leads me on to the second reason it's the 21st century. We're in a digital world. When Ciplak first came out it was still in its infancy. Gmail was still a fancy #

new thing which you could only get if someone invited you to use it. Facebook was just beginning to reach the public from the confines of Harvard University. Most people were still on a dial-up connection. Things are much different now. Piracy is different now. And with all of these changes the world of filmmaking is different now. I want to explore the nontraditional ways. I want to see whether releasing a movie digitally is viable.   But why free? Well, the movie is free but if you notice on the website and on Vimeo there's the option to leave a tip. I'm curious to see whether anyone would actually tip the movie. And in all honesty it's no hair off my back if no one does. I'm just curious to see who would.   And regardless of the tips, even if people don't tip, I want to see if there are other ways to generate income from the movie besides charging for the movie. A merchandise section will be opening on the site soon, and there are some other plans as well, so we'll see how it goes.   Thirdly, I don't want to charge for it. Partly because the movie looks a bit too raw in this day and age, but mostly because I want to put something out there for those who are into filmmaking and the filmmaking community locally. I'm packing the site with all kinds of things to show how this movie was made, pull back the curtain. I learnt how to be a filmmaker because the filmmakers I looked up to did the same thing. Robert Rodriguez would pack his DVDs with extras, Kevin Smith would be frank as fuck on the commentaries and later on peel back even more with his Q&As and podcasts. It only makes sense for me to do the same.   At the very least, even if you completely hate the movie and think it's the worst thing in the world, at least you'll come out of it thinking, "He made that piece of shit and got the movie released and gained a career? I can do better than that!" Good. Do that. Be better than me. Trust me, it's not that hard. Whatever your opinion of the movie, hopefully you get something out of it.   If it's your first time watching Ciplak, I hope you can find some enjoyment in it. And if you watched it when it first came out and watching it again now, thanks for being one of the first and thanks for coming back. I wouldn't be where I am today if it wasn't for y'all.# First published in September 2014 on ciplakthemovie.com, where you can also watch the film.


It was meant to appeal to young adults, and it did what it had to do

#2 | CQ MAGAZINE | 29


FEATURE WIRAMANJA

Ledakan Realiti TV First written a decade ago, Wiramanja’s musings on the state of reality TV shows remains food for thought. IMAGE: NUALA / FLICKR!

Dunia hiburan masakini bergerak pantas menuju matlamat saingan hebat dalam segala-galanya. Dunia hiburan mencakupi seluruh aspek media, sama ada media cetak mahupun elektronik. Media cetak dan media elektronik bergerak sejajar dengan cara tersendiri tetapi mempunyai fungsi tersendiri terhadap audiens. Audiens cepat terpengaruh pada dua gugusan media ini berdasarkan impak daripada sasaran sebarannya. Setiap sebaran maklumat bagi kedua gugusan media ini mempunyai agenda tersendiri iaitu menguatkan organisasi berlandaskan pengurusan komersial. Bidang penyiaran televisyen sebagai contoh mempunyai tarikan istimewa mendedah pelbagai maklumat, hiburan dan komersial. Bagi tujuan memikat hati audiens stesen TV terbabit mengadakan rancangan berbentuk dwifungsi iaitu hiburan dan komersial. Hiburan dan komersial adalah dua gadingan istilah ideal untuk memperkata mengenai persembahan TV zaman ini. Badan penyiaran TV tidak boleh bergerak sendiri tanpa adanya sokongan komersial untuk mengukuhkan empayar. Sebuah stesen TV swasta waimah stesen kerajaan tidak dapat beroperasi tanpa sokongan kewangan yang kukuh.   Didapati banyak rancangan TV masakini lebih condong menerbitkan siri quiz yang membabitkan para remaja supaya mendorong mereka memilih siaran tersebut. Pada dasarnya quiz show atau juga disebut game show dicorakkan dalam persembahan TV bertujuan menguji ingatan minda, pengetahuan, ketangkasan ataupun mencuba nasib mereka yang terpilih bagi sesuatu siaran. Mereka ini 42 | CQ MAGAZINE | #3

