Kelab Seni Filem Malaysia

January 2007
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Malaysian Shorts
"What Time is it There?" DVD

The Night of Counting the Years (El Mumia)

Shadi Abdelsalam; Egypt, 1969, 102 min

An impressive directorial debut by ex-art director Shadi Abdelsalam, this film is an examination of cultural imperialism in reverse, where Western merchants steal rarities from Egyptian tombs. At first posed in moral terms - should the new chief of an Egyptian tribe allow his people to earn money by selling antiquities from 'officially' undiscovered tombs, or stop the trade at the cost of curtailing income for his poor people - the film develops into a study of the importance of defending the past from cultural exploiters. Slow-moving, but absorbing and beautifully shot.

Mon 8 Jan

Fahrenheit 451 in association with Alliance Francaise

Dir Francois Truffaut; GB, 1966, 112 min

Fahrenheit 451 is the temperature at which paper burns. Based on Ray Bradbury's science fiction novel about a society which has banned books in the interests of material well-being, Truffaut's underrated film is less science fiction than a tale of a time past. A fascinating departure from style for Truffaut, with English dialogue, shot by Nicolas Roeg, and starring Oskar Werner, Julie Christie, Cyril Cusack, Anton Diffring.

Mon 15 Jan

The Clay Bird

Tareque Masud; Bangladesh, 2003, 89 min

In the context of political tension in the late 1960s, Anu, a shy boy from rural East Pakistan (now Bangladesh), is sent away by his father, an orthodox Muslim, to a madrasah (Islamic school). Separated from his family and the warmth of his region's Hindu festivities, Anu struggles to adapt to the harsh monastic life. Back in the village, the gulf of misunderstanding between his parents grows, reflecting the increasing divide between moderate and extremist forces in the madrasah. The conflicts intensify and the country is wracked by political upheaval, culminating in the outbreak of civil war. Winner of the FIPRESCI Award, Cannes Film Festival.

Mon 22 Jan

Wings of Desire (Der Himmel über Berlin) in association with Goethe-Institut

Wim Wenders; Germany, 1987, 128 min

Part romance, part comedy, part meditation on matters political and philosophical, Wenders's remarkable film posits a world haunted by invisible angels listening to our thoughts. The minimal plot concerns two kindly angels (Bruno Ganz and Otto Sander) posted to contemporary Berlin, who encounter a myriad of mortals, including an ageing writer blighted by memories of a devastated Germany; actor Peter Falk shooting a film about the Nazi era; and a lonely trapeze artist with whom Ganz falls in love, thus prompting his desire to become mortal at last. It's full of astonishingly hypnotic images (courtesy of veteran cinematographer Henri Alekan), and manages effortlessly to turn Wenders' and Peter Handke's poetic, literary script into pure cinematic expression.Perhaps not a masterpiece, but few films are so rich, so intriguing, or so ambitious. Time Out.

Mon 29 Jan

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