Thoughts on Films

Thinking aloud on films in Malaysia and beyond.

Episode 70: Selected Films of the Fat Bidin COVID-19 Mini Docs Film Competition

December 25th, 2020

Not long after the last one, Fikri and Ezzah are back for the 70th episode of Thoughts on Films. They dig deep into a long-planned but never-executed episode focusing on selected films from the Fat Bidin COVID-19 Mini Docs film competition! An event that ran in the middle of the year, a top-three was chosen from a shortlist of over 20. Fikri took a closer look at the podium finishers, while Ezzah (having seen them all) shared her thoughts on the best of the rest.

Finally, we would like to wish our listeners Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Episode 69: Of Oscars, Princesses and Islets

December 24th, 2020

Fikri and Ezzah get together to sembang some news of Malaysian cinema in the past weeks and months. At the forefront is a discussion about Emir Ezwan’s ‘Roh’ being selected as the nation’s submission for the Academy Awards in 2021. This is followed by a chat about ‘Puteri Gunung Ledang’ being on Netflix, powered largely by Ezzah’s enthusiasm. Finally, they spend more time on Namewee’s film ‘Babi’ and ‘The Story of Southern Islet’ by Chong Keat Aun; though both have gained acclaim elsewhere, at home they have not been received all that well…

Episode 68: The Buzzing of Bees and Crickets

October 21st, 2020

After an unplanned hiatus, Fikri returns with a special episode in the bag! He interviews Cheng Thim Kian, a Malaysian filmmaker with not one, but two films released in 2020. In the first part, they discuss BEE, My Friend, looking at its theme of education and charting the journey from being a video made for a school to one that is selected for international film festivals. In the second half, they focus on When the Crickets Sound, a film competing in the My RODE Reel, billed as the world's largest short film competition.

Episode 67: Let’s Talk About Roh

August 5th, 2020

Returning from a short hiatus, Fikri and Muz return with an episode looking at Emir Ezwan’s film, ‘Roh’. They consider the film’s technical and thematic merits, discussing ‘Roh’ in the context of Malaysian horror. Along the way, Muz relates it to other films from Iran and the United States, while Fikri links it to happenings back home in Malaysia. Recorded some months ago, this episode is released now in conjunction with the exhibition of the film in Malaysian cinemas on 6th August 2020.

Episode 66: Let’s Talk About The Masseuse

June 14th, 2020

The 66th episode features Fikri and Muz for another chat on Malaysian cinema, beginning with commiserations on the passing of animator Rosdi bin Othman, a key part of the film ‘Legend of Ancient Borneo’. They briefly touch on updates on the new CEO of FINAS, and the official standard operating procedure for film production in Malaysia, before delving deeper into Tan Ce Ding’s ‘The Masseuse’. Fikri is enamoured with the film’s aesthetics, while Muz considers its links to the cyberpunk genre. Along the way, they also analyse the film’s themes, how reminiscent it is of the ‘Blade Runner’ and Wong Kar-wai films, and where it stands in the pantheon of Malaysian science fiction films.

Episode 65: All Hands on Deck

June 1st, 2020

The 65th episode brings with a smorgasbord of films news to discuss! Fikri and Muz sit down to talk about the appointment of Zakaria Abdul Hamid as the chairman of the National Film Development Corporation Malaysia (FINAS). They also consider the other board members appointed to their roles, before considering the reasons and implications of the lack of a more official COVID-19 guideline for Malaysian filmmakers (with a brief contribution from Nadira Ilana). After the break, they briefly peruse through said guidelines for the UK and India, before delving into the true meat of this episode’s sandwich: the announcement of the Snyder Cut!

Episode 64: An Inner View with Anwar Johari Ho

May 25th, 2020

Selamat Hari Raya to all! Recorded at the end of Ramadhan, this episode is a special interview with Anwar Johari Ho, the director of ‘Forget Me Not’. Fikri sits down with him (online, natch) to discuss his career thus far, and how his education journey has helped (or not) with his film one. In the second half, they delve deeper into Anwar’s film, discussing issues related to Chineseness, how it relates to his own personal contexts, and the peaks and troughs experienced in making the film. Have a listen, and enjoy the episode as you enjoy your lemang (if you can find some, that is)!

Episode 63: Let’s Talk About Memories of Murder

May 20th, 2020

Ladies and gentlemen, introducing: Hafiz Rahman! This episode sees Hafiz, a keen film fan, sit down with Fikri for a stroll down the killer memory lane that is Memories of Murder. Directed by Bong Joon-ho (probably the one filmmaker with the dreamiest of 12 months to look back on), the film tells the story of South Korea’s first serial murders in history. Sparked by Hafiz’s recent splurge on his films, they consider the political context of the film’s setting, the film’s representation of violence and gender, and correlations to real-life events. All this and more on the 63rd episode of Thoughts on Films!

Episode 62: Obituaries in World Cinema

May 16th, 2020

For once, an episode hitting more sombre notes. Fikri and Muz sit down to discuss the recent passing of three personalities in world cinema: Irrfan Khan, Rishi Kapoor and Kamal Ishak. Part one sees the discussion of Irrfan Khan’s impact, particularly through the films the boys were first introduced to him. The second half focuses more on ‘Bobby’s Rishi Kapoor and the impact of that film, as well as Kamal Ishak, the Malaysian filmmaker most prominent in the 1990s with films such as ‘Cinta Kita’ and ‘Penyair Malam’.

Episode 61: The Fourth is Strong with Them

May 4th, 2020

Happy Star Wars Day! For this episode, Ezzah reminisce over her trip to Tunisia a number of years ago, during which time she managed to snag a visit to the original Star Wars set. She dove deep into her thoughts and feelings at the time, including the journey of getting there and how the experience and emotions affected her. In the second half, Fikri and Muz delve into a discussion on the future of the Star Wars series, including how the conclusion of the Skywalker saga may affect their own interest, and whether it is wise to prioritise its television productions (as opposed to theatrical releases). Whatever it is, May the Fourth be with you all!

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