Here at Electroshadow, we try as far as possible to stay away from political rhetoric. But occasionally, there is a place for it, especially when faced with such blatant propaganda as this. “Tanda Putera” is the latest effort from local filmmaker Suhaimi Baba, which basically details one of the darkest episodes in Malaysian history. The May 13 race riots, where an untold number of citizens were massacred following the opposition party’s win over the National Coalition in the General Elections.
Now, while I applaud Ms. Baba’s attempt to tell such a painful, complex story, it seems like the results do not do justice to the intent. IF, assuming, her intent was pure in the first place. The film has been blasted for it’s nonsensically skewed version of history, demonising the opposition and hero-worshipping the then Prime Minister, who just so happens to be the father of our current PM. Oh hey, the General Elections are around the corner. What an amazing coincidence! Right. But, I’ll give the filmmakers’ true ambitions the benefit of the doubt and just focus solely on the film. And based on this trailer, this could very well be one of the worst films ever committed to the big screen this year. The production values are absolutely horrendous, the acting is beyond laughable, and the script sounds like it was written by committee — if that committee were mentally retarded. It pains me to be so harsh, especially when I have not seen the final product. But let’s be brutally honest here. A trailer is supposed to present the best of a film and make an audience want to see the film. Not induce depression (unless it’s a Lars Von Trier film, but that’s different). We’ve seen our ASEAN neighbours consistently make infinitely superior films than us. Where is Malaysia on the filmmaking map?
“Tanda Putera” was initially scheduled to premiere 13th September, but has now been postponed to an unspecified date.