Merdeka! Merdeka! Merdeka!
31 August is just around the corner and as we broach over each year's Independence celebration, a few patriotic films often pop into mind.
There are a few locally-produced films that sow the seed of patriotism and this effort is crucial as it injects a sense of unity in our community, especially among the younger generation.
Let us look back at the patriotic films that once played on the silver screens after our nation reached independence in 1957.
Sarjan Hassan (1958)
The late Tan Sri P.Ramlee was a well-known artiste, who made his own history when he produced the first local patriotic film in Malaysia.
Based on the events during the era of World War II, the film tells the story of Hassan who dreams big and wishes to join the Malay Regiment. However, he faces opposition from his adoptive father, who wants him to take care of the family plantation.
Teased by his fellow villagers, Hassan is determined to run away from the village and becomes a soldier. Wish granted, Hassan soon finds himself fighting the enemies to death for the sake of the country when Japan attacks.
Produced by Malay Film Productions in Singapore, the film is starred by Datin Saadiah, Tan Sri Jins Shamsuddin and Salleh Kamil.
Bukit Kepong (1981)
This film is based on the true story of the Communist attack at Bukit Kepong Police Station, which is located at Muar, Johor.
The historical event took place on 23 February 1950. It was a bloody war fought between 180 Communists and 25 police officers. Each side lost 40 and 17 comrades respectively.
Datuk Yusof Haslam, Hussein Abu Hassan dan A. Rahim starred in this film, which was released 31 years after the dark tragedy, produced by Tan Sri Jins Shamsuddin under his own production company Jins Shamsuddin Production.
Leftenan Adnan (2000)
This film was released in conjunction with the year 2000's Independence Day celebration. It is produced by the Ministry of Defence and directed by renowned director, Aziz M. Osman.
The part of Adnan was played by Hairie Othman. The film follows the story of Lieutenant Adnan Said, who hailed from Kajang, Selangor. He joined the Malay Regiment at the age of 18. He was well known when he was stationed at Bukit Chandu, Pasir Panjang, Singapura.
Adnan eventually loss his life while at war with the Japanese army and Malaya fell into the enemies' hands.
Produced by the National Film Department of Malaysia (FNM), this war-and-love-themed dramatic film is starred by Umie Aida, Aqasha, Izi Yahya and the late Hani Mohsin.
It tells the story of Embun, a lady who is always passionate in fighting for her brother's mission as he has been captured by the Japanese army for opposing the Japanese invasion.
The film earned five awards at 16th Malaysian Film Festival. However, it is not free from controversy. The rape scene portrayed in the film has garnered many negative critics.
Even though the film received a less than satisfactory welcome in the cinemas, it did bring forth a more interesting storyline compared to previous patriotic films.
The film is set in the year 1944, after the conflict between the Communists and Japanese army. It follows the story of Ahmad, who was working with the Japanese army, and fell in love with a Chinese girl named Siew Lan. At the same time, Ahmad was used by his own family in order to gain information about the Japanese army.
Janet Khoo, Ellie Suriati, Hasnul Rahmat and Gibran Agi starred in this film directed by Adman Salleh.
1957: Hati Malaya (2007)
Datin Paduka Shuhaimi Baba attempts to avoid the cliché of patriotic films and instead focuses her film on a group of youngsters who appreciate the nation's history, the meaning of independence and the spirit of patriotism.
The film also focuses on the battle of Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra Al-Haj, the first Prime Minister. Even though free from invasion, there are still difficulties to be faced when the British deliberately slow down the process of Malayan's independence.
The film's cast include Mohd. Kamarulzaman Taib, Rusdi Ramli, Maya Karin, Adlin Aman Ramlie, Sharifah Amani and Douglas Lim.
Cinema Online, 29 August 2014