The Malaysian film industry is far from perfect. Okay, who am I kidding, it’s mostly garbage. It’s either we’re making series of not-horror films like Pontianak 3 and Hantu Paku 4, or we’re combining those two to make a parody such as Pontianak Paku 7 (fine, none of those titles actually exist but trust me, it’s not that far off from the actual names). Wait, that isn’t all, we also have a truck load of films on rempits and sometimes, these rempits do parkour *cough* Rentap *cough*. Once, we even made a movie on a little green baby Toyol thingy but let’s not even talk about that.
The blame doesn’t just belong to the movie makers, though. The blame, for the most part, belongs to us, too. Because guess what? Every now and then, there will be a director/scriptwriter/producer who decides to think out of the box and come up with a freaking brilliant movie, but sadly, hardly anyone watches it because of the pre-existing belief that all Malaysian movies are balls. We keep complaining that the industry sucks, but when the industry produces something good, we ignore it. How then will the industry grow?
This isn’t saying that we’ve ignored all good local movies. Ask any Malaysian to name one good local film they’ve watched and chances are, the answer would be The Journey. The Journey was definitely a milestone achievement for the Malaysian film industry. How on earth the simple story on interracial love and family ties (deservedly) surpass KL Gangster 2 as the highest grossing local film of all time, I do not know. But, I’m happy it did. It proved that there is still hope for our film industry.
The Journey isn’t the only good local film, though. Below are two local films that are equally as good, if not better than, The Journey, that unfortunately may not have received the attention it deserved.
Cuak is not your average rom-com. In fact, it’s not your average any-type-of-movie. For starters, it’s directed by five people (Khairil M. Bahar, Lim Benji, Manesh Nesaratnam, Shamaine Othman and Tony Pietra) with very distinct styles. At times, it feels like you’re watching five different movies, but it works. Seriously, there’s one section of the movie that’s shot in found footage style and another in film noir. YES! A romantic comedy that has freaking film noir element in it.
However, it isn’t just the different styles that make the film unique, it’s the themes too. Cuak contains some pretty controversial (at least controversial by Malaysian film standards) themes such as inter-religion marriage and even sensitive Islamic issues.
In Between Floors
In Between Floors is an independent film with a very small budget of RM90k. Yeap, a local, indie English film. Sounds like one heck of a ballsy move, from a business standpoint anyway. You know I mentioned how most Malaysian films have convoluted story lines, rempits and pontianaks? In Between Floors has none of that. In fact, it doesn’t actually have a story. In Between Floors follows Sharron (Dawn Cheong), a Banana ‘ghost tweeter,’ and Kenth (Alvin Wong), an Ah Beng water filter salesman, both who get stuck in a lift together. And that’s about as far as the storyline goes. The next one hour and a half takes place in an elevator, but it is immensely entertaining. It’s the kinda movie where English speaking people should bring their Chinese speaking friends and vice versa to, just to laugh at each other.
Fair warning though, you have to be open minded to actually enjoy this movie as it constantly pokes fun at the cultural differences of Bananas and Ah Bengs.