I sit back with glee and watch lots of people discuss the local film industry. These are mostly people who are making or want to make movies. Plus the ones who hope for more varied fare.
Even the Twt_Malaysia moderator this week (Tengku Iskandar) is a film student, so he talks a lot about the industry and also about films, bringing his perspective on the Indonesian scene.
When I went to Indonesia last year, I tapped into my usual network of hookers and sex workers for some perspective.
While in Thailand, some girls like movies by 'Chocolate Man' (Wesley Snipes), I find Jakarta hookers to be very angry at their own local film industry. The reason is that the film industry in Indonesia is protected by taxes or levies imposed on foreign films. This resulted in almost an effective ban on foreign films in 2011.
The hookers I polled said they now hate the entire film and TV industries, and focus only on dangdut stars such as the unique Ayu Ting Ting (Ayu the Virgin).
Others have claimed that the standard for Indonesian movies have increased post-ban with such movies as The Raid: Redemption, Java Heat, Modus Anomali, etc.
I don't know if the hookers are detached from the general psyche, but if their words have any modicum of truth in them, I believe the Government and relevant bodies should NOT impose taxes and levies on foreign films like Indonesia did.
The arts - no matter how commercial it is - goes back to a busker/bard/storyteller who sings/tells stories and gets thrown a cent or two. It would be dumb to piss off those who pay creative people the money to ensure the survival of the craft. After all, we are not the Malaysian automotive industry, are we?
If you create resentment in an industry that thrives on goodwill, they'll pirate and torrent the shit out of local films. Some do now, out of spite, but playing rough is no way to win friends and allies.
I say, let them have their Twilight and Harry Potter, their Iron Men and Transformers. I have not seen The Raid: Redemption or Java Heat, but my favourite Indonesian movies were Janji Joni and Bomoh Lintah and Siluman Kera Putih, Panji Semerang and Si Buta Dari Gua Hantu. Plus that Jaka Sembung movie where Barry Prima gets turned into a blind black pig after he lost his amulet.
There was even a horror-gore movie about a batch of defective soda that causes your penis to explode or something.
ALL those wonderful movies were made BEFORE the effective ban on foreign films.
All in all, a lot of people are now brave enough to say a lot of things about Malaysian films and Malaysian cinema. This is great! NOW I can go back to writing fiction. SOme of them, hopefully, will be made into movies.