Movie Details
PUNGGOK RINDUKAN BULAN

PUNGGOK RINDUKAN BULAN

The story revolves on the life of a young boy Sidi (Saeful Nazhif Satria) and his father Adman (Sahronizam Noor), who live in a low-cost flat in Johor Bahru. When the woman of the home leaves them, they both unknowingly cope with the sudden absence of a key female figure in their lives in their own ways; as Sidi revels in his new-found unsupervised freedom as a young teenager would, and Adman feels the emptiness of his life and soul. The literal meaning of the movie title is a Malay saying "like the owl misses the moon" - a reflection of unrequited longing.

Language: Malay
Subtitle: Na
Classification: U
General Release Date: 25 Sep 2008
Genre: Drama
Running Time: 1 Hour 28 Minutes
Distributor: DA HUANG PICTURES
Cast: Saeful Nazhif Satria, Sahronizam Noor, Sahronizam Noor, Maya Karin
Director: Azharr Rudin
Format: NA



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Review
Writer: Ezekiel Lee Zhiang Yang

Writer Ratings:
Overall: 4.0 Out of 5
Cast: 3.5 Out of 5
Plot: 3.0 Out of 5
Effects: 3.0 Out of 5
Cinematography: 3.5 Out of 5

Watch this if you liked: "Time Of The Wolf", "Tokyo Tower", "Lilja 4-ever"

When watching Azharr Rudin's debut feature "Punggok Rindukan Bulan", it's easy to be brought back to a time when a lot of movies were extremely location-specific and made sense to few but those who came from the same environment. It's like watching those Eastern bloc movies that constantly refer to a monument or building that is no longer standing.

In the director's own words, the word is symbiosis - the relationship between a people and the place they live in. This theme could hardly find a more claustrophobic setting than the now-demolished Bukit Chagar flats in Johore near the Causeway, where most of this offbeat art movie was shot. It was, I understand, the city's most famous eyesore, a low-cost housing development built in the 80s. In the brilliantly written production notes for "Punggok", you will read that it is within those narrow corridors and walls that the world of a boy and his father would grow too vast and vacuous, as they are abandoned by the lady of the house.

Exploring space and emptiness is nothing new - but something about the director's countenance suggests otherwise. It is tempting to believe that Azharr could well be one of those few people who only know how to let their work do the talking - and not much else. With its clever sequences and thoughtful storytelling, the strength of "Punggok" lies in its meditation, not in some tell-all reward at the end. Having contained itself so well throughout, the movie forces you to study its characters, or rather their bleak, positivistic destinies; never letting you forget the setting at any point. Like in Gaspar Noe's "Irreversible" (2002), there could scarcely be a better ending to "Punggok" for the purposes of delivering the message that time destroys everything.

Technical credits for "Punggok" are adequate, though the acoustics of the film may not be the best. Performances here are accurate, plus there's the bonus of seeing Maya Karin involved in a smaller project such as this. Special mention goes out to Salehuddin Abu Bakar who remains particularly impressive in his small role as Lelaki Kurang Kemas.

It's very encouraging work from a young director, who, unlike his local contemporaries, has chosen an even more inaccessible path of thematic filmmaking - it gives the feeling that art can come from anywhere and that the highest arts may escape most. It gives the feeling that martyrs may live out this age of commercialism through their works, as did the poor folks in "Punggok", oblivious to the changing world that threatens to consume them whole.

Cinema Online, 23 September 2008
   

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