Friday, January 13, 2006

Brokeback and backward Malaysia

It's not that it is a surprise anyway. It's more like a confirmation of what we have already known.

The Star, 13 January 2006
Cinemas will not show Ang Lee film

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysians will not have the chance to watch Ang Lee's Brokeback Mountain, which picked up seven nominations for the Jan 16 Golden Globe Awards on the big screen.

The film, which is distributed by Focus Features in the United States, is not on any local distributors list.

Dawn Liew, promotions and publicity manager with United International Pictures (M) – which is the distributor for another Focus Features' film, Pride & Prejudice – said: “As far as UIP (M) is concerned, we don't have plans to release it. We are not even sure if the movie is ours to distribute in Malaysia.”

Brokeback Mountain, she said, was unsuitable for local consumption.

The epic western is the first big-budget Hollywood movie to open the closet doors on a gay-themed movie. It is a story of a two-decade romance between two cowboys.

The movie even faced problems in the town of Sandy, Salt Lake City, United States where a movie theatre pulled it out at the last minute.

On a more positive note, Malaysians may just be able to watch controversial film, Munich, directed by Steven Spielberg and starring Eric Bana.

Liew confirmed that UIP had Munich scheduled for an April 13 opening in Malaysia.

“We will bring in the print in March and submit it to the Film Censorship Board. Although the chances of the film getting through is slim, we believe there is a niche market for Munich,” she said.

Munich tells the story of vengeance that Israel allegedly vented against Palestinian terrorists after the 1972 Olympics tragedy in Munich. Eleven Israeli hostages were murdered by a group known as Black September whose members were Palestinians.

It is based on George Jonas' book Vengeance: The True Story of an Israeli Counter-Terrorism Team.

"Unsuitable for local consumption?"

# the process of taking food into the body through the mouth (as by eating)
# (economics) the utilization of economic goods to satisfy needs or in manufacturing; "the consumption of energy has increased steadily"
# the act of consuming something

Whatever gives her the idea that movies are for consuming? Movies are for viewing. And hopefully, to spur thinking.

When you consume something, you take or swallow it as a whole. Hook, line and sinker. It just goes in.

Without dissecting, discussing or digesting.

No wonder the movie is not going to be shown. They expect Malaysian viewers to "consume" the movie and (horrors of horrors!) turn gay! Teenagers would turn bitchy, single men would have better fashion sense and married men would sign up for Fitness First membership in droves.

The day that such movies would be shown would be the day when a non-Bumiputra (non-native or immigrant) becomes the Prime Minister of Malaysia.

Or the day when Malaysians be less gullible and to think for themselves. To verify facts before believing in them.

Imagine, someone who claimed that he's worth USD 46 billion and not listed in Forbes's list of richest people in the world and unheard of.

If Malaysians (with the consent of the film censors and moral authorities?) are more exposed to the world, in terms of differences in opinion and culture and diversity of the human race; the good and the bad; the minority's views and perspectives; to be able to speak up without fear of being detained - basically to grow up and be allowed to do so, wouldn't that make us more intellectually discerning and more progressive as a society?

We can't continue deluding ourselves with our "morally superior Eastern values" and reject "Western culture". It's time to realise and accept that, banned movies or not, these things are already happening on our shores.

Would I be lucky enough to see these things happen in my lifetime? For things to be seen clearly for what they are and not with rose-tinted glasses?


Anonymous said...

Who defines wht is right or wrong? One person may see it as good and another as bad. People say that being Gay is western Value but why western? Is it because they are located in the west? If so, why are we called asians? Should we not be refered to as westerners to those living in Australia and New Zealand? It all boilds down to the individual's up bringing. We are not born to hate, we are taught to hate. Thus Education is the most important resource.

Kit said... really faster than the press line as me :P

Well, it's pretty sure than this movie will not show locally, at least not in this decade yet! Haha...still got pirate DVD mah...

I bought the book of "Brokeback Mountain" a month ago at MPH, though the short story just part of the book, it's worth to read it.

Hope to watch it someday...

Jay said...

In Malaysia, even a kiss between two consenting heterosexual adults is deemed too sordid for our television screens.

Brokeback Mountain had no chance.

savante said...

Darlin, we might rail at the system but it's there unfortunately. Sigh! I don't think we'd ever get Brokeback Mountain shown here.

Thankfully we have pirated DVDs to make up for the lack.


Legolas said...

Show or not show, just don't bloody blame me for buying the pirated DVD. ;-p

akihisa said...

My worst fear has been confirmed !!!! So, if any of you guys manage to come across the movie on DVD around here, please..please....please, spread the word. ;-p


KW said...

fuckity fuck fuck

Alex said...

Not surprised. I'll be surprised if it's shown here. Anyway, either I'll get it on pirated copy or downloading it from GT.
Forget the censors & policy makers, Reasoning has forsaken them.

mARCus said...

Showing BM in Malaysia is like expecting the sun to rise from the west...When will they ever be more open? It's not like we are all freaks...

Im dying to leave the country...

AJ said...

We all know how backwards things can be here! Its like the time the almost banned Babe because the lead was a pig!

