Thursday, 16 August 2012

In Your Face

"This is not a film to cause disunity, far from it. We are not talking about politics, we are talking about two great men who have done extraordinary things," Shuhaimi (Baba) told a press conference. "It's history, it's fact. It's because society is mature enough that we feel it's time for them to watch history."

Quick question: How many “historical” films can you name deals strictly with facts?

Fact: “Historical” movies are never about facts; they are about drama, iconic personalities, heart rending events, etc. Facts bore and have as much entertainment value as, urm, watching white paint dry.

On to Suhaimi’s “Tanda Putera” which had attracted controversy on allegations it depicted pro-Malay and anti-Chinese sentiments.

Fact: The movie has yet to see its public screening.

More boring fact: I saw the “new” (at least to me) 1:30 minutes long trailer this morning after the Subuh prayers whilst waiting for the kids to wake up.

Not a fact: I found it intolerably black and white vis a vis its depiction of the May 13, 1969 and the supposed protagonists who sparked one the nation’s darkest days.
There were more dislikes than like for the Trailer and I took to cue to mark my own view on what I saw.

Watching the trailer reminded me of the day long ago when I went to see the movie “Turtle Beach” to see what the hoo haa was all about.

Suffice to say, I walked out in disgust before the film ended due to the, urm, creative embellishing of supposed “facts” involving the country’s treatment of Vietnamese refugees.

Amongst others. There were more, but memory fails me and the earlier part of the movie wasn’t that great either.

To reiterate: Tanda Putera trailer elicited the same kind of lumpy, um, disgust – for want of a more precise word – as did “Turtle Beach”.

Fair enough, Malaysians are by far more mature these days and can certainly stomach enough of grey-boundaried–sensitive-issues and topics discussions.

Surely there are more ways to depict what happened during the dreaded days where hundreds died after all hell broke loose when local politics turned topsy turvy.

Yes: at the core of the May 13, 1969 incident was politics and unsustainable levels of hate / race-politics mongering.

And unfortunately, the brief “Tanda Putera” trailer blatantly smacks you in the face with depiction on who’s to blame.

The question I wish to ask Suhaimi: Why does it have to be so?

PS: Recalling the gleeful pleasure of watching Bruce Lee kick bad-ass Japanese butts in Fist of Fury, a blatantly black white movie except for turncoats in an interpreter and tea maker. Contrast this with Jet Li’s version in Fist of Legend where – surprise, surprise – there are bad/good Japs.

Sign of times, surely.

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