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malaysian-cinema@yahoogroups.com

From: Elaine
To: malaysian-cinema@yahoogroups.com
Sent: 17 December, 2003
Subject: Point Blank: Forget P. Ramlee, he's the man from the past

Beg to differ. current malaise due to industry forgetting that we are competing globally.'Katak di bawah tempurung'. We cant even make Msian films BIG in malaysia and indonesia. Dont attribute someone who is long gone dead for current state of events. It is totally STUPID! Every year, we have to endure P. Ramlee retro stuff and Saloma reruns.... and only about 12 new badly made movies if we're lucky. It is no wonder that we are watching Indian movies, Chinese movies, Korean movies, Japanese Anime and Hollywood movies. If we have any energy left, we'll watch Malaysian movies.... What's wrong with Malaysian movies? My view.. not many people know how to tell a story well visually and musically.

cheers, elaine

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Point Blank: Forget P. Ramlee, he's the man from the past
by Johan Jaaffar

P. RAMLEE was ... < deleted >


From: Zarul Shahrin Albakri
To: malaysian-cinema@yahoogroups.com
Sent: 16 December, 2003
Subject: Point Blank: Forget P. Ramlee, he's the man from the past

An interesting fact,in my point of view,is that his work seems to take a downturn just around the time that Malaysia called in Merdeka.Our independence,it would appear,left our film industry in a right mess.A mess that we, after 45 years,are still trying to clean up.

No,we should remember Ramlee,because he represents a time that was lost to a political colonization of our film industry.And now after after all this time,and all our BOLEH's maybe we can spare a thought for our film industry with so many TAK BOLEH'S.

Ramlee,to me,represents all that we have lost in a time of economic growth and selfishness.

ZSA B.Kin Filem

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Point Blank: Forget P. Ramlee, he's the man from the past
by Johan Jaaffar

P. RAMLEE was ... < deleted >


From: Rajanparameswaran
To: malaysian-cinema@yahoogroups.com
Sent: 15 December, 2003
Subject: P Ramli

Came across this interesting article in the Saturday edition of NST. www.nst.com.my/Current_News/NST/Saturday/Columns/20031213093428/Article

It suggests, among other things, that P Ramlee's films "did not instill the right and positive values" , were influenced by "run of the mill escapists fare from India", and while post NEP helped Malays materially, " Malays live in a world of make-believe world of grand Malay films...urge to forget P Ramlee...to forge ahead to face the brave and unpredictable world"..Phew.

Thought the man was the Great Entertainer, now it seems that he exerts such a strong hold on us from the grave, and his movies are also responsible for our current malaise.

rajan


From: Zaedi Zolkafli
To: malaysian-cinema@yahoogroups.com
Sent: 26 July, 2003
Subject: Truly Malaysian Films

Greetings,
How do we define 'truly Malaysian film'? It must have these elements: i. must not have wholly Malay input (casting and production), ii. must not target at only Malay audience, and iii. must not be purely Malay content plot. The last one is rather subjective.

The first postwar Malay film, 'Singapura Di Waktu Malam' / 'Singapore At Night' (1947) produced by the Shaw Brothers (who migrated to Singapore from Shanghai), directed by B S Rajhans from India and starred Siput Sarawak was a 'truly Malaysian (then Malaya) film'. It was made for the mixed local audience (Malays, Chinese, Indians, British expatriates included). In fact, the early Malay film industry consisted of Chinese, Malays and Indians as film casts and crew.

Audience per se, the 'Pontianak' series (1950s/60s) with Malay actors were considered 'truly Malaysian films'. The film producers (actress-turned-producer Maria Menado and several Chinese) were targeting at multi-racial market. The horror plots became instant hit with local Malays and Chinese alike.

