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Thoughts on Films
63 minutes | Jul 28, 2021
Episode 83: Selected Films from the 17th Mini Film Festival
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.
61 minutes | Jul 14, 2021
Episode 82: Let's Talk About Chili Powder and Thinner
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.
56 minutes | Jul 9, 2021
Episode 81: Let's Talk About Mandi Safar
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.
43 minutes | Jun 18, 2021
Episode 80: The Craft of Shadowplay (part 2)
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.
67 minutes | Jun 14, 2021
Episode 79: The Craft of Shadowplay (part 1)
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’.
55 minutes | Jun 11, 2021
Episode 78: Heating up the Stars in Malaysia
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.
53 minutes | May 30, 2021
Episode 77: Speculating on the Future of Film
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!
49 minutes | Apr 3, 2021
Episode 76: Selected Films from the SWANA Film Festival (part 2)
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’.
61 minutes | Mar 26, 2021
Episode 75: Selected Films from the SWANA Film Festival (part 1)
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.
56 minutes | Feb 12, 2021
Episode 73: Let’s Talk about Burung-Burung
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.
52 minutes | Feb 5, 2021
Episode 72: An Inner View with Kan Varren
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.
59 minutes | Jan 28, 2021
Episode 71: Riri Riza on Cinematography and Lighting
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).
53 minutes | Dec 25, 2020
Episode 70: Selected Films of the Fat Bidin COVID-19 Mini Docs Film Competition
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!
55 minutes | Dec 24, 2020
Episode 69: Of Oscars, Princesses and Islets
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…
63 minutes | Oct 21, 2020
Episode 68: The Buzzing of Bees and Crickets
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.
61 minutes | Aug 4, 2020
Episode 67: Let's Talk About Roh
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.
64 minutes | Jun 14, 2020
Episode 66: Let’s Talk About The Masseuse
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.
70 minutes | Jun 1, 2020
Episode 65: All Hands on Deck
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!
64 minutes | May 25, 2020
Episode 64: An Inner View with Anwar Johari Ho
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)!
85 minutes | May 20, 2020
Episode 63: Let’s Talk About Memories of Murder
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!
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