biasanya akan memperolehi hadiah berupa barangan dan juga wang tunai. Rancangan berbentuk quiz show dan game show sudah wujud di media barat sejak 1930 iaitu dalam rancangan radio yang berjudul Doctor I.Q. Setiap soalan yang dijawap dengan betul memperoleh sehingga $64,000. Sehinggalah era quiz show di TV menjadikan satu perssembahan TV yang menguntung stesen TV. Quiz show sememang mendapat sambutan kerana ianya membabitkan imbuhan kewangan yang diperolehi oleh audiens yang mengambil bahagian. Mark Goodson adalah penerbit radio dan TV Amerika yang telah menerbitkan quiz show paling lama dalam sejarah persembahan TV, iaitu What’s My Line? dari 1950 hingga 1967.   Begitulah ledakan persembahan realiti TV memberi kesan terhadap audiens untuk menontonnya. Apa yang terjadi stesen TV tempatan adalah peniruan dan penularan daripada barat kerana aliran ini lahir di sana. Namun, persoalannya adakah quiz show tersebut bertepatan dengan budaya penontonan di negara ini? Adakah setiap hari perlu adakan rancangan sebegini disogokkan kepada audiens? Ataupun adakah rancangan ini untuk tujuan komersial semata-mata, tetapi menidakkan keperluan audiens mendapatkan hiburan yang lebih baik dan selesa?   Ketika makalah ini dihasilkan (sekitar tahun 2005) didapati setiap stesen TV menyediakan rancangan berbentuk quiz dan game show yang kadangkala sangat membosankan. Pemilik stesen terbabit perlu melakukan R&D sebelum menyiarkan setiap rancangan berbentuk sedemikian.

Kelihatan juga satu rancangan berbentuk ini lebih condong menonjolkan bukan budaya bangsa Malaysia tetapi ala kebaratan. Cara peserta mengambil bahagian lebih mirip tidak bermoral dari segi pengucapan dan sikap mereka. Etika berpakaian dan siasah diri tidak diambilberat oleh stesen TV terbabit. Ada game show yang memperlihatkan kebodohan peserta boleh juga menimbulkan satu sifat yang negatif jika ditonton oleh masyarakat tempatan. Seolah-olah memperlihatkan kebodohan orang Malaysia sendiri begitu. Bukanlah bererti kita perlu mencontohi semua rancangan terbitan barat tetapi sekadar mempelajari yang baik. Satu game show barat yang popular tetapi dari segi moral tergelincir untuk dimanfaatkan kepada audiens seperti siri I Bet You Will (MTV) dan Fear Factor (AXN). Kedua-dua rancangan tersebut tidak serasi dengan budaya timur kerana banyak menampilkan aksi-aksi memalukan yang tidak sepatutnya dilakukan manusia waras. Peniruan yang baik mendatangkan manfaat kepada masyarakat audiens boleh diterimapakai tetapi jika mendatangkan aspek kemunduran pemikiran dan gelak ketawa bodoh boleh menyimpang sifat keperibadian masyarakat penonton. Adakah wajar siri seperti Senario Gelak Kaya boleh mencanai minda audiens dan memberi impak pendidikan? Kedapatan juga game show yang memberi impak cabaran dan keyakinan diri, hubungan kerjasama antara satu sama lain seperti Survivor (NTV7), Amazing Race (AXN), The Mole (TV2). Rancangan ini boleh memberi manfaat kepada audiens kerana melatih


Audiens secara total celik ilmu yang sentiasa dahagakan perkara baru setiap hari; mereka bakal menjadi masyarakat cemerlang Â


FEATURE WIRAMANJA mereka supaya bersikap berani, cekal, tabah dalam menempuh setiap cabaran. Rancangan tersebut memberi peluang setiap peserta dalam kumpulan masingmasing bekerja dalam team untuk mencapai matlamat iaitu kemenangan. Ini boleh disamaertikan dalam kehidupan iaitu individu pasti berjaya jika bekerjasama dan toleransi dalam kumpulan. Ada juga game show Jepun yang menarik seperti Istana Takeshi (NTV7), sementara Unchan & Nanchan Challenger (NTV7) adalah siri game show penuh cabaran yang menyeronokkan. Siri Unchan & Nanchan Challenger adalah melatih kanakkanak membiasakan diri berdirikari. Dalam rancangan tersebut peserta terdiri daripada kanak-kanak sekitar umur tiga tahun diberi senarai barang keperluan dapur berbekalkan duit untuk mereka beli. Siri ini sebagai contoh dan ada banyak aksi lain, tetapi rancangan ini menerbitkan kelucuan luar biasa. Audiens yang buat pertama kali menyaksikan siri ini sudah tentu tidak kering gusi ketawa.   Aksi kanak-kanak yang tidak tahu apa-apa disuruh beli barang keperluan dapur tetapi terbeli yang lain daripada senarai ditangannya. Ini sebagai latihan kepada anak-anak kecil yang menjadi peserta dalam rancangan tersebut. Penampilan kanak-kanak dalam siri TV boleh mendatangkan kesan kasih sayang dan kemesraan berkeluarga.   Setidak-tidaknya siri seumpama itu menarik lebih ramai ibubapa menontonnya dan sudah tentu mendidik audiens menjadi manusia penyayang. Siri yang dipertontonkan oleh seisi keluarga berhadapan dengan TV boleh mengeratkan silaturahim kekeluargaan. Di situ terbit masyarakat penyayang daripada saluran TV. Rancangan sebegini ada kesan hiburan dan menerbitkan suasana keseronokkan dalam sebuah keluarga ketika menonton dengan gelak ketawa. Gelak ketawa bersama keluarga adalah harmoni kerukunan bekeluarga walaupun ketika itu sedang menonton TV.   Rancangan sebegini dianggap menarik bukan kerana ianya terbitan luar negara tetapi mutu rancangannya amat luar biasa. Stesen TV tersebut membawa permainan rakyat dalam persembahan game show mereka dan secara tidak langsung memperdagangkan budaya mereka ke mata dunia. Jika ini yang dilakukan oleh stesen TV luar negara, makanya elok para penerbit stesen TV tempatan melakukan sesuatu untuk memperkenalkan budaya timur ke mata dunia dalam siri-siri TV kita. Jika tidak kita Cuma terdaya menonton siri ciplakan dan diadun menjadi siri kita tetapi nampak kejelikan dan kecetekan bakat 44 | CQ MAGAZINE | #3