From Merdeka Studio there was P Ramlee's 'Sesudah Suboh' (1967) which introduced ex-Miss Malaysia Veera Wee, among the Chinese in main roles. So was P Ramlee's 'Gerimis' (1968) that featured Chandra Shanmugan as his love interest. Both films had Chinese and Indian female actor in lead roles respectively and accompanied by multi-racial characters, multi-cultural families, even multi-racial music background. A mixed (i.e. 'rojak') plots for all Malaysians.

By late sixties / early seventies, Malay Film Productions and Cathay Keris respectively started introducing virtually unknown Chinese female actors in Malay films. (Check out the Mat Sentol comedies, amongst others.) It could had been a strategy to get multi-racial audience. However, mid-seventies saw the end of Jalan Ampas, Cathay Keris and Merdeka Studio, all controlled by non-Malays. Since then, Malay independent filmmakers started to churn out Malay films with Malay motive exclusively for Malay audience.

I supposed that Hafsham's 'Mechanic' (1983) featured just one non-Malay main actor (local pan Asian) and backed-up by Malay production crew. The film was primarily targeted at the Malay audience even though it offered unusual plot. Still, it wasn't a 'truly Malaysian film'. Definitely not the first one.

Hassan Muthalib wrote:

>For the record, the first 'truly Malaysian film' was: MEKANIK (Hafsham 1983), followed by MAT GELAP (Zarul Hisham 1990). Susan Lancaster was prominent among the non-Malay actors in MEKANIK, with Manomaniam & Sri Ratu in MAT GELAP. ...


From: White, Timothy R
To: malaysian-cinema@yahoogroups.com
Sent: 20 March, 2003
Subject: P Ramli

All...

Please allow an ang mo (don't know the Malay equivalent; what is it?) to put in his 2 sens worth.

There is a good point being brought out here; I have noticed that too often Ramlee is simply deified. It is rare that anyone really puts forth an argument supporting his position as Malaysia's greatest film artist (and, I would argue, among the world's greatest film artists)...generally people just start blubbering about what a great man he was, and how much he means to Malays, with tears streaming down the face of the one doing the blubbering...

It's difficult to judge any filmmaker by the standards of any other filmmaker, or any national cinema by the standards of any other national cinema. Certainly Kurosawa was an outstanding director, but he was a quite different kind of director than was Ramlee. Kurosawa was essentially a Western filmmaker in the body of a Japanese director. This is not a good or bad thing...it was his thing.

If Kurosawa was brilliant at bringing a Western sensibility to Japanese cinema, Ramlee was truly a genius at synthesizing a large number of filmic and other cultural influences in his work. Some of these influences are common to other Malay films of the era: a purposeful "retro" look (not just because they were low budget, but because that was a look they wanted), the incorporation of bangsawan aesthetics, a love of the common man, a sense of humor, etc. Ramlee added to this his music (of course), Western jazz (especially that of Nat King Cole), Western theater, a knowledge of Hollywood films (primarily comedies, especially Bob Hope movies), Indian films (but not as much, I think, as most people believe), Egyptian films (very popular in Singapore in the 1950s) and Japanese films (we see the influence of Ozu and Mizoguchi in the cinematography, and Kurosawa in the mise-en-scene). If we add to this a deep understanding of what it meant to be a Malay living in cosmopolitan, primarily Chinese Singapore, and the ability to reach that feeling in his audience (but at the same time appeal to other ethnic groups), we have a filmmaker who truly can stand up to any other.

Hussein Haniff certainly did show great promise, and was a success in his own right; who knows what he could have accomplished if he had lived longer? But if we compare the two, it's not hard to see why Ramlee's reputation has outlived that of Hussein Haniff. Haniff was technically quite accomplished, and his films tend to be much more polished than those of Ramlee. But they lack the warmth and humanity of Ramlee's films, they don't seem as able to really reach the common man (of course, that may not have been his goal in the first place, which is fine). Comparing the two directors is much like comparing Chaplin to Keaton; Chaplin was warm, Keaton was cold, but both were extremely talented at what they did.

