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
BY MUMTAJ BEGUM
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?