kita. Persembahan realiti tv berbentuk quiz pula bukan semuanya baik malah membosankan tetapi rancangan tersebut tidak melalui R&D menyebabkan kurang bermutu. Persembahan realiti TV tempatan lebih menjurus peniruan secara total menyebabkan ianya ala kebaratan tidak mempunyai identiti Malaysia sebenarbenarnya. Di luar negara ada Hollywood Squares, di dalam negara Celebrity Square (NTV7) dan di Malaysia Telebriti (TV1) yang seakan sama tidak menampakkan kecondongan ketimuran yang seolah-olah kita sentiasa melakukan peniruan untuk maju dan tidak ada identiti sendiri. Bidang penyiaran di negara ini berusia lebih setengah abad dan sudah tentu pengalaman luas ke arah itu. Penyiaran kerajaan mahupun swasta seharusnya menitikberatkan masyarakat majmuk iaitu masyarakat yang sama-sama mendokong negara ini menuju kemerdekaan. Makanya setiap rancangan semestilah membabitkan semua bangsa. Isu ini pernah ditekankan dalam oleh Timbalan Menteri Penerangan baru-baru lalu dalam sidang akhbar tempatan. Beliau mengatakan stesen TV swasta contohnya TV3 banyak menampilkan integrasi sosial dalam rancangan mereka. Ini sebagai satu contoh terbaik untuk memakmur dan menjulang masyarakat cemerlang, gemilang dan terbilang melalui penerbitan media elektronik.   Rancangan bercorak game show dan quiz yang tidak memberi manfaat kepada masyarakat audiens tidak perlu dipaparkan. Cuba elakkan perbodohkan audiens melalui rancangan negatifkan minda mereka atau menyogok lambakan sampah dalam pemikiran audiens remaja. Kita boleh contohi yang terbaik sahaja dari barat seperti rancangan yang boleh mencanai minda iaitu quiz di TV yang paling tinggi ratingnya, Who Wants to be A Millionaire, dikendalikan oleh Regis Philbin. Rancangan quiz tersebut bermutu tinggi dan bernilai komersial yang mana semua golongan audiens tidak melepaskan peluang menonton siri ini. Audiens negara ini secara total celik ilmu yang sentiasa dahagakan perkara baru setiap hari dan mereka bakal menjadi masyarakat cemerlang, gemilang dan terbilang.   Makalah ini dihasilkan pada 25 Disember 2005.

Badan penyiaran TV tidak boleh bergerak tanpa sokongan komersial mengukuhkan empayar


POETRY SUE RUSLAN

Kadang aku fikir, Rasa bersalah mencintai kamu. Rasa serba tidak kena menjalinkan hubungan cinta dengan kamu. Cinta ini terlalu kriminal. HIdup ini terlalu memilih cita rasa.   Kamu terlalu bagus untuk aku, Kamu terlalu baik untuk aku, Kamu tidak layak untuk ku jadikan kekasih.   Darjat, Keluarga, Sejarah.   Latar belakang kita berbeza. Cinta yang kita tanam ini umpama satu kriminal.

Kriminal TEXT: SUE RUSLAN IMAGE: VICTOR / FLICKR!

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FEATURE FIKRI JERMADI

Sinema Speaking Fikri Jermadi mengolah kembali perkembangan filem Bahasa Inggeris di Malaysia. IMAGE: BRENT MOORE / FLICKR!

