Friday 21 August 2009

Our 15Malaysia short: THE TREE

When Pete Teo approached me to do one of the 15Malaysia shorts, the first thought I had in mind was to shoot something in Kelantan. It has always seemed like a special state, even though I hadn't spent much time there. And, although I am not a PAS member, Tok Guru Nik Aziz immediately became the first candidate for interview.

(My review of a book related to him is here. With a further addendum here, since it's dangerous to think that any politician is perfect!)

After just a bit of emailing with his staff, we were granted a casual interview in his office. I had told him to explicate a hadith on the economy, and he chose this one.

The visual backdrop for most of it is Kota Bahru's Pasar Siti Khatijah, a market run primarily by women, an interesting contrast to the more patriarchal image of Islam.

It's really something short and simple. It's probably the least ironic thing I have made -- except for my cameo perhaps. It occurred to me that a hadith is actually like a short film; it can be seen as merely an anecdote, but can be teased out and expanded more if your heart is open to it. Or you can just say: "I don't understand" and get on with your life; that's cool, too.

This modest short was also my chance to work with some of my favourite people, all of whom had shot with me before: Hardesh Singh (The Big Durian, Lelaki Komunis Terakhir, Tokyo Magic Hour, Susuk, Apa Khabar Orang Kampung) on sound; Shan (Malaysian Gods) on camera, Danny Lim (The Big Durian, Apa Khabar Orang Kampung) on still camera, and Azharr Rudin (The Year of Living Vicariously, Lelaki Komunis Terakhir) as editor.


Tok Rimau said...

Sesuai sangat untuk bersihkan hati menjelang Ramadhan ni. Dan Mmm tergelak bila ada lelaki cuba mengukur baju di badan sendiri. ha ha ha. All in all, comey lote video ni!

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Anonymous said...

Love it.

atikah w. said...

this, to me, is incredibly interesting. on one hand, you made a video about a hadith with possibly the most famous local muslim icon. on another hand, you just published a controversial anthology about LGBT. a wide spectrum you're working on there.

Amir Muhammad said...

"They call me Legion; for I am many."


Anonymous said...

Amir, tell the truth and shame the Devil.

"Do I contradict myself?
Very well then I contradict myself,
(I am large, I contain multitudes.)"

fadz said...

pada minit 2.15 bila Tok Guru kata "bila menanam (pokok tu), mestilah dari bumi-bumi yang halal". lalu tiba2 hitam, dan tertulis, BN - Kami memberi tanah-tanah yang halal untuk bercucuk tanam.

Kalaulah Pak Lah masih PM, mesti dia bangga, hhehehehe//

HS Wong said...

I embedded said short in my blog. Hope that's OK.



Shao Loong said...

I like your thought about a hadith being like a short film. After all, is not a hadith meant to convey a pithy lesson/idea? A similar purpose to the short film or essay.

Oh yes, I liked this film and certainly did think it was your least ironic.