Cooler Lumpur organisers dismayed by bar against film screening

The goverment has retained its ban on screening Amir Muhammad's ‘Lelaki Komunis Terakhir’ movie at the Cooler Lumpur Festival. — Picture by Choo Choy May
The goverment has retained its ban on screening Amir Muhammad's ‘Lelaki Komunis Terakhir’ movie at the Cooler Lumpur Festival. — Picture by Choo Choy May

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 6 — Organisers for Southeast Asia's first festival of ideas Cooler Lumpur Festival @ Publika expressed disappointment with the new government for retaining the ban on Amir Muhammad's Lelaki Komunis Terakhir movie imposed by predecessors.

Programme director A. Umapagan told Malay Mail the decision denied Malaysians in the supposed  “New Malaysia” the opportunity to watch the “semi-musical documentary” that he also described as a “road trip movie”.

“It's a really fun movie, yes I am disappointed (it was not allowed to be screened) because it's part musical and Amir wrote these songs hilarious songs tying in each segment.

“And for me, it was an interesting historical documentary. It was very 2006 in that sense. It would be nice Malaysians in Malaysia Baharu could have had a chance to watch this,” said Umapagan.

The movie was set to be screened tomorrow, but the organisers had to cancel this after receiving a letter from the Film Censorship Board (LPF) via WhatsApp at around 7pm last night.

Festival director Hardesh Singh said they had applied to screen the film, which was produced in 2006, to the public roughly three to four weeks ago.

“When we went to see LPF, it showed on their records the originally the film was passed without censorship but it was overruled by then home minister, Tan Sri Mohd Radzi Sheikh Ahmad.

“So we asked them to clarify what it means (for the film now) because, officially on LPF records, it showed the film was approved and not censored. It wasn't easy for them to give us a yes or a no.

“We were also approached by the police who asked us to clarify our intention in screening the film,” he said.

Hardesh said he informed the police and LPF that the Cooler Lumpur Festival planned to proceed with the screening as he believed the film was in a “gray area”. The police had requested the organisers to reconsider their stance.

“We offered to have a private closed screening only for VVIPs, ministers, department heads, police to come and view the film. I also think that the officers in charge today may not have seen the film 12 years ago so not fair for them to make a decision on the spot.

“We held the screening on Thursday night at Black Box and had representatives from (Communications and Multimedia Minister) Gobind Singh Deo's office as well as officers from Bukit Aman. After the screening, they said they will inform us.

“I received the reply from LPF last night and Umapagan shared it on Facebook,” Hardesh said.

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