Apakah itu filem Malaysia? Ramai di Malaysia terpesong dengan pemikiran kritis berdasarkan hal-hal seperti budaya, ras dan agama. Dalam konteks industri filem, ini lagi dibangkitkan secara tidak langsung apabila The Journey, sebuah filem terbitan Astro Shaw berbahasa Cina, menjadi filem paling laris dalam sejarah penerbitan filem tempatan.   Tujuan tulisan ini adalah untuk mengupas semula soalan di atas dengan satu asterisk penting, iaitu kepentingan filem arus baru yang harus dipertikaikan.   Arus filem ini boleh dinamakan Malaysian Urban Wave.   Titik permulaan dalam sejarah sukar dikenalpasti dengan lengkap. Akan tetapi, yang jelas adalah pergerakan arus ini mula lebih kencang dengan penerbitan filem Ciplak (2006) arahan Khairil M. Bahar. Pada tahun yang sama, Perantauan Pictures juga membikin S’kali.   Mereka meneruskan penerajuan teknologi digital oleh pengarah filem Malaysian New Wave seperti James Lee dan Amir Muhammad, tetapi kumpulan pembikin filem ini kurang dapat perhatian sewajarnya dari audien dan pemikir filem Malaysia.   Salah satu dari sebabnya adalah penggunaan bahasa. Satu kriteria yang sering diguna dalam menentukan apakah dan siapakah itu orang Malaysia, mereka yang lebih fasih dalam bahasa lain seperti Bahasa Inggeris dianggap seperti kacang lupakan kulit. Misalnya, pertuturan dalam Bahasa Inggeris, atau ‘speaking’, sering 46 | CQ MAGAZINE | #3

dipandang rendah oleh sekolompok besar masyarakat dan audien, terutamanya jika penggunaan Bahasa Malaysia mereka jauh lebih lemah. Justeru, filem yang diterbitkan dalam bahasa bukan asli di daerah ini tidak dianggap sepenuhnya sebagai filem Malaysia. Filem kita wajah kita, kata mereka, dan ini boleh dilihat di beberapa industri filem lain yang diguna sebagai tanda pengukur.   Filem-filem dari Korea, Indonesia dan Thailand sering menampilkan aspek-aspek kebudayaan dan bahasa tersendiri tanpa mengalami reaksi negatif dari segi penerimaan orang ramai. Sejurus dengan ini, sokongan untuk filem Malaysian Urban Wave sangat kecil dibanding dengan kutipan box office filem lain.   Pemikiran ini meminggir sebahagian masyarakat Malaysia yang cukup berpengaruh, middle class, kerana karyakarya Malaysian Urban Wave menzahirkan semangat kontemporari dan berantarabangsa yang wujud di kawasan bandar seperti Subang Jaya, Mont Kiara dan Damansara. Walaupun ramai penduduk di kawasan seperti ini dilahirkan di sini, sebahagian besar dari identiti mereka dicipta melalui pengolahan karya pentas dunia. Selain dari karya tempatan, filem seperti Before Sunset dan sutradara seperti Quentin Tarantino diangkat sebagai model peranan.   Ada perbezaannya juga dari sudut ekonomi. Oleh kerana mereka tidak begitu bersandar dan didorong dengan keperluan wang, perkembangan watak dan jalan cerita dalam filem Malaysia Urban Wave

tidak tertakluk sepenuhnya kepada faktorfaktor seperti itu. Apa yang terserlah adalah perwatakan yang lebih selesa dengan kehidupan di bandar. Ini bertentangan dengan kebanyakan dari filem arus perdana di Malaysia, di mana konteks dan kawasan bandar merupakan satu pergerakan keras yang bakal merosak nilai murni yang telah dipupuk dari awal di rumah dan di kampung.   Sebagai contoh, salah satu siri filem Malaysia terbesar adalah siri filem Adnan Sempit, yang menyerlahkan satu paparan yang sarat dengan isu-isu mencirikan kelas ekonomi dan masyarakat di antara watak utama dan antagonis. Ini juga boleh dilihat dalam filem-filem box office seperti Ombak Rindu dan KL Gangster; mereka merupakan di antara filem terbesar dalam sejarah industri tempatan, dengan jumlah kutipan keseluruhan yang hampir mencecah RM40 juta.   Dibebaskan dari keperluan itu, sebuah filem Malaysian Urban Wave memberi perhatian lebih penuh dan kritis terhadap perhubungan antara manusia di zaman pascamoden. Filem seperti Cuak dan Take Me To Dinner, ditayangkan awal tahun 2014, lebih mengutarakan isu-isu romantis. Pada tahun 2012, filem Relationship Status melihat bagaiman perhubungan antara watak-watak yang berlainan berpaut rapat. Sutradara Arivind Abraham, melalui S’kali dan The Joshua Tapes (2010), lebih menumpukan perspektif kepada isu persahabatan.   Karya-karya mereka juga merupakan satu ruang mengolah isu-isu ketara di masyarakat secara kritis dan kreatif. Filem


