“I am not really creative; I just collect memories and other people’s memories.” – Yasmin Ahmad (1958-2009)
The last time I travelled up north to specifically watch a film in KL was nine years ago for Amir Muhammad’s debut feature film – Lips To Lips.
When the film screened in Singapore at the Singapore International Film Festival, I was having my exams. Later, it opened in KL in a small artsy theatre. I went up with a fellow classmate from Malaysia who also put me up. I remember we were lost and had to brave past two fierce dogs before we found the place. Amir was in Vancouver then but Zalee, the editor of the film, was kind enough to fetch us to the nearest bus station after the screening.
Last week, I flew up to KL again and this time round it was for your Muallaf gala screening, courtesy of Thomas. You were not there too. I’ve seen the film with you in Singapore but I need to see it on the big screen again. And I did that twice on the same day – at the press screening and later at the gala itself. Orked was worried that the print was not good enough. She wanted the way people remember you, to be as illuminating as possible. I assured her it was the best screening of Muallaf for me – to see it in the company of your loved ones, who lingered long after the credits rolled, clapping as each familiar name scrolled by. One of the loudest applauses was reserved for Thomas, who made the release in Malaysia and Singapore possible. I’ll savour these memories of you and your memories of people around you. I even tried memorising some of the lines, thinking when I returned the next day, perhaps the film can still replay in my dreams.
Two days ago, I passed by our window at Mt Emily, the one that the moon stuck her tongue at us, our first of many more nights that followed, sometimes with draks joining us. Amir, Richard and Alfian were there too on the rainy night of a December Saturday to have lunch before Amir’s book about you and Alfian’s play inspired by you. Yesterday, I was telling another friend about you – how every night, you would forgive people who have hurt you. I told someone else too I like that even the stepmother in Muallaf has a short scene where we see her loneliness in the family. I tried to look for the verses in the Koran that was quoted and read a bit more too, putting a note on some that I could share with you when we meet again.
Like Amir, I am reluctant to remove you on my blogroll. Now and then, I like to miss and think of you.
A song of longing I’m hoping to use for the ending in Wasurenagusa. 5 months ago.
Dear Film Development Council of the Philippines. 3 months ago.
Muallaf opens in Malaysia this week and I hope you will go see it too. Details are here.
Amir’s book on Yasmin Ahmad’s films is also available in good bookstores in Singapore and Malaysia, as well as Amazon.
By the Sun and his splendour;
By the Moon as she follows him…