Sunday, September 16, 2007

Free to watch Freedom films

Logo from festival website

Caught a bunch of films at the Freedom Film Festival 2007 a couple of nights ago. Fahmi Reza’s film, “Sepuluh Tahun Sebelum Merdeka” (Ten Years Before Independence), has been getting some publicity of late, and the small hall was crowded with expectant viewers. The documentary seeks to recover some of the forgotten and ignored aspects of Malaysia’s struggle for independence – in Fahmi’s case, the left-leaning multi-racial coalition that sponsored a nation-wide strike in 1947.

In a similar vein, the Friday evening session also showcased “I Love Malaya”, a Singapore-produced documentary on the legal effort by Chin Peng, the leader of the Malayan Communist Party, to gain the state’s permission to return to Malaysia. The filmmakers also travelled to southern Thailand to capture the life of these ex-communists after that party and the Malaysian state signed a peace accord in the late 1980s.

It is encouraging to see the younger generation exploring alternative histories; in effect, challenging the accepted narrative that is written by the winners/states/governments. The energy of the film, the filmmakers and the audience is enough to recharge any old battery that has gone dead through cynicism. And best of all, they were entertaining too. You learn cool stuff like – the Malayan Reds knew how to grill a delicious elephant steak! (Sauce on the side, please!)

The festival moves on to Penang and JB.


jiinjoo said...

Yey CS has a blog :) Writing is just in your vein - sharing it (without being "edited") is the right choice! Just added this to my rss readers so I won't miss it.

Aromatic Beans said...

Thanks JJ. Let's catch up in the land of integrated resorts!