Sokongan untuk filem Malaysian Urban Wave sangat kecil dibanding dengan kutipan box office filem lain


FEATURE FIKRI JERMADI IMAGE: ABBYLADYBUG / FLICKR!

massa adalah rangkaian saluran filem yang lebih terhad. Mereka yang berhasil sampai ke pawagam terpaksa menjalinkan hubungan eksklusif dan tertutup dengan syarikat tayangan yang tertentu; Cuak dan The Joshua Tapes tidak boleh ditonton di pawagam MBO. Take Me To Dinner, yang dibintangi oleh seniman seperti Patrick Teoh dan Susan Lankester, hanya boleh dinikmati di pawagam TGV Cinemas tertentu. Mereka ada potensi untuk meraih kembali kos penerbitan filem mereka yang memang rendah, tetapi durasi tayangan yang terhad dalam rangkaian yang kecil mengkongkong keupayaan perkembangan arus ini. Ditambah lagi persaingan sengit dari dalam dan luar negara, ini bermakna tanda pengukur kejayaan harus

diubahsuai. Apa yang tidak boleh dinafikan adalah peranan penting dimain oleh filem arus ini dalam pemberian warna ke industri perfileman tanahair. Mereka menyuntik cerita masyarakat yang jarang disampaikan ke layar perak, mendekatkan lagi paparan filem dengan realiti wajah kita yang bervariasi dan sering berubah.   Justeru, pengangkatan martabat filem dan cerita yang wujud di Malaysia tidak lengkap sekiranya ia tidak menggarap corak penghidupan dan penceritaan dalam filem-filem Malaysian Urban Wave. Diterbitkan dalam Bahasa Inggeris di thoughtsonfilms.com.

IMAGE: JACK / FLICKR.COM!

pendek #Masked, arahan Khairil, menonjolkan bukan sahaja aksi lawan yang jarang dilihat dalam filem bebas Malaysia, ia juga merupakan satu reaksi artistik kepada seruan Datuk Seri Rais Yatim. Pada tahun 2012, beliau menyarankan mereka yang berkebolehan dalam bidang seni pertahanan diri untuk setiasa bersedia buat pertempuran. Karya arahan Arivind, 5:13, mengemuka soalan apa yang berlaku apabila bekalan elektrik satu bandar dipotong. Kaitan besar dari segi cerita dan judul filem ini dengan peristiwa 13 May 1969 sukar untuk dinafikan.   Satu lagi sebab kenapa filem Malaysian Urban Wave tidak begitu berhasil memperoleh penerimaan dari audien

IMAGE: NAKA7A / FLICKR!

48 | CQ MAGAZINE | #3


EXPERIMENTAL ATHIRAH ABDULLAH

Every Thing I Am Not TEXT: ATHIRAH ABDULLAH! IMAGE: DAVID DENNIS / FLICKR!

If you could recognise me in color, I would be blue though I very much want to be red or orange. Well, I pretend to be yellow sometime. But even when I'm bright and all sunny, there's a little shadow over me, like a ghostly cold entity following even to my sleep. I am not at all sweet. There's something bitter in me; at the back of my head I'm thundering with words that shall never leave my mouth. I laugh at the complicated human beings and smile at the dogs, puppies, kittens and cats. I don't love kids three years old and above. I am not polite; sometime I cringe over the sour smell of the old chap. I'm not a dependable daughter. I seldom help with the chores. I hope mom would ask me to do it. If she would ask, I would've gladly done it. But she never did. Hence, the middle-level capability of cooking. I get awkward trying to start even a little chat. I loathe being in a loud crowd. I find my solitude in the middle of the night, with a book or a variety TV show or an old song that I keep on singing for the millionth of time. I don't look good. I am not trying to. I wear my clothes carelessly and you would find me in old tees daily. I am not in those large blouses and wide scarves covering my chest. I swear each day I feel the pull of wearing the socks but I still couldn't lose my favorite pair of jeans. I don't care if I don't wash my hand before I eat. I think I am sad for half of any month and sometime I wonder when was the last time I smiled: effortlessly, sincerely. I am not generous. Each penny would be counted in my head. I don't spend my earnings on clothes but on books, bags and shoes. I love it when I'm all flush, sweaty and pumped. But I would ask myself in the

