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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.




Thinking aloud on films in Malaysia and beyond.




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,...


Episode 83: Selected Films from the 17th Mini Film Festival

Another week, another episode! Fikri and Ezzah sit down to discuss selected films from the 17th Mini Film Festival. The three films are ‘Tempat Letak Kereta’, ‘The Dalang’s Tale’ and ‘Kaalam Maari Pochu’. Nominated in the Open Category of the festival, this complements our previous coverage of the category’s other films. They discuss how the films connect with Malaysian society, domestic abuse and discussions about family.


Episode 82: Let's Talk About Chili Powder and Thinner

In our 82nd episode, Fikri and Ezzah share their thoughts about Chili Powder and Thinner. A short animation looking at the issue of police brutality in Malaysia, it has caused some controversy, with its producers questioned by the authorities. They discuss the filmmaking style, considering how using animation for real-life events may affect its reception. They also situate it in the Malaysian bigger picture, wondering how it may affect filmmakers in being open about their thoughts and...


Episode 81: Let's Talk About Mandi Safar

For this episode, we're going to go back... way back, to 1962! Fikri sits down with special guest, film historian and all-round good guy Hassan Muthalib in discussing 'Mandi Safar'. Directed by Mohd Zain Ibrahim, the film depicts a Malay tradition no longer practiced as it's deemed to be 'unIslamic'. We discuss how close the film's representation match the reality of the day, consider factors related to colonialism in the making and reading of the film, and how well it fits in with the rest...


Episode 80: The Craft of Shadowplay (part 2)

Let’s get ready to rumble! Fikri is back with Tony Pietra Arjuna for the second part of their discussion of his film, ‘Shadowplay’. This episode’s focus is on the film’s geography and distribution methods. Fikri is especially interested in the portrayal of Kuala Lumpur, and Tony divulges how the city’s development transfigured the cityscape as both a location and a witness to the proceedings in the film. They also discuss how the deal to place ‘Shadowplay’ on KiniDia came about, and the...


Episode 79: The Craft of Shadowplay (part 1)

This episode features Tony Pietra Arjuna in the hotseat! With his film ‘Shadowplay’ dropping on KiniDia, Fikri figures the time is right for an in-depth discussion into the craft of the film. The first of a two-parter, this week focuses on the narrative arc and origin, as well as how the characters are developed. Along the way, they consider the influence of David Lynch and works like ‘Run Lola Run’, the importance of his previous film ‘Cuak’ to this one, and whether the term ‘cloudwalker’...


Episode 78: Heating up the Stars in Malaysia

Back after a hiatus! Fikri and Ezzah sink their teeth into a number of juicy news bits. First up is a look at Disney+ Hotstar, which finally made its debut in Malaysia on 1st June 2021. They consider the role it plays in bring Malaysian films and television shows to new audiences, and how it fits into the local streaming landscape. In the second half, they react to Chloe Zhao’s Oscar win, and wonder how Malaysians would react to one of their own doing the same.


Episode 77: Speculating on the Future of Film

Recorded in January 2021, this week's episode is a special look at digital technologies, identity formation and what the future might be like for media like film. Hosted by Tan Meng Yoe of Monash University, it is a follow up to a guest lecture conducted by Fikri on the same topic. Additionally, these two can't make such points without a little bit of Power Rangers chat, and on that note, may the power protect you!


Episode 76: Selected Films from the SWANA Film Festival (part 2)

The second of a two-parter features Fikri and Ezzah concluding their discussion on films from the SWANA Film Festival. Organised by Christina Hajjar and the University of Manitoba in February 2021, the films touch on issues related to diaspora, dis/connection, agency and change. Here, Fikri and Ezzah share their thoughts and feelings related to ‘The Wall’ by Odette Makhlouf and Issraa Elkogali Heggstrom’s ‘Nora’s Cloth’.


Episode 75: Selected Films from the SWANA Film Festival (part 1)

Fikri and Ezzah return in the 75th episode of Thoughts on Films to talk about the SWANA Film Festival! Focusing on Southwest Asian and North African (SWANA) films, it was curated by Christina Hajjar and hosted by the School of Art, University of Manitoba in February 2021. In addition to a poetry reading by Hala Alyan, Fikri and Ezzah take in two films from the event's second week, Suha Araj’s ‘Rosa’ and ‘Though I Am Silent, I Shake’ by Sophie Sabet.


