Monday, December 17, 2007

Is That A Flower In Your Pocket ... Or Are You Just Happy To See Me?

I remember watching my first ever Liew Seng Tat short film, Breadskin And Strawberry Jam at Kelab Seni Filem's Malaysian Shorts showcase (nah, the showcase had nothing to do with pants). I almost fell off my chair laughing. Even back then, he already showed a knack for working with children. Then I saw Not Cool, which was equally hilarious. Here, I thought, was our very own comedy expert.

Then I saw the much talked about Flower, a whimsical short film about growing old. I wasn't laughing as much, and I wasn't as impressed. I thought some scenes were done purely for laughs and weren't entirely necessary for the story. But it was clear there was a sense of a style in his films.

Then came Flower In The Pocket, his debut feature. And, yes, Liew made me laugh all over again. The film won the top prize in Pusan this year, including an Audience Award. It's going to be competing in Rotterdam next year. God knows where else it will end up, as it's easily the most entertaining film from the Malaysian independent scene. Liew was one of the participants at the Berlinale Talent Campus this year, and when I met him in that wintry German city one night, he was joyfully inebriated, his happy spree seemingly spilled over from Rotterdam, from where he and a bunch of other Malaysian film folks had crossed over. (I, on the other hand, discovered the House Of 100 Beers only on my last night in Berlin, and by then, I was pumped full of antibiotics, courtesy of a bout of bronchitis, that I couldn't join in the revelry!)

Last night, I received a message from him, that a bunch of promotional clips for Flower In The Pocket had gone online at YouTube. Some of them are pretty funny, especially the one with Italian critic Paolo Bertolin verbally "reviewing" the film. Here are the clips:

Italian critic reviews FITP
Good Doctor promo
Sunflower Boys Part 1
Sunflower Boys Part 2
The Kids promo
Mislina promo

Flower In The Pocket opens on Dec 20

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