middle of the hike, why am I doing it in the first place, and later on I would feel thoroughly wonderful to make it to the top. Yes, I'm fickle. I am not resourceful. I am ignorant. I don't want to care about how the country's economic condition’s going to be or could I ever have a chance to buy property. I don't want to take a lot of things into account, as I'm scared it wouldn't be what I need it to be. I hate numbers. I would take a minute to count the balance each time I buy something. I'm a vacant space that needs to be fulfilled. I am as blank as the TV at the end of its broadcast, as silent as the beach after a fireworks show. The noises are nothing but an echo of the spirit left. I'm not good with English, but it’s the only language I feel comfortable writing me. I have a disease that I have yet to admit. I have a habit of keeping my entire skeleton safely away.  My head is full of grey areas: between here and there, neither good nor bad. I spend my time in front of my gadgets more than I spend it on a praying mat. I doodle poem and song lyrics in my notes, not verses from His one book. I am not the person who remembers Allah at all times. I force myself to read AlQuran every day. I hold grudges over myself when my five times a day with Allah is not completed. I'm trying real hard to get my way to Him, to have all my daily routines be in His mercy.  I am far from being a perfect prospect of better halves. The wish I have is to live the rest of my life with a best friend, crazily, freely. Read this, this is as honest as I can be. I hope you're my best friend for life. But if, after reading this, you doubt it, I'll understand. I am after all, everything I am not.

#3 | CQ MAGAZINE | 49


SHORT STORY SHAH HADRI

Sang Anarkis TEXT: SHAH HADRI IMAGE: TOMMPOUCE / FLICKR!

Hidupnya bermatlamat. Jalan raya gelanggang perjuangannya. Hitam warna imejnya yang mengunyah dan meludah keluar segala bentuk korupsi dan ketidakadilan. Sang anarkis, terang membaja fasa-fasa kemenangan. Sang anarkis berpendapat, bahawa keamanan dan cinta akan lahir hanya apabila tangan-tangan sudah dikotorkan untuk menghumban ahli-ahli politik yang tamak yang kerjanya untuk menggelapkan masa depan. Seorang yang berprinsip tidak akan duduk saja di rumah sambil berdekah-dekah keasyikkan menonton sirisiri drama yang menipu dan memenjarakan pemikiran.   Kebebasan dan keamanan tidak akan dicapai jika ahli-ahli politik mutan yang brutal masih bebas membuas. Justeru, sang anarkis dan teman-teman tidak rela untuk hidup dalam satu atmosfera yang zahirnya aman tetapi batinnya sengsara. Seperti kalam Errica Malatesta, penghapusan eksploitasi dan penindasan manusia hanya bisa dilakukan lewat penghapusan dari kapitalisma yang rakus dan pemerintahan yang menindas. Ya benar jika kalian membaca dari media cetak mahupun menonton televisyen, anarkisme digambarkan sebagai huruhara, kekacauan dan kekerasan yang menyaksikan kemusnahan dalam negara. Namun, salahkah menzahirkan satu ' kekerasan' sebagai metod yang ampuh untuk menyerang kapitalisme dan kezaliman penguasa? Kekerasan juga tidak semestinya diaplikasikan dalam jalan anarkisme. Anarkisme mempertemukan dengan kekuatan dalaman agar manusia tidak diperbudak-budakkan oleh pemerintah yang barbarian. Sang anarkis seringkali menelaah tulisan-tulisan Alexander 50 | CQ MAGAZINE | #3

Berkman dalam makalahnya terutama sekali makalah klasik 'What is Communist Anarchist.” Seiring dengan itu, tanggungjawabnya dengan Yang Maha Esa tidak disia-siakan. Doa sang anarkis agar perjuangannya dan teman-teman yang lain akan dipertemukan dengan kebaikan dengan izinNya. ****

Pada suatu lewat petang yang hening, sedang sang anarkis berkhayal di tengahtengah kelompok manusia yang sibuk untuk pulang, dia ternampak seorang perempuan yang mencuri perhatiannya. Nama perempuan itu, Zakiah. Tidak disangka-sangka, dalam dunia yang huruhara ini, masih ada lagi wajah yang memberi ketenangan dan harapan. Sudah menjadi ketentuan bila mereka berdua mula berkenal-kenalan dan kemudian berkasih-kasihan. Sang anarkis yang dahulunya penuh amarah, kini sudah disirami kasih sayang Zakiah. Cinta sudah datang, meredakan gelodak anarkisme dan membuai sang anarkis seperti fitrah manusia yang lain.Sang anarkis tidak melupakan perjuangannya, cuma masanya kini banyak dihabiskan dengan berpuisi, lagak manusia yang bertemu sastera bila hati dipanah asmara. Figura-figura bernama Morissey, Robert Smith dan Richard Ashcroft sering berkunjung memberi inspirasi. Dari situ tertulis beratus-ratus puisi cinta melayang datang kepada Zakiah yang gemarkan sastera. Zakiah, sekali pernah berkata, sastera adalah satu anugerah buat manusia yang laparkan ketenangan. Mungkin benar, manakan tidak, Sang anarkis jua kini sudah bernafas dalam sastera. Sudah sampai masanya, Sang anarkis

