Monday, December 22, 2008

A THAI-PRODUCED MALAY MOVIE?

Is this a poster of a Malay movie?

I just saw an exciting and quite interesting movie entitled The Queens of Langkasuka. No its not about a group of gay transvestites from Langkasuka. It's actually the latest movie by top Thai director Nonzee Nimibutr, who is known over here for his horror movie Nang Nak.
The movie is Malay in everything except language. It is about Langkasuka anyway. Part of our history.

A group pic of the villains in this movie about Langkasuka.

The movie relates the epic defence of the empire of Langkasuka against an alliance of pirates and kingdoms led by the Sultan of Songkla.
Langkasuka, was at that time ruled by a strong willed and beautiful (and multilingual) Queen. She had to seek the assistance of allies, including Pahang, to fight off this threat.
She also needed the mystical support of a Dulum, a powerful mystical shaman who can control the creatures of the sea. Without the Dulum's help, she cannot retrieve a gigantic cannon that can be used to fight her enemies. The cannon, an ancient weapon of mass destruction, currently resides in the deep ocean off Langkasuka.
The epic was produced at a staggering cost of US$20 million and has already been screened at four top international film festivals.
What I was impressed was the detail in art direction, which made the movie very Malay. The tengkoloks, the kerises and the parangs, the costumes, the sets, the fight choreography were very Melayu.

No! No! No! This is not a Malay movie! It's a Thai movie dammit!
Sadly, it is not a Malaysian movie - it is a Thai movie. I felt as if part of our heritage has been hijacked again by Nonzee, as he did with the Pontianak legend in Nang Nak.
The legend of Langkasuka, with this movie, may now be imagined as part of Thai folklore.
When will we be able to produce an epic like this? No, please do not compare this movie with Putri Gunung Ledang as doing so would insult the Langkasuka movie.
Sad that we are more interested in trying to make movies about drifting automobiles and mutant human cicaks, than something like this which really catches the eye of world cinema.
Try and catch the movie if you are in Thailand or get the DVD when you can. Below is the trailer.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Dang, the CGI is a bit wonky but colour me impressed.

And yes I'm embarrassed that we wasted so much money utilising CGI on movies with shit concepts like Brainscan and Cicakman.

I have a feeling that if we ever produce something like this, the censorship board wouldn't allow it to be released. For they need to keep the illusion that melayu = Islam even if that means rejecting our rich legend and folklore.

- Salman

Kunderemp said...

Are you sure Nang Nak is Pontianak (we call it Kuntilanak in Java)?

Btw,
somebody upload the movie to youtube. Unfortunately, it had no subtitle. You can catch the melayu name such as "Hijau", "Ungu", "Biru", "Pari".

I'm still looking for the subtitle..

anwardi said...

Nang Nak has more similarities with Pontianak than Kuntilanak. Kuntilanak in some versions is half horse half female...in Nang Nak the girl's body is crossed by a cat..same as in the Malay folklore. To see if she is a ghost, you bend down and look between yr legs..also the same in Malay culture.
Yes, in youtube there's no subtitles. The VCD version I bought in Thailand also got no English subs. The words Hijau, Pari, Ungu, Biru are names of the characters in the movie. Sultan of Pahang also appears as a prominent character.

Anonymous said...

i am sick of malaysian crap movies.
we seem be just aping things instead of creating. the west make zombie movies, we make zombie movies.
they make stupid boy-racer brat movies we make..
too fast too bingai: kajang drift!?
you hit things bang on the head when it takes a non-malay to make a malay movie..
when will us malaysians take a look at ourselves like the japanese and china and the thais do and make..
stories from here!!!
thats good and great?
sampai bila nak ciplak idea orang lain?

Anonymous said...

i believe malaysia is more developed than thailand.. but too bad, their film industry is waaay better than us. even not everything is original, at least they make movies at par better than the real one.