The Malaysian film industry has gradually been gaining popularity among audiences worldwide. With recent local productions such as M for Malaysia and Upin & Ipin in the running for Oscar nominations, it is clear that the local film industry has come a long way.
Without further ado (and in random order), here are 5 movies that capture the essence of the Malaysian spirit!
1. Ola Bola (2016)
Nothing brings Malaysians together quite like our love for football! Inspired by true events and the glory days of our national football team, ‘Ola Bola’ details the journey of a multicultural team of footballers qualifying for the 1980 Olympics.
Directed by Chiu Keng Guan, this masterpiece highlights racial unity and a sporting spirit. Upon its release, the movie managed to earn multiple accolades including the Best Original Film Song at the prestigious Taiwan Golden Horse Award.
2. Sepet (2005)
Who can forget the works of the late Yasmin Ahmad? Whether it is a festive commercial or a movie, the late film director certainly left an indelible mark on her audience.
Released in February 2005, Sepet tells the tale of a Chinese boy who falls madly in love with a Malay girl. Despite social stigmas, the couple continues to pursue their interracial relationship. To date, this remains a popular Malaysian teen romantic-comedy film featuring a multiracial cast of Malaysians.
3. The Journey (2014)
This is another remarkable film from Ola Bola’s director, Chiu Keng Guan.
A comedy flick which revolves around a conservative Chinese father holding on to strict Chinese customs who struggles to accept his future Caucasian son-in-law. However, after a journey together, the duo eventually learned to accept their differences.
4. Chemman Chaalai (2005)
A lesser-known Malaysian production, Chemman Chaalai (The Gravel Road) tells the story of Shantha, a young girl from a rubber estate who aspires to leave familiar waters to further her studies. The plot highlights the struggle of many Malaysian Indians from similar backgrounds such as rubber estates where educational opportunities for women are much less.
The director, Deepak Kumaran Menon hopes to draw attention to common issues faced by the the younger generation growing up in such circumstances and the importance of education as a tool of social upliftment.
5. Pendekar Bujang Lapok (1959)
This Malaysian classic features a trio of legendary actors, P. Ramlee, S. Shamsuddin and Aziz Sattar. It depicts the journey of three (over-aged) bachelors and their friendship in mastering the art of self-defence in a bid to rescue a love interest.
*Featured image sourced from The City List