tidak lagi mahu menunggu. Dipinangnya Zakiah, agar mereka akan kekal bersama dalam dunia yang disimbah cinta. Apakan daya, bila tarikh sudah ditetapkan, seolah satu ujian, dunia mereka bergolak dahsyat. Pemerintah sudah membuas bagaikan sparta yang rakus membunuh manusiamanusia lemah. Dan hari-hari kemudian, masyarakat semakin menderita dengan penindasan tanpa belas kasihan penguasa. Kemanusian sudah lama menjadi sejarah, manusia yang berkuasa bersama keparat kapitalis sedang megah memijak kepalakepala manusia yang lemah kudratnya. Laskar hitam bersiap sedia untuk turun gelanggang. Bersama panji hitam, azam mereka hanya satu - penguasa yang menggila wajib dihapuskan di jalan raya. Lalu semboyan ditiupkan, seruan untuk laskar-laskar anarkis diarah turun bergelanggang termasuklah sang anarkis. Bagai tidak keruan, sang anarkis berlelah payah, berbelah bahagi fikirannya dengan tuntutan perjuangan dan tanggungjawab terhadap Zakiah. Kekeliruan sang anarkis yang ketara mudah bagi Zakiah untuk terkesan. Benarlah kata pujangga, cinta bukan melemahkan semangat, tetapi membangkitkan semangat. Makanya datanglah Zakiah menghampiri sang anarkis dan dia berkata lembut; "Pergilah sayang. Pada dirimu ada kegagahan yang dikurniakan, salurkan ia pada perlawananmu dengan mereka yang brutal. Akan datang esok hari, dunia ini akan cerah dengan cinta, aman dan manusia akan bebas daripada menjadi santapan barbarian. Dan sayang, kau wajib tahu, Terkadang cinta hanya dapat berbicara melalui selongsong senapang...”


Penghapusan eksploitasi dan penindasan manusia hanya bisa dilakukan lewat penghapusan dari kapitalisma


COLLAGE FILMS AND FILMMAKING

Nadira Ilana, director# have no impact on them at all save for Simply put, I think that all art forms should anger at having spent money in trite. have something to say about the human Neither is less or more important. The condition. esoteric work of Satyajit Ray is just as Old Souls will be released later this year. much of a reflection of time and space as is Hantu Dalam Botol Kicap. Priya Narayanan, producer   Film for me is a reflection of society, its As for filmmaking, it’s a career, a mores, ideals, aspirations and statement, a life’s work to that mirroring dissatisfactions. A sort of mirror of the and in that is its contribution. With the times and social fabric. In that experience advent of the smartphone, everyone can someone might have their life changing make films, but I guess only the most moment of realisation, or the film might committed can make a good one. Those TEXT: ADI ISKANDAR IMAGE: MARKUS ANDERSON / FLICKR!

Films and Filmmaking

52 | CQ MAGAZINE | #3

are the ones that realise that film requires the work and collaboration of others. Whilst a painter might create a masterpiece by himself, no filmmaker worth his salt would legitimately be able to claim a film to himself. Terbaik Dari Langit recently won the Best Movie award at the 2015 Asean International Film Festival. Grace Chin, writer# I grew up with the arrogance of the Internet at my fingertips. It had everything; I had everything. The Internet had no sense of time, no sense of place. Just multiple connections, a completely controlled trigger of avalanche of information if I wanted to. Then I joined Viddsee in 2014. Watching films, thinking about films, and marketing films online to the rest of the world was part of my job. I plunged into a world of Asian short films, binging heavily like a coke addict in a massive snowstorm.


COLLAGE FILMS AND FILMMAKING It was a massively self-trigged avalanche of stories. The sensory and psychological and assault was very real. There are days where my brain is clogged with stories and ideas, there are days I have to force-detox at yoga. All the time, though, they were incredibly enriching. Like a coke addict, I kept going back for more.   Films gave me more than what pure information could. Stories and films connected the dots, they became narratives that clicked into place. Films humbled me; it made me cry, laugh, cringe, curl my toes, misuse emoticons. It made me realise how human I am, and how human the Internet can be.   The world is very rough at its edges; it’s forbidding, treacherous. So is the Internet. Very rarely do we have access to people, emotions, textures, colours. We never dive deep. But stories make us human. Stories make the Internet very human.   I’m could pre-pay my yoga classes for many years to come. May this binge never end.   (And so, it appears that my navel is lintfree. Thank you for reading this far.) Check out viddsee.com for the best short films around Asia.   Diffan Sina Norman, director# It is a craft that is intended to inform, incite, arouse, goad and inspire. Filmmaking is a profession, and film is the collective result. Kekasih was screened at Sundance Film Festival in 2014. Bahir Yeusuff, producer There are two questions there; the first, what does film mean to me, is a longwinded one, but here are some of my thoughts as a struggling independent filmmaker in Malaysia.   Films to me boil down to one thing; a film, in the layman context of a ‘thing’ that an audience watches, should entertain. A film needs to entertain. If a film doesn’t entertain (be it by making someone laugh, cry, smile, or feel), it fails as a film. Then that ‘thing’ is just noise. It isn’t music, it isn’t affective, it isn’t effective. That ‘thing’ is just noise. Now, whether that ‘thing’ is a film or just merely noise, is subjective, so what is a film to me may be noise to you (or vice versa).   A perfect example would be a film I saw recently, the Seth Rogen and James Franco movie The Interview. That was a