That being said we do get Queer Eye for the Straight Guy & the super campy Aznil, which is really step forward....

Derek said...

anonymous: I agree.

kit: Yup, we all are looking forward it.

jay: Sigh. Unfortunately. You're so lucky to be in the UK.

savante: I do hope there will be pirated versions. We have to count on the peddlers to be savvy enough to realise there is demand for it.

legolas: Of course no one is gonna blame you, honey.

We just blame the censors and the government!

akihisa: Will do. We'll definitely tell once we know the DVD is out. ;P

kw: Yup.

alex: I will most probably do the same. ;P

marcus: I believe your sentiments are shared by quite a number of gay Malaysians as well.

Of course, there are those who persist and believe that things will change one day, thus staying here to fight the good fight.

aj: Showing Queer Eye is a tiny step forward. But er ... Aznil? ;P

Anonymous said...

Lol... hehehe happen to visit this page while browsing... guys, really that movie sucks! It's nothing more than a crappy film it just got to da list becus it brings the gay issues... most ppl who are neutral in this matter turn to YUCK! after seein this movie... people just got more curious to see it especially bcus it is forbidden in MY....

my advice is, just watch the movie bring your mates, your nephews, kids, brothers, sisters, grand parents and EVERYONE and see this THE MOST WANTED FILM IN MALAYSIA ....


Derek said...

anonymous: Thanks for dropping by. Hmmm ... I wonder where you linked from.

As I have not seen the film, I shall reserve my comments. But the short story itself, I find it rather moving. With Ang Lee's masterful direction, I believe he brought more nuances and character to the screen.

And I really hope that what you said is not true - people who are neutral turn hateful towards gays after the movie. If a beautiful love story, the only difference being between two males, induce such reactions, they might not be very neutral in the first place.

Anonymous said...

u got misunderstood... they do not turn hateful they just turn yucks... i'm a penultimate british medical student in UK, yea we learn about homosexuality and yea, we should be neutral cuz we see gay patients everyday. n i still stick with my stand.

human are the only species that fight the balance of nature, which rule the opposite attract for complimentary. electron-proton, matter-antimatter, day-night, male-female, yin-yang....

homosexuality doesnt occur among animals, it disrupt the survival of species... only humans violate the nature... and this movie will just create confusion among children and young people and encourage more gays..

Anonymous said...

Censorship is a dirty word but I do not know why asian countries tend to practice this more than western ones. 'Asians' claim themselves to be conservative and religious by nature but the bottom line is that they are human just like any counter-part from the western world. So being human makes them susceptible to err.

I find Malaysia's action really strange, on one hand they allow shows like Sex and the city, Queer eye for the straight guy and Two and a half men to be shown on national tv but they cannot allow a highly acclaimed movie like Brokeback to be shown in their local theatres which mind you only reaches a minority of the population as compared to TV. and Malaysia is infamous for its DVD/VCDs which are sold in the market even before the theatrical realease of the film.

Anyway for all you Brokeback fans out there, just make a trip across the causeway to Singapore to catch the movie which opens here on 16.02.2006. The movie has been left intact under Singapore's rating system. The movie is rated R21 so u need to be above 21.

Anonymous said...

I just watched Brokeback today and the movie moved me to tears. I have never seen a love (and not lust) so intense as experienced by Jack and Ennis (played by Heath Ledge and Jake Glyenhaal respectively). Their love for each other spans 20 years. At the end of the movie I could feel the emptiness that Ennis was feeling at the demise of Jack as he held on to one of Jack's shirt which he had worn on Brokeback Mountain. I dont usually cry at movies but this movie really moved me a lot. The scenery was simply breath taking.

Russ (from Singapore)

Derek said...

Hi Russ,

Thanks for your comments. Are you the anonymous of the previous comment as well?

Anyway, I watched it two weeks back. Somehow, the movie lacks the emotional impact which I got from the short story. I think I would need to watch it another time to really get the nuances in those longing glances and drawn silences.

Cheers Russ.

Anonymous said...

Hi Derek

Sorry for the late reply. Yes, I was the contributor for the previous comment as well. I had inadvertently omitted to put down my name at the end.

As all individuals are different, each of us would view and react to this movie differently. Some would feel more while others less for this movie.

Russ (from Singapore)

Anonymous said...

Movie goers who would like to catch all the academy award nominated films, make your way to Singapore to watch the following films which are currently screening here:

a) Capote (NC16)
b) Mrs Henderson presents (M18)
c) Munich (M18)
d) Brokeback Mountain (R21)
e) Transamerica (R21)
f) Walk the line (PG)
g) The constant gardener (NC16)

And at the sametime you can catch the following non-nominated films:

a) Underworld Evolution (M18)
b) Gubra (PG) - this is a follow-up Malay movie to Sepet
c) Wolf Creek (NC16)
d) An unfinished life (PG)

Ben Stiller's Zoolander had its ban lifted here and it just ended its run.

PG - Parental guidance
NC16 - Only for those above 16
M18 - only for those above 18
R21 - only for those above 21

So enjoy your popcorn and the movie.