Thoughts on Films

Thinking aloud on films in Malaysia and beyond.

Episode 83: Selected Films from the 17th Mini Film Festival

July 28th, 2021

Another week, another episode! Fikri and Ezzah sit down to discuss selected films from the 17th Mini Film Festival. The three films are ‘Tempat Letak Kereta’, ‘The Dalang’s Tale’ and ‘Kaalam Maari Pochu’. Nominated in the Open Category of the festival, this complements our previous coverage of the category’s other films. They discuss how the films connect with Malaysian society, domestic abuse and discussions about family.

Episode 82: Let’s Talk About Chili Powder and Thinner

July 14th, 2021

In our 82nd episode, Fikri and Ezzah share their thoughts about Chili Powder and Thinner. A short animation looking at the issue of police brutality in Malaysia, it has caused some controversy, with its producers questioned by the authorities. They discuss the filmmaking style, considering how using animation for real-life events may affect its reception. They also situate it in the Malaysian bigger picture, wondering how it may affect filmmakers in being open about their thoughts and feelings.

Episode 81: Let’s Talk About Mandi Safar

July 9th, 2021

For this episode, we're going to go back... way back, to 1962! Fikri sits down with special guest, film historian and all-round good guy Hassan Muthalib in discussing 'Mandi Safar'. Directed by Mohd Zain Ibrahim, the film depicts a Malay tradition no longer practiced as it's deemed to be 'unIslamic'. We discuss how close the film's representation match the reality of the day, consider factors related to colonialism in the making and reading of the film, and how well it fits in with the rest of Zain Ibrahim's filmography.

Episode 80: The Craft of Shadowplay (part 2)

June 18th, 2021

Let’s get ready to rumble! Fikri is back with Tony Pietra Arjuna for the second part of their discussion of his film, ‘Shadowplay’. This episode’s focus is on the film’s geography and distribution methods. Fikri is especially interested in the portrayal of Kuala Lumpur, and Tony divulges how the city’s development transfigured the cityscape as both a location and a witness to the proceedings in the film. They also discuss how the deal to place ‘Shadowplay’ on KiniDia came about, and the film's other other distribution and exhibition plans.

Episode 79: The Craft of Shadowplay (part 1)

June 14th, 2021

This episode features Tony Pietra Arjuna in the hotseat! With his film ‘Shadowplay’ dropping on KiniDia, Fikri figures the time is right for an in-depth discussion into the craft of the film. The first of a two-parter, this week focuses on the narrative arc and origin, as well as how the characters are developed. Along the way, they consider the influence of David Lynch and works like ‘Run Lola Run’, the importance of his previous film ‘Cuak’ to this one, and whether the term ‘cloudwalker’ is included because Tony couldn’t get the rights to ‘skywalker’.

Episode 78: Heating up the Stars in Malaysia

June 11th, 2021

Back after a hiatus! Fikri and Ezzah sink their teeth into a number of juicy news bits. First up is a look at Disney+ Hotstar, which finally made its debut in Malaysia on 1st June 2021. They consider the role it plays in bring Malaysian films and television shows to new audiences, and how it fits into the local streaming landscape. In the second half, they react to Chloe Zhao’s Oscar win, and wonder how Malaysians would react to one of their own doing the same.

Episode 77: Speculating on the Future of Film

May 30th, 2021

Recorded in January 2021, this week's episode is a special look at digital technologies, identity formation and what the future might be like for media like film. Hosted by Tan Meng Yoe of Monash University, it is a follow up to a guest lecture conducted by Fikri on the same topic. Additionally, these two can't make such points without a little bit of Power Rangers chat, and on that note, may the power protect you!

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.

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