Thursday, January 13, 2011

Shows I Want To Do, Stories I Want To Tell

I just read my old editor Zainal Alam Kadir's column for tomorrow's paper - one of the perks of being a journalist - and I do have to agree on his points regarding the Malaysian music industry.

Ana Raffali's win - for whatever it's worth - shows that anyone can go and work to make their music known.

In my days as an observer of the industry, I must say that I have met and interviewed a lot of people hopeful of sharing their music with the world, or making lots of money through their creativity.

Ana's win, shows that you do not need a full hype machinery to send waves (in this case, more like shockwaves) in the industry.

I'm not comparing anyone to anything, but the late Yasmin Ahmad's films did just that for the film industry.

She showed that yes, there is hope for doing things that you want to do, creatively. That it is possible to do things not dictated by the whims of large organisations.

Her films are not in my top 10, or even top 40, but they are important because they showed the way.

I have things I want to do. I have stories I want to tell. I am unhappy, when I am not doing them, or telling them.

I want to create a website that would redefine the role of journalists, the way people interact with the Internet, and the way marketers and advertisers engage their customer base.

For movies, I want to tell stories - some, very silly, some hopefully heartbreaking and sad, in a funny way.

I want to do a few animated series. Some, very simple in its execution. Some, extremely difficult.

I want to create a game that would redefine online gaming.

I believe that Malaysia is ready for such projects. I applaud whenever some people do some daring stuff, like some projects I have been involved in. Hikayat Merong Mahawangsa - I am proud and honoured to be part of that project, because with so little, the producers, directors, cast and crew members all have managed to pull off something that seemed impossible at first glance.

I was also involved with some other groundbreaking stuff, with lots of different people in recent years, and I sometimes end up wondering, how the hell do these people have the balls to do shit like that?

We do have our shortcomings. In every and all aspect. Our budget is small, our markets miniscule. And yet, with these limitations, some of us have come up with ways to beat the system.

It's like all these discussions I had when I was 19, in online forums. We were discussing about how Iranian films are way better than Malaysian films, despite severe limitations and obstacles.

I believe that as a whole, we can do this shit. We can take all the things that set us back - whatever they may be - and be creative to work around it.

I mean, if we can't beat Australians in swimming, try and beat them on bikes. If we can't beat China's industry, try badminton.

If our markets are small, widen it by going international. How do you capture the international market?

Well, a Malaysian Lady Gaga rip-off will never fly in the States. We can always go for originality, and that comes with a full sense of self-knowledge and acceptance.

Take films, for example. If we do an Avatar, no matter how good the copy, it is still a copy.

I am intrigued with Hong Kong cinema in the '80s as well as the emerging Japanese productions today.

In the '80s, Hong Kong cinema worked like a factory, churning out as many shit as possible. Some of that shit, is one of my favourite movies - Wong Kar Wai's Chungking Express.

I have also been watching a lot of Japanese movies and live action TV series. Japanese stuntwork - a non-entity years ago - is becoming better and better. Check out Cutey Honey The Live TV series. That show has some of the best stuntworks I have seen in recent years - bar none.

Japanese cinema is also going for variety. Influenced by the '70s, they have been churning out stuff like Sukiyaki Western Django - a Japanese spaghetti western which is so deliriously stupid, I reccommend it to everyone - Machine Girl, which parodies and tributes '70s exploitation cinema as well as my new favourite - Robogeisha.

Most Japanese silly movies have a lot of heart. Even the most bizarre. And the most bizarre Japanese movie I have ever seen in my life, is either Tetsuo the Iron Man or Visitor Q.

Despite beginning with the question, "When was the last time you had sex with your daughter?" before showing a father having sex with his daughter, and having scenes of necrophilia and milking fetishes, Visitor Q is a very strong family movie at its core.

Tetsuo the Iron Man meanwhile, to me, is a treatise on rejection of today's modern world and changing values - especially sex.

I want to do movies like that. Not Visitor Q, cause I can never do a Takashi Miike in this country, but something that has a profound philosophical core, while having an ultimately silly outer shell.

Oh well. I'm just wanking.