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Thoughts on Films

Media & Entertainment Podcasts

Thinking aloud on films in Malaysia and beyond.




Thinking aloud on films in Malaysia and beyond.




Episode 103: How the Brothers Ali Dunk on Films (with Care)

Fikri check in with friend of the show Iki Ali on his latest venture, the Brothers Ali YouTube channel. Launched earlier this year as a film review outlet with his brother, Sy Ali, they discuss its seeds of origin, and the scope and approach employed in their film discussion. They also consider how Iki’s film reviewing career (starting in 2010) has evolved over time, including the transition from text-based analysis to a more audio-visual form. Finally, Fikri and Iki touch on the significance of the bigger picture that is the Malaysian audio-visual film review landscape.


Episode 102: Selected Indonesian Films in 2022 (part 2)

Fikri, Nadia and Tiara conclude their discussion on selected 2022 Indonesian films. Inspired by an article in The Jakarta Post, they run through the rigmarole of films they have seen (or not) in ‘Nana’, ‘Like & Share’, ‘The Big 4’ and ‘Ngeri-Ngeri Sedap’. They discuss the communist purge in the 1960s, contexts of female conditioning, the representation of youth angst on screen, and how common cultures like Bataknese are seen on screen. They also consider films that did not make the official cut, like ‘KKN Di Desa Penari’ and ‘Sayap-Sayap Patah’.


Episode 101: Selected Indonesian Films in 2022 (part 1)

We kick off the next century of episodes by looking at selected Indonesian films from 2022. Friend of the show Nadia returns along with a debuting Tiara, and their passion for Indonesian cinema will guide Fikri through this discussion inspired by an article in The Jakarta Post. The first of two parts considers the films they have seen (or not!) in ‘Pengabdi Setan 2’, ‘Noktah Merah Perkawinan’, ‘Keramat 2’, ‘Mencuri Raden Saleh’ and ‘Evakuasi Mama Emola’, touching on the representation of female role models, the monstrous feminine in horror and whether the film landscape is still a Java-centric one.


Episode 100: The Centurion Episode

Finally, our 100th episode! Ezzah, Fikri and Muz got together (separately) to discuss their recent film experiences in Europe and Asia respectively. In the first part, Muz details the distinctions between the different parts of Italy and how it affects stories found in the likes of ‘Gomorrah’ and ‘Cinema Paradiso’. Later on, Fikri checks in on Ezzah in Scotland, exploring her latest documentary exploits, touching on the film ‘Sr.’, and discussing more deeply about life, family and distance.


Episode 99: On the Malayan Film Unit (part 2)

This episode is the final part of Fikri and Hassan Muthalib’s discussion of the Malayan Film Unit. They look at some key films like ‘The Red Book’ and ‘Abu Nawas’; given Fikri’s research interests, they also delve into the likes of ‘Letters from Home’ and ‘Rohani Steps Out’, highlighting how women are instructed to ‘behave’ in certain contexts. In relation to Malayan independence, there is also a chat about how ‘Merdeka Mission’ positioned Tunku Abdul Rahman with a more post-colonial objective in mind.


Episode 98: On the Malayan Film Unit (part 1)

In part one of a two-parter, Fikri invites friend of the show, film historian Hassan Muthalib, to discuss the Malayan Film Unit. Created by the British colonial administration, they talk about the start of Hassan’s film career and how he came to be involved with the department. They also get into its efficacy in combatting communism in the country, look at key figures like Tuan Zain and Gillie Porter, and discover its connection to films like ‘Superman’.


Episode 97: Let’s Talk about Whispers of Silence

Fikri welcomes Emily to the show to talk about ‘Whispers of Silence’ and some aspects of Burmese cinema. In the first half, they focus on the short film by Zaw Bo Bo Hein and Mg Bhone, a film released in 2018. They consider the text in its social, political and religious contexts. Subsequently, Emily expands on filmmaking in Myanmar and the experience of watching films in the country, considering the impact of censorship on filmmakers, and the role played by the Wathann Film Festival.


Episode 96: On Ang Lee and Hirokazu Koreeda (part 2)

Fikri and Thim Kian conclude their discourse on thoughts inspired by a discussion between Ang Lee and Hirokazu Koreeda. Thim Kian reflects on his personal meetings with Koreeda and Ang Lee, when he took part in film academies led by the both filmmakers. They also discuss how both have affected Thim Kian’s own filmmaking efforts, especially in areas related to editing and working with child actors, as well as the difference between fiction and non-fiction storytelling.


Episode 95: On Ang Lee and Hirokazu Koreeda (part 1)

Recorded in 2021, Fikri and Thim Kian sit down for a chat about a discussion between Ang Lee and Hirokazu Koreeda. Held at the 2020 Berlin International Film Festival, it was one of their contributions to the We Are One: A Global Film Festival. Connecting it to their contexts, Fikri and Thim Kian consider the influence of Taiwanese and Japanese films and cinema culture on the Malaysian Chinese community and filmmakers. They also mull over Ang Lee’s experience of making international films, as well as his notion of time and space in their own works.


