Thoughts on Films

Thinking aloud on films in Malaysia and beyond.

Episode 76: Selected Films from the SWANA Film Festival (part 2)

April 3rd, 2021

The second of a two-parter features Fikri and Ezzah concluding their discussion on films from the SWANA Film Festival. Organised by Christina Hajjar and the University of Manitoba in February 2021, the films touch on issues related to diaspora, dis/connection, agency and change. Here, Fikri and Ezzah share their thoughts and feelings related to ‘The Wall’ by Odette Makhlouf and Issraa Elkogali Heggstrom’s ‘Nora’s Cloth’.

Episode 75: Selected Films from the SWANA Film Festival (part 1)

March 26th, 2021

Fikri and Ezzah return in the 75th episode of Thoughts on Films to talk about the SWANA Film Festival! Focusing on Southwest Asian and North African (SWANA) films, it was curated by Christina Hajjar and hosted by the School of Art, University of Manitoba in February 2021. In addition to a poetry reading by Hala Alyan, Fikri and Ezzah take in two films from the event's second week, Suha Araj’s ‘Rosa’ and ‘Though I Am Silent, I Shake’ by Sophie Sabet.

Episode 74: Let’s Talk about Kickflip

February 20th, 2021

The 74th episode of Thoughts on Films is a discussion between Fikri and Hafiz about 'Kickflip'! Directed by Khairil M. Bahar, it tells the story of Johan, a man facing a mid-life crisis of sorts who finds solace by turning back to one of his earlier passions, skateboarding. Released in December 2020, Fikri and Hafiz talk about the film's technical qualities, how it relates to real life, and why it’s much more than a skateboarding film. They also consider how it fits into Khairil’s filmography, as well as other socio-cultural issues the film touches on.

Episode 73: Let’s Talk about Burung-Burung

February 12th, 2021

Happy Lunar New Year to all! Fikri and Ezzah kick off the new cycle with a discussion of ‘Burung-Burung’ by Anwar Johari Ho. Having officially premiered at the 15th Jogja-NETPAC Asian Film Festival in November 2020, they connect the film with Anwar’s previous efforts, like ‘Forget Me Not’ and ‘Unforgettable’ (which he produced). In addition to an analysis of the film’s style and substance, Fikri and Ezzah also consider the significance of the film’s locations and the idea of home, the concept of merantau, and the link between instant noodle and love.

Episode 72: An Inner View with Kan Varren

February 5th, 2021

This episode of the podcast is a special interview with Malaysian filmmaker Kan Varren. The director of 'Garang', released in 2019 and billed as Malaysia's first action film to feature difabled characters in lead roles, sits down to discuss the origins of his career and how it led him to the making of his feature film debut. He also opens up on the challenges he faced in making the film, his experience in the Indian film industry, and why the film remains a source of pride and satisfaction in the face of intense criticism.

Episode 71: Riri Riza on Cinematography and Lighting

January 29th, 2021

Initially published by our sister publication CQ Magazine, this episode is a recording of a talk delivered by Riri Riza. An accomplished Indonesian filmmaker, having made numerous critical and popular successes such as 'Laskar Pelangi', 'Sokola Rimba' and 'Ada Apa Dengan Cinta? 2', he discusses the importance of cinematography and lighting. The talk was delivered in March 2015 at the National Film Development Corporation Malaysia (FINAS), and was organised by both FINAS and the Malaysian Society of Cinematographers (MySC).

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.

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