Episode 74: Let's Talk about Kickflip

The 74th episode of Thoughts on Films is a discussion between Fikri and Hafiz about 'Kickflip'! Directed by Khairil M. Bahar, it tells the story of Johan, a man facing a mid-life crisis of sorts who finds solace by turning back to one of his earlier passions, skateboarding. Released in December 2020, Fikri and Hafiz talk about the film's technical qualities, how it relates to real life, and why it’s much more than a skateboarding film. They also consider how it fits into Khairil’s...


Episode 73: Let’s Talk about Burung-Burung

Happy Lunar New Year to all! Fikri and Ezzah kick off the new cycle with a discussion of ‘Burung-Burung’ by Anwar Johari Ho. Having officially premiered at the 15th Jogja-NETPAC Asian Film Festival in November 2020, they connect the film with Anwar’s previous efforts, like ‘Forget Me Not’ and ‘Unforgettable’ (which he produced). In addition to an analysis of the film’s style and substance, Fikri and Ezzah also consider the significance of the film’s locations and the idea of home, the...


Episode 72: An Inner View with Kan Varren

This episode of the podcast is a special interview with Malaysian filmmaker Kan Varren. The director of 'Garang', released in 2019 and billed as Malaysia's first action film to feature difabled characters in lead roles, sits down to discuss the origins of his career and how it led him to the making of his feature film debut. He also opens up on the challenges he faced in making the film, his experience in the Indian film industry, and why the film remains a source of pride and satisfaction...


Episode 71: Riri Riza on Cinematography and Lighting

Initially published by our sister publication CQ Magazine, this episode is a recording of a talk delivered by Riri Riza. An accomplished Indonesian filmmaker, having made numerous critical and popular successes such as 'Laskar Pelangi', 'Sokola Rimba' and 'Ada Apa Dengan Cinta? 2', he discusses the importance of cinematography and lighting. The talk was delivered in March 2015 at the National Film Development Corporation Malaysia (FINAS), and was organised by both FINAS and the Malaysian...


Episode 70: Selected Films of the Fat Bidin COVID-19 Mini Docs Film Competition

Not long after the last one, Fikri and Ezzah are back for the 70th episode of Thoughts on Films. They dig deep into a long-planned but never-executed episode focusing on selected films from the Fat Bidin COVID-19 Mini Docs film competition! An event that ran in the middle of the year, a top-three was chosen from a shortlist of over 20. Fikri took a closer look at the podium finishers, while Ezzah (having seen them all) shared her thoughts on the best of the rest. Finally, we would like to...


Episode 69: Of Oscars, Princesses and Islets

Fikri and Ezzah get together to sembang some news of Malaysian cinema in the past weeks and months. At the forefront is a discussion about Emir Ezwan’s ‘Roh’ being selected as the nation’s submission for the Academy Awards in 2021. This is followed by a chat about ‘Puteri Gunung Ledang’ being on Netflix, powered largely by Ezzah’s enthusiasm. Finally, they spend more time on Namewee’s film ‘Babi’ and ‘The Story of Southern Islet’ by Chong Keat Aun; though both have gained acclaim elsewhere,...


Episode 68: The Buzzing of Bees and Crickets

After an unplanned hiatus, Fikri returns with a special episode in the bag! He interviews Cheng Thim Kian, a Malaysian filmmaker with not one, but two films released in 2020. In the first part, they discuss 'BEE, My Friend', looking at its theme of education and charting the journey from being a video made for a school to one that is selected for international film festivals. In the second half, they focus on 'When the Crickets Sound', a film competing in the My RODE Reel, billed as the...


Episode 67: Let's Talk About Roh

Returning from a short hiatus, Fikri and Muz return with an episode looking at Emir Ezwan’s film, ‘Roh’. They consider the film’s technical and thematic merits, discussing ‘Roh’ in the context of Malaysian horror. Along the way, Muz relates it to other films from Iran and the United States, while Fikri links it to happenings back home in Malaysia. Recorded some months ago, this episode is released now in conjunction with the exhibition of the film in Malaysian cinemas on 6th August 2020.