Ah Beng The Movie: Three Wishes – A Consolidation of Feelings about the Future of Malaysian BigScreen Film?

 

Today I watched the midnight run of Ah Beng The Movie with the No.33-Gang. For some reason I felt a tingling in my heart as the show progress. I looked within, though it was a sad scene when I felt the tingling, it was more. I looked around, the whole cinema, full house, was fully engrossed in the movie. Then as the main actor did a slapstick witty line, everyone laughed.

For a moment there, I felt a tinge of hope. Isn’t that what a movie director & the script writer would hope for? That the masterpiece being played on the big screen is able to captivate the audience’s emotions at every nook and turn; That as the plot progress, the audience chuckled, laughed, kept-quiet (sobbing?) as and when they are supposed to be; That sadness, joyfulness, suspense, anger, happiness on the screen will resonate down to the audience; That the audience is able to empathize with the characters on screen. Isn’t that it’s all about? For a moment there, it is as if I have felt what the people-involved-in-the-film would have felt if they were in TGV movie theatre 3 at around 1:30am on the 25th of January 2012.

As I glanced around the theatre, it’s full house. I believe the same might have happened in the earlier show timings. I see parents who brought their toddlers along. I thought I heard some baby-cries, I might be wrong. But it might just be a common happening during Chinese New Year. I can’t even remember when was the last time I actually watched a movie during Chinese New Year, 半夜场更不用说。But I really cannot recall any other time where a local film production garner a full house during the midnight run. Or at least I have not heard of it being mentioned even if it has happened before.

It is as if people are really returning to the cinema theatre. That “let’s watch a local movie production” deserves a spot on our “to-do list”. Perhaps the “Support Original” campaign is finally working. Perhaps people are getting more affluent. Perhaps it’s just me being the usual out-of-touch self. That the situation wasn’t that bad before this.

Just as the credits rolled, once again I am bedazzled by some unique behaviour. Most of us are still seated and people actually pay attention to the rolling names, pointing out names in which they recognize, commenting on the actors’ performance earlier. That — is truly a rare scene indeed. Why is it so? Let me go into some details :-

If you have watched a movie in Malaysian Cinemas before, you are bound to be appalled by the unfailing kind act of the cinema staff to open the EXIT door at the ending scene of a movie. Well, you might say they are just doing their job, part of their service to give the audience some preparatory time to leave the theatre. But it is so annoying. The ending scene of a movie are usually a resolution scene. We are supposed to immerse ourselves in the scene and sometimes to give some serious thought about the show we have just watched. But the cinema staff have to, have to spoil it all by opening the EXIT door.

Of course, the most important reason to stay on just a little while after the rolling credits is so that we can honour the people who worked so hard behind-the-scenes. Staying back a little while more and carefully look at the names is the very least we could do, as appreciation to them.

Try to recall the last time you actually sat through the entire credit roll. Wait, how about half the credit roll? One-third?  Was it because someone told you that there was a hidden trailer at the end of the credits.

 

But today, today is a spectacular day indeed. There are quite a number of people stayed back for the credit roll. I had a feeling that they are genuinely touched by the movie and decided to stay on just a little while longer. How do I know? I don’t know, I felt it.

Lastly, sponsors & product placements. This might not be the smoothest product placement film but you can feel that the script-writer tried. Nonetheless, the last time I counted, there were more than 6 sponsors that appeared in the film itself. Why are they doing this? Would you want to have your product appear in a show that doesn’t sell? Of course not. Hence the existence of so many product placement in the film might suggest that companies are starting to notice local movie production. As much as I dislike the notion of a movie industry dependent on a sponsor’s wimp, money seem to be the most efficient fuel to push the industry forward.

From the execution of the movie technicalities, the spectacular audience numbers, the audience’s behaviour during credit roll to the willingness of companies to sponsor a local movie production. All things considered, I think this shows a promising future of the local movie production scene.

But then all these might just have been a simple surge of emotion from a guy who had not touched-the-ground for far too long. At times, he seemed almost out of touch with the happenings in his home country, his home town. So take my words with a pinch of salt. Go and try it out for yourselves. Open your eyes and your ears, you might just catch a glimpse of what it is about to come. We shall see.

 

Now as for me, it hurts to think that I have to spend more of my time in the next 3 years glancing over the causeway to keep myself up to date with the exciting growing movie industry. Now I’m sure I will be able to still do something….