Monday, November 21, 2011

The lost art of filmmaking....

I remember being drawn to the movies at a very young age. I grew up watching P.Ramlee movies and I remember enjoying them very much. I was drawn to them. Growing up I had a lot of different ambitions, at 10 I wanted to follow in the footsteps of my father and become a police officer. Then at 12 I wanted to become a fashion designer and after that a writer. But through it all, I was always drawn to the silver screen. To the art of filmmaking, to acting. So when I left home to pursue my college education, I started dabbling in the entertainment industry. It all began with theatre. When I was 18, I started volunteering for the Actor's Studio at Dataran Merdeka. The first show I saw was Hip-Hopera. And I was completely drawn to the whole idea of acting and directing. Of pretending to be someone else on stage and being good at it. And then I started to pursue my love for the camera. I began working behind the scenes. I wanted to become a movie director. And today, though it may seem like I'm getting further and further away from that dream, I still hang on to it dearly. My love for motion pictures is not dead. Not yet. But something else is. Or at least, it almost is. The industry of motion pictures itself in this country. Just like my previous posting, slowly but surely (unless something drastic is done), our film industry is heading straight for the dog house. 

Some people get upset when I say that to this date, P.Ramlee remains the one and only excellent director in the country. Someone said that there are others who are good too. He said that by claiming P.Ramlee to be the only good director, am I saying that the others merely "pacak kamera" and don't know what they're doing. To this person and to all of you, I say yes. Because I have yet to see proof that anyone else can top P.Ramlee, or even come close to him. It's truly amazing to note that 50 years ago, with the lack of technology and funding, P.Ramlee managed to create works of art that continue to live on today and will continue to dazzle for a thousand years to come. And what are we doing today? With all the technology at our disposal, we keep coming up with one crap after another. So do not argue with me when I say P.Ramlee is the one and only. One thing P.Ramlee had that our directors today seem to lack is an eye for detail. And the fact that he held on to the importance of talent. Today we cast first and then find a stupid story to work around our cast. Some dumbass with money will say, here's 1 million bucks, I want to make a movie with Erra Fazira in it. And that is how the cancer began.

I was watching the 24th FFM awards show last Sunday. The show itself was a reflection of the dying industry. Is this what it has come to? It may seem like nothing. but this is the proverbial straw that will eventually break the camel's back. Didie Alias's horrifying rendition of Lady Gaga. Sad, but true. Majority of the public seemed to be okay with this. The reflection of what's wrong with our industry. And the cancer spreads.

The hosts, Ogy and Johan were the oddest thing you ever saw on stage. Their fit couldn't be more wrong. It was like watching a live telecast of an open heart surgery. It was beyond painful. For some reason, Ogy thought it was necessary for her to behave like a hyped-up teenager. 

She was literally jumping and bouncing and babbling away. And of course no airtime with Ogy is complete without her rambling her cv away. Yes we know you won an award before, yes we know Jins Shamsudin is your mentor, yes we know you used to be married to Eman Manan. At this rate, who doesn't? Do you have to remind us every chance you get? Whoever thought it was a good idea to pair Ogy and Johan together was probably high on crack. It made childbirth a better option to watch.
Astro seems to be taking over our major award shows in the country. Perhaps our terrestrial channels are running away due to low ratings. It may seem like Astro's saving the day, but what is their excuse for the crappy production? And what's with the Anugerah Astro First? That seems to be an acknowledgement for sheer stupidity. As it is, the creation of Astro First is pretty much giving pirates an easier way to kill the industry. We bark about ending piracy, tighten securities here and there, and here we are leaving the backdoor open for the pirates to enter freely. And we give an award for the most watched movie on Astro First? Wow, just when you think it can't get any shittier, Astro proves to us that it most definitely can.

Syamsul Yusof. Best director. Really? Amazing how low the standards have become. A young punk, riding on daddy's name, makes a couple of movies about fast cars, mat rempits and gangsters, and he's the best director? What can I say, our audience are really accepting. Put a bunch of good looking celebs in the movie, and voila, the public laps it up. Doesn't matter if those people can't act. Doesn't matter if the director doesn't pay attention to the details. Doesn't matter as long as there's enough make-up, enough fake eyelashes and enough mushy scenes. That sells. Quality apparently doesn't.

To point out the flaws in our movie industry would take me a very, very long time. There's just too much. And it saddens me. How our audience keep making excuses. Keep accepting. Unless and until you people start demanding for quality, the industry will continue to wither and one day die a horrible death. What P.Ramlee fought for would just fizzle away. I pray that this will not happen. I pray that the audience will have the sense to one day say, "Enough!" I pray for the day where people like Farid Kamil and Lisa Surihani can no longer depend on how cute they look together to sell a movie.

The next time you support a Razak Mohaideen movie, or a Yusof Haslam, think first. Have they improved? Or are they still using you with their shoddy work? Exploiting your acceptance with good looking celebs? If you let them use you, know that you are helping to kill the industry. Helping to kill the work of our great legend, P.Ramlee. Helping to murder quality. Raise the bar people! Unless and until we demand for quality, death for the industry is imminent.

1 comment:

  1. a tthe rate the industry is goin i am bracing myself for its slow n humiliating death. much hav been said and criticised but not much been done to break the so called grasp of usop selam n his clans, as well as razak mohaideen n the likes. as long as these ppl exist in msia, they will continue to make crappy movies and crappy public who, like u said, harp on the cuteness of its cast will accept and applaud it.