I guess what I'm saying is that is we judge Ramlee by what he was trying to do, as opposed to what other filmmakers were trying to do, he is indeed one of the greats of world cinema. But it's not some kind of contest. It's all strictly subjective anyway...we all have our opinions, but in the end there is no way to say objectively that one director is better than another. What I have put forth is an explanation of why Ramlee is important to me as a film historian.

Dr Timothy R White
Senior Lecturer, Film Studies
Department of English Language and Literature
Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences
National University of Singapore
Homepage: http://courses.nus.edu.sg/course/elltrw/trwhite.html


From: Zarul
To: malaysian-cinema@yahoogroups.com
Sent: 20 March, 2003
Subject: P Ramli

It's very diifficult to equate anybody to anybody in filmmaking because every film is essentially a prototype.Even harder for Ramli as I am unable to come to terms with him as a filmmaker in the first place.During that period Hussian Haniff ( sorry lar kalau wrong spelling ) showed the most promise as a filmmaker but unfortunately left us too early

I used Kurosawa as an example to show the difference in what P.Ramli was producing and what Akira was doing at about the same time in filmmaking.However,I have to say that Ramli would have made Kurosawa look like a pussy in the acting,singing and songwriting departments.

That man really wrote some great songs which will always be his legacy to World Music.

As this is about Malaysian-Cinema I have to say again,that great actor+great singer+great songwriter+great entertainer....does not = great filmmaker.

: o ) Zarul

V A Emuang wrote:

>Obviously he doesn't match up to Kurosawa. Not many can.
>Perhaps he was a big fish in a small pond.
>I'm curious to know Zarul - who would you equate P Ramli to, in terms of film-making?


From: Zarul
To: malaysian-cinema@yahoogroups.com
Sent: 20 March, 2003
Subject: P Ramli

I am sorry to offend all you Ramli fans out there. He certainly qualified par exellance as a actor,composer and singer but I'm afraid he didn't quite cut it as a filmmaker/director. In fact his legacy in that department probably lives on to this day. Just think about it. When he made 'Semerah Padi' (1956)
, I think Kurosawa had already made Roshomon. He was the only person that I have ever seen that had real star quality and charisma. I didn't even know who he was and I had to ask my mother " whose that man mama " as I stood, a little boy, looking up at the only giant that I have ever seen in my life.

But sorry lar....his filmmaking was no where near his exellence as a songwriter and actor

Zaedi Zolkafli wrote:

>NEW RELEASE


From: Zaedi Zolkafli
To: malaysian-cinema@yahoogroups.com
Sent: 19 March, 2003
Subject: P Ramli

NEW RELEASE

Book Title: P Ramlee The Bright Star
Joint Authors: James Harding & Ahmad Sarji
Publisher: Pelanduk Publications (M) Sdn Bhd

Foreword:

P Ramlee was the quintessential Malay entertainer par excellence, the Malay Noel Coward, it you like - actor, composer, singer, film-maker.

In his own lifetime, P Ramlee created a myth of what a boy unschooled in music and in the performing arts could attain. For the world, he became a symbol of the eternal genius of music, acting and directing.

Despite the heights and brilliance he had attained on the screen and in the music world, he remained a humble person. He has a luminous quality - a combination of brilliant acting, melodious singing, radiance - to set him apart, and yet make everyone wish to be like him.

Why another P Ramlee? One might just as well ask why there are so many volumes dedicated to Shakespeare or indeed, any pre-eminent figure in any given field. Despite the large number of accounts, there is always something new to be said about Chaplin or Shakespeare. The same is true for P Ramlee. This is an essential biograpy offering a wealth of information about P Ramlee, the man and his work. He is, after all, one of the glories of a cultural heritage which deserves to be far better known in Europe, and, indeed, throughout the whole world.

To view a collection of P Ramlee books log on to www.p-ramlee.com/p-ramlee/book.htm


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