Writer: Caroline Chia Siew YingWriter Ratings:Overall: Cast: Plot: Effects: Cinematography: Watch this if you liked:
What was director Mamat Khalid thinking, making a Malay movie in black and white, with new 'neo-noir' style for Malaysian movie-goers? Has he gone mad?
"Kala Malam Bulan Mengambang" is about reporter Saleh (Rosyam Nor), who is covering a story about some men in a village going missing when the full moon appears. (The title, "Kala Malam Bulan Mengambang", is directly translated as "when the moon is full"). As Saleh is on the way to the village, his car's tyre is punctured by a keris with the bones of a hand attached to it. The car is then taken to the workshop of Jongkidin (Farid Kamil) where he meets the beautiful and mysterious Cik Putih (Umie Aida). Needless to say, Saleh is immediately smitten by her.
Saleh, however, is warned by some people to leave the village, starting with Mahinder Singh (Bront Palarae) who asked him to leave while he still can. Then there's Doreen Chua (Corrinne Adrienne), owner of the Jubilee Park, who advises Saleh to quickly leave, after mistakenly accusing him as a member of 'Tangan Merah'. And there's also Rogayah (Avaa Vanja) and her parents who are worried that Rogayah will never find a husband at the rate the men are disappearing in the village. They have set their eyes on Saleh for their daughter.
Saleh, however, decides to stay a while longer to find out what transpired. He blames it on his journalistic integrity. Still, more and more men disappear.
It is obvious that Mamat Khalid is being 'adventurous', trying to bring back the black and white style of the old movies. Apparently, "Kala Malam Bulan Mengambang" is the first black and white movie made after "Jantina" in 1974. It was also set in a 'neo-noir' style to suit the 50's era. Kudos to the director because this movie gives viewers the sense of nostalgia, reminding them of P. Ramlee, Siput Sarawak and Saloma.
Rosyam