difficult film to watch, as it was, in my mind at least, a terrible film. There was nothing amusing, nothing interesting, nothing particularly funny about it. But, my elder sister, who in her defence, has good taste in movies, enjoyed it. She admits it was silly fun, something to just put on and watch and not take too seriously, but I hated every minute of its running time. The flipside of that, however, is the ‘arthouse cinema’ movement; the types of films that require a booklet of an explanation with every ticket purchase. I can’t stand those films either.   To me a film needs to entertain, a film needs to be escapism, and if a filmmaker goes to make a film to teach, to show me morals, or to show me the harsh realities of life in a war-torn nation, then I personally won’t enjoy it. Sure I’ll ‘feel’, I’ll be effected, but it won’t entertain me.   The second question of what filmmaking means to me, is a slightly easier, albeit a more technical one. Filmmaking to me is the craft of making a movie. From the writing, to the production aspects of sets and cinematography, to the editing, that to me is filmmaking. To me, the great filmmakers have a great balance of these technical aspects of filmmaking, from Citizen Kane, to The Wizard of Oz, to The Godfather and its sequel. More recent filmmakers who make a specific effort with regards to the craft of filmmaking include two of my personal favourites, Wes Anderson and Tarsem Singh. If you have the time, watch Tarsem’s movie The Fall, and then realise that all

IMAGE: KAIDI ZHAN / VIDDSEE!

#3 | CQ MAGAZINE | 53


IMAGE: DANILO PRATES / FLICKR!

COLLAGE FILMS AND FILMMAKING

All art forms should have something to say about the human condition

54 | CQ MAGAZINE | #3

those locations are real locations and not sets. The shots are just gorgeous. Good films (through good filmmaking) needs to be accessible. You can’t make a film for a certain subset of a certain society and when a majority of an audience don’t respond, you just put it down to, “They don’t understand the movie” or “they weren't my audience”.   Actually, I take that back: you can make a film with that mentality. You just can’t blame the audience for not responding.   A film is, at its core, a good story told well. It can be a retelling of an existing theme differently, or the retelling of a new story done well. Case in point: James Cameron’s Avatar is just Pocahontas with aliens in 3D. Think about it.   And in the eternal words of the late Yasmin Ahmad, “Filmmaking is the most fun you can have with your clothes on.” Check out incitetv.my, the Malaysian video portal covering issues of the day. Liew Seng Tat, director# Mirror. Lelaki Harapan Dunia recently won the Special Jury Prize at the Fajr International Film Festival.  

Ezzah Mahmud, director Filem pada saya ialah sisi ego saya yang terbang keluar dari jasad saya, dan hinggap ke orang lain. Filem ini terhasil daripada cakapan orang lain, yang sepatut dan asal sebenarnya, satu bentuk gelombang kotak fikir yang saya hasilkan. Saya rasalah, sebab seringkali saya terasa akan ‘sesuatu’ yang saya tak berani luah ludahkan secara verbal, pasti saya akan ketemu sama perkara itu di dalam filem yang saya tonton, atau saya akan hasilkan filem mengenai sesuatu itu. Makanya, filem ini ialah sisi asing yang saya giankan, tetapi tak nak mengaku. Ada Apa Dengan Ezzah is a web series detailing her adventures in Wales. Nik Jassmin Hew, scriptwriter Film to me is food for the heart and mind. Filmmaking is a way to communicate to and influence the masses, not a wank. The documentary, Mencari Nusantara, is currently in post-production and scheduled for release later this year. Muzzafar Shah Hanafi, producer Film is the representation of the parallel world we're living in, and filmmaking is an act of playing god by humans who created that parallel world. Thoughts on Films is the world’s only film podcast in Bahasa Malaysia.


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CQ#3  

For the third issue of CQ Magazine, we feature the good (and the bad) of screens silver or otherwise, with film as this issue's theme. Get...

CQ#3  

For the third issue of CQ Magazine, we feature the good (and the bad) of screens silver or otherwise, with film as this issue's theme. Get...

Profile for cqmag
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