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A city with soul

Sharifah Amani (right) and Amirul Ariff play a young couple who spend the whole night walking around Kuala Lumpur, talking about everything and nothing.

Publication Date : 18-12-2013


A homegrown movie about Kuala Lumpur has found a special place in the hearts of Malaysians


It's always a good sign when a local movie performs beyond expectations and as a bonus, attracts a crossover audience to the cinemas. That’s the story of local independent movie Kolumpo (slang for Kuala Lumpur), which has been enjoying a solid street buzz since its general release earlier this month.

Kolumpo, an anthology effort made by three young film directors – Sheikh Munasar, Rozi Izma and actor Bront Palarae – is a refreshing look at the different sides of Kuala Lumpur that we may have forgotten to see, or maybe even never cared to look at before.

The movie’s multi-racial cast includes Sharifah Amani, Azad Jasmin, Nell Ng, Mano Maniam, Soffi Jikan, Sabri Yunus, Sherry Alhadad, Along Eyzandy, Radhi Khalid and Emely Poon.

In many ways, Kolumpo is a beautiful and interesting collage of the human connections that give life to the city and is told in three multi-lingual short stories.

The positive reviews – in the mainstream circles as well as social media – have definitely upped the profile of this movie in this busy festive season.

“The word-of-mouth from those who have watched the movie has helped a lot. People are talking about Kolumpo,” said Bront.

Most importantly, the film has won over the fickle movie-going public here.

“Honestly, I hardly watch any local movies because international movies – especially blockbusters – are more interesting. But Kolumpo is very relatable to me because it is realistic. Kolumpo made me feel that it is safe to have a good night stroll in the city. That too is sign of hope!” said Edmund Loo, 25, a chemist.

Post graduate student Corrinne Lee, 29, was also pleasantly surprised by Kolumpo’s realism, contemporary edge and human warmth.

“I don’t really watch Malay movies except for some of Yasmin Ahmad’s. I went in for Kolumpo without any expectation. All three stories made me feel at home.” said the Kelantan-born student, who has lived in Kuala Lumpur for 10 years.

The personal touch by the cast and crew in promoting Kolumpo has also made a difference.

“We (directors and actors) have made a point of visiting the cinemas on a daily basis. As for myself, I would greet the audience before the screening and thank them (afterwards) for giving our movie a chance. Yes I did that!” added Bront.

Apart from Bront, director Sheikh Munasar and actress Sharifah Amani have been tirelessly handling the meet-and-greet shifts at cinemas in the Klang Valley.

Nell Ng is also doing her own style of promoting the film. She has been making trips to see the movie with different groups of friends.

“To date, I have made nine different trips to the movie! I’m still organising my own rombongan (group) of friends and relatives to watch it,” said Ng, who wants to get more of her English-speaking friends to watch the movie and give it a chance.

For veteran actor Mano Maniam, he doesn’t look at the movie as a multi-racial effort filled with cliches. For him, it is a Malaysian movie. Period.

“Personally, we shouldn’t look at it as a multi-racial movie. It is a movie which tries to give an honest look about Kuala Lumpur, it’s people and dimensions – the good and the bad,” he said.

The sentiment at the cinemas indicates that Kolumpo is one of those rare movies that is capable of capturing the shared Malaysian experience – with its heartfelt stories and local angles.

“I don’t really look at Kolumpo as a Malay movie but a Malaysian movie. The movie helps me to see the city differently now. I will even slow down my steps to admire the beauty of the city,” said Sarawakian Teng Kiu Wee, 26, an engineer.

Fellow filmmaker Lina Tan (Gol & Gincu and Kami fame) says that Kolumpo is high on her list because of two main reasons.

“Firstly, it is produced independently by three new directors. Secondly, the theme – all featuring (short film) stories in Kuala Lumpur which are multi-racial and contemporary. Everyone can relate to the stories in the movie,” said Tan.

Director Bernard Chauly (Pisau Cukur, Goodbye Boys and Istanbul Aku Datang) hopes that Kolumpo will create a new phenomenon of diverse local movie productions.

Kolumpo is for all Malaysians whether you are an urban person or otherwise. I really like the fact that it combined two different actors that normally wouldn’t be paired on-screen together such as Nell Ng and Ruminah Sidek. It was magic!” said Chauly.


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