23rd Annual Minneapolis - St. Paul International Film Festival

The Big Durian (Non-fiction Features)
2003 - Malaysia - 75 minutes

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DIRECTOR: The Big Durian
CAST: Azmi Mohd Som, Low Ngai Yuen, Namron, Nell Ng

Malaysian independent cinema comes of age in this blend of fiction and documentary. In an effort to combat Malaysian reticence toward political discussion, Amir Muhammad focuses on the rampage of Private Adam, a military man who went on a killing spree through Kuala Lumpur in 1987. He invited people to "tell what you remember about the amok of Private Adam." Participants discussed the thorny climate of 1987, addressing politics, ethnicity, corruption and even the royal family--issues usually censored in Malaysian cinema. Some interviews feature the actual protagonists, while others showcase actors. This combination of acting, non-acting and rehearsed naturalism reveals a fascinating study of Malaysian politics as well as the larger world political stage. One of the final interviews gets at the very heart of contemporary global life- it is a staggering analysis of a political tableau that is so perverted that an individual attempt at significant action often results in one of two options: total complacency or something akin to Private Adam. Director Amir Muhammad completed a cycle of six video-essays, 6horts, in ‘02. Each of those shorts delved into hot-button aspects of Malaysian life. Rather than employing actors or stories, they combined minimal digital imagery with essayistic text. The project led to his desire to incorporate the themes explored into a feature-length piece. The Big Durian is the result. ¬–EC

EDITOR: Terence Raj
MUSIC: Hardesh Singh

Saturday, April 09 5:30pm McNally Smith Auditorium
Tuesday, April 12 9:30pm Lagoon Cinema
Wednesday, April 20 9:00pm 2