Thursday, April 4, 2024


Over the past few years I have become conscious that engaging films are increasingly coming out of Asia and not just Japan, South Korea and India.  Thailand and the Philippines have a long tradition, but I am now noticing Indonesia, Singapore and lately Malaysia.  The world is increasingly linked and bright minds have more resources to use in creative manners.

"Pulang" (2018) is an unusual love story.   A husband leaves his wife to sail around the world seeking a fortune promising to return.  She waits in total 61 years.  At one point she travels to Hong Kong and misses him by a day or so.  We follow the husband and also his son and grandson.  He felt a failure because he was no better off than when he left.  One friend, Lum was in occasional contact with him.  Not all love stories have a happy ending, but here there is left a feeling of timeless love.

The film is professionally done.  The cast and crew are to be commended pushing the Malaysian cinema forward.

A key figure in the development of this film ua Ahmad Isham Omar who discovered a gravestone of his grandfather in Liverpool, England.  He is listed as writer, uncredited producer and for the theme music.  He started with music being a musician, arranger, songwriter and producer.  At one time he was an executive producer with Disney+ responsible for Southeast Asia content.  He has 9 credits for producing films and 2 as a writer.  

Kabir Bhatia was director and lead editor.  Born in India he got some experience with Indian television before heading to Malaysia.  His first film directing in Malaysia was remade in Indonesia and he was invited to direct it.  He has 27 directing, 12 producing and 8 writing credits including "Don" (2006).

Aubrey Suwito wrote the music. He has 2 music credits.

Zambrees Haras handled the cinematography with 9 credits.

Remy Ishak played Othman.  He has 40 credits.  

Puteri Aisha with 4 acting credits.

Alvin Wong play Lum, the friend.  He has played in Malaysian, Indonesian and Cantonese films,   He has 32 film credits.

Juliana Evans played Alia, a British relative.  Her father was English.  She was raised in Malayasia and got a start young.  At age 12 she was a host on television and at age 16 hosted a popular tv. show.  She also was a rhytmic gymnast.  Juliana studied acting at Western Michigan University.  She went on to study acting at the Los Angeles campus for the New York Film Academy.  She has 17 film credits.

This film would be a good introduction to Malaysian cinema.  Available on Netflix with subtitles.

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