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AMIR MUHAMMAD RETROSPECTIVE
The Big Durian The Big Durian

Country: Malaysia
Year: 2003
Duration: 75'
Direction: Amir Muhammad
Photograph: Woo Ming Jin
Editor: Terence Raj
Music: Hardesh Singh
Animation: DeepakKumaranMenon
Production: James Lee



Sinopsis

October, 1987. A soldier runs amok with an M16 in the area of Chow Kit in Kuala Lumpur and starts shooting people. The events cause citywide panic and prompt a rash of rumors that race has incited the violence. A few days later, the government begins a nationwide crackdown by detaining over 100 opposition leaders and members of civil society organizations, in what becomes known as Operation Lalang. The consequences of this “Operation” completely changed the way the citizens saw the police, the legal system and the politicians. But what did actually happen? Why was Kuala Lumpur primed and ready to blow? Muhammad speaks to over 20 Malaysians (some real, some fictional)aiming to recreate not only these events but also the incendiary atmosphere -due to a wide array of ethnic, religious, social and political divisions- that existed in Malaysia at the time. His unconventional approach, including a varied palette of visual elements and a distinct sense of humor, provides a unique insight into contemporary local politics in a place we used to know at that time too little about.


FESTIVALS/AWARDS
VANCOUVER INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL 2004: Dragons and Tigers Award
YAMAGATA INTERNATIONAL DOCUMENTARY FILM FESTIVAL 2003: New Asian Currents Special Mention
SUNDANCE FILM FESTIVAL 2004, HAWAII FILM FESTIVAL 2003, SINGAPURE INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL 2003, HONG KONG INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL 2004
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