Hans Isaac and Maya Karin in "Nota".
"Nota" is centered on estranged married couple, Kamal and Erin, who are gradually growing distant after being unable to conceive a child. For their 10th anniversary, they decide to revisit the place where Kamal had first proposed to her, in hopes that it would rekindle their love and give their marriage a second chance. However, on their journey as Erin discovers a note written by Kamal that he has other intentions, Erin begins hatching a plot of her own to end their marriage, with the help of the boatman Jemat, who brings them to their place of memories.
Marketed at this year's Cannes Marché du Film, the composition that makes up this psycho-thriller is one that is beyond your everyday Malaysian production which has made us more curious to see what the result could be. So, as it comes to Malaysian screens this 13 August, here's our 5 reasons why you should go and see "Nota"!
Maya Karin and Hans Isaac
Despite how Malaysian movies are prone to recycling their leads from a small circle of well-known stars, the stars have not aligned to put together industry veterans Maya Karin and Hans Isaac on the same screen, until now. This pairing alone may already be dazzling with enough star power to attract audiences who like to see their stars together, but we are hoping that both of these actors would bring a higher level of performance as the estranged couple.
Both actors had only agreed to take the lead roles of "Nota" because they were impressed by the script, and Hans Isaac said that this could be his last acting role until he sees another character that is as well written and driven by the script as "Nota". What this could mean to us is that both these actors are taking their roles in "Nota" very seriously, so we will be looking for a performance, rather than an appearance.
"Nota" will be dedicated to the late actor Ramli Hassan, who makes his last performance as the boatman that sends the couple to the place to rekindle their love. The Best Actor nominee at the 20th Malaysia Film Festival was also pivotal in setting the location of "Nota" in Bako, Sarawak which is his hometown.
Director Yasu Tanaka
If the cast wasn't already enough to catch our attention to see "Nota", then it was certainly most curious to see a Japanese director making a Malaysian movie. "Nota" will be the feature debut for director Yasu Tanaka, and the first picture to come out from his Malaysian-based production house, 42nd Pictures. While his only best-known credentials to come before this is him directing the Astro mini-drama series "Lari Sayang Lari", but he has an extensive experience as a scriptwriter and script consultant of more than 20 years in Hollywood and Japan. Tanaka has also run several scripting workshops for FINAS, so if our expectations was not only for the visuals, it would surely have a strong story.
Bako National Park
While selecting a location for "Nota", the producers had a choice between shooting it in Sabah or Sarawak, and the decision evidently landed to film at the Bako National Park in Sarawak which was partly influenced by late actor Ramli Hassan who hailed from the nearby Kampung Bako. Located at the meeting point between the Kuching Rivers and the South China Sea, it is home to a diverse ecosystem that would serve as the perfect place with visual metaphors and symbolism aplenty (watch out for the crocodiles). It is not every day that one would get to see a different side of East Malaysia, even in local productions, and we have already seen a few impressive footages taken from Bako, that might draw you to pay a visit.
Made by local and international talents
If "Nota" becomes a success at the box office, then it might represent a new model of production that could equate to a better quality of movies being made in Malaysia. By using the faces of a highly recognisable cast in front of the camera and a professional international crew working behind it; this new mix could be something that would take the Malaysian movie out of its creative rut. Aside from having a Japanese director, "Nota" is also shot by Finish cinematographer, Maximilian Schmige. Not all the work is just being done by foreigners though, it has been noted that the special effects work was done by the Center of Content Creation from LimKokWing University.
Cinema Online, 12 August 2015