Episode 94: Let’s Talk About Penyalin Cahaya

Fikri and Nadia waxes lyrical about the Indonesian film, ‘Penyalin Cahaya’. A big winner at Festival Film Indonesia 2021, the Wregas Banuteja-directed film has been gaining traction on Netflix. In this spoiler-filled discussion, Nadia considers how the film works in a cultural sense, as well as its depictions of university life. Meanwhile, Fikri touches on the film’s bigger picture legal contexts, such as its interaction with aspects of the law, as well as recent controversies surrounding the film itself.


Episode 93: Slinging Back into Cinemas

Fikri gets Muz back on the mic for the first time in a long time, as they discuss their thoughts on watching ‘Spiderman: No Way Home’ in cinemas. The first part covers their respective treks to cinemas in India and Indonesia, their first time back in front of the silver screen for nearly two years. Subsequently, they touch on the film itself, with Muz excited about its connections to various cinematic universes and Fikri enthused by the film’s consideration of second chances and mental health, among others.


Episode 92: Selected Indonesian Films in 2021 (part 2)

The second of a two-parter features another three of the best of Indonesian cinema in 2021. Fikri and Nadia continue their verbal Venn diagram of films selected by The Jakarta Post and Festival Film Indonesia, settling on those they’ve seen. Touching on issues related to genre filmmaking and gender and sexuality, this concluding part reaches the end with ‘Arumi & Lidah Pocong’, ‘Yuni’ and ‘Paranoia’.


Episode 91: Selected Indonesian Films in 2021 (part 1)

This episode is the first of two parts, looking at selected films from Indonesia in 2021. We welcome a special guest, Nadia Syarifah, whose keen interest in contemporary Indonesian cinema will guide Fikri and their discussion of films pruned from a listing by the Jakarta Post and the winners at Festival Film Indonesia, focusing on ‘Ali dan Ratu Ratu Queens’, ‘Seperti Dendam, Rindu Harus Dibayar Tuntas’ and ‘Nyengkuyung’.


Episode 90: The Craft of Prebet Sapu (part 2)

This is the second part of a spoiler-filled discussion with Muzzamar Rahman about his film. Having discussed the narrative of ‘Prebet Sapu’, Fikri and (the other) Muz discuss how important Kuala Lumpur is not just as the film’s background and context, but also as the third main character of the film itself. They also get into the bigger picture political subtext, and how comfortable Muz feels portraying the bigger picture political points as one of the film’s subtext.


Episode 89: The Craft of Prebet Sapu (part 1)

This spoiler-filled episode is an exclusive interview with Muzzamer Rahman about his film, ‘Prebet Sapu’. Fikri and (the other) Muz sit down for an in-depth discussion about the craft and narrative of his film. The first of two parts considers the film’s origins and the difficulties Muz faced in getting the story going. He also highlights the importance of the actors, Amerul Affendi and Lim Mei Fen, in shaping the film’s narrative progression, especially in balancing the ethnic discussion in ‘Prebet Sapu’ with other factors.


Episode 88: The Craft of Bebbra Mailin

88th time’s the charm! This episode is a special recording of Bebbra Mailin discussing the craft of her scriptwriting and storytelling. Made during a session with film students, it follows a screening of three of her films: ‘Langad di Odu’, ‘Rapuh’ and ‘Ninavau’. Along the way, Bebbra considers the personal nature of her stories and how to refine them, why it's important to be honest in your storytelling, and the scripting of fiction- and fact-based narratives.


Episode 87: An Inner View with Iki Ali

This episode is an exclusive interview with subtitlist Iki Ali. He discusses the origins of his career as a subtitlist, the challenges he has faced thus far in his career, and how those interested may get their start in the field. Fikri and Iki also considers how certain languages may be prioritised over another (or not), how his work has affected his viewing of films, and why ‘Dune’ has great subtitles. Iki did the subtitles for ‘Prebet Sapu’, which will be released in cinemas on Thursday 16th December 2021.


Episode 86: Viva la Vivo! (part 2)

The second of a two-parter completes Fikri and Ezzah’s discussion on short films made for VIVO and the Malaysian International Film Festival. This episode focuses on ‘Burger RM15’ by Muzzamer Rahman and Chong Keat Aun’s ‘The Incident’. Along the way, they share their love for Adibah Noor, find the perfect candidate to play Dr. Norman Yusoff in his biopic, and delight in being mistaken as Chinese.


Episode 85: Viva la Vivo! (part 1)

Recorded some time ago, Fikri and Ezzah take a closer look at a number of short films made for VIVO and the Malaysian International Film Festival. The first of two parts focuses on Nadira Ilana’s ‘Mansau Ansau’ and ‘The Last Thread’ by Fabien Loo. The final section of the episode somehow became a rant against outlets cutting short the end credits of films, so random projectionists in Indonesia and Korea, beware!


Episode 84: Let’s Talk About Secangkir Kopi Bersama Dia

Probably the shortest run-up to an episode, ever! Having stumbled upon ‘Secangkir Kopi Bersama Dia’ by Faliq Shariff some time ago, Fikri stumbled out of bed for a lightning recording session with Muzzafar. Based on the short story of the same name by Syaihan Syafiq, it is inspired by the fact that Fikri and Muz previously made a short film, ‘Kopi Dan Dia’, based on the same story. In the first half, they take a closer look at Faliq’s film, looking at some similarities and differences, before recalling their experience making their film nine(!) years ago.