20 Nov – Namewee's name is pretty much synonymous with controversy, especially in his home country Malaysia, so here he is again with another movie that is deemed controversial.
Bearing the title "Babi", which means 'pig' in the Malay language, while the movie's Chinese title translate to 'you are a pig', it's more than enough to get a rise out of his fellow Malaysians.
So much so that Federal Territory PN Youth Information Unit member Mohammad Azwan Azmi has lodged a police report against it, stating that the movie poster, which bears the words 'Melayu Bodoh', 'India Keling' and 'Cina Babi', touches on racial sensitivities.
"This insult and provocation is seen as outrageous and is a rude and insolent act, feared to cause inter-racial tensions in Malaysia," Azmi said, as quoted by Bernama, after making the report at the Dang Wangi district police headquarters, at 11.07 am yesterday.
Rather than racial division, it is racial unity that Namewee strives to achieve with the so-called controversial movie. The rapper-filmmaker states as much on his social media. However, Malaysians will not get to witness this on the big screen as the movie will not be released locally.
He revealed recently that the movie's theatrical release will so far be in Taiwan only, starting from today, 20 November.
It will not be showing in Malaysian cinemas at all and he has no intention of requesting any bodies in the country to approve it for screening.
It has been widely reported that the movie has been banned, but he has taken to social media to correct this misconception, saying that technically it was never "banned" because he had never submitted it for approval, stating that the country has too many extremists who will distort the movie's message for their own political agendas.
However, while the movie has landed in hot water in Malaysia, internationally it is being lauded for its focus on social issues.
It has so far garnered major nominations – such as Best Director for Namewee himself and Best Actor for Alif Haikal – at the ARFF Berlin, Open World Toronto International Film Festival, Bangkok International Film Festival, and the Taipei Golden Horse Film Festival.