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  • Writer's pictureNadi Bangi

Exploring Cultural Identity Through Cinema: A Film Appreciation.



(Photo source; Dini Huda Huzian)

On the vivid evening of 30th May 2024, the serene campus of Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) in Bangi was buzzing with excitement as filmmakers and film enthusiasts gathered for a mesmerizing film appreciation event. The spotlight of the evening shone on the acclaimed film “Pagari Bulan”, a cinematic masterpiece that stitched together themes of culture, tradition, and intercultural communication. Produced by Eleven Field Creative and professionally directed by Ts. Raja Mukhriz Raja Ahmad Kamaruddin, the film promised an engaging trip into the rich fabric of Malaysian customs.

The event showcases the great role of film in enhancing our understanding of national customs and cultural exchanges. It is carefully organized by the Centre for Research in Media and Communications Intercultural Communication Graduate Students in the Social Sciences and Humanities. Audiences feel as if they are in a vibrant world, and the stories in the film cross cultural boundaries and touch the hearts of everyone.

“Pagari Bulan” offered a moving meditation on the challenges of cultural identity in Malaysia during the Japanese invasion by skillfully combining them with modern storytelling. The film traveled across a variety of environments, from the lush countryside of rural villages to the vast landscape of beaches and forests, allowing audiences to fully immerse themselves in the sights, sounds and feelings of Malaysian life.

(Photo source; Dini Huda Huzian)

The occasion provided a forum for conversation and discussion, with attendees deeply diving into lively discourse regarding the concepts and ideas shown in the film. In an increasingly globalized world, the post-screening conversations, led by academic scholar, Dr Hasrul Hashim and industry leader, Dato’ Afdlin Shauki, dug deep into the complexities of intercultural communication, highlighting the significance of accepting diversity and maintaining national heritage.

The panelist stated that it was a great idea for education that films with elements of patriotism and nationalism to be showcased in universities. They also mentioned that certain films with similar concepts may not be highly recognized in Malaysian cinemas; especially for its values rather than the artistic nature of films.

“This is because there is a lack of mature audiences,” said Dato’ Afdlin Shauki, the president of Film Director’s Association of Malaysia (FDAM). However, he added that universities are the perfect platform for these types of films to be presented due to the fact that university students have fresh knowledge of how the world works.

The objective of the film appreciation event, despite the cheers and accolades, stayed true: to promote the appreciation of national and intercultural films while honoring the diverse range of Malaysian customs and traditions. Through the provision of a venue for filmmakers to exhibit their art and for viewers to interact with provocative stories, the occasion sparked a cultural rebirth that extended well beyond the theater.

As the program came to an end, participants’ minds were expanded with fresh insights and their hearts were full with inspiration. A tribute to the transformational power of film in promoting empathy, understanding, and togetherness in difference, the echoes of “Pagari Bulan” lingered in the air. Events like these provide hope in a world full of conflict and strife by showing the way to a more peaceful and inclusive community.

“It was unexpected to see how well the film is being received by everyone in the hall. The cheers and support coming from the audiences when certain scenes came up proved that the values being brought up in the film were well understood by everyone.” said Thaaqhib Mohamed, one of the panelists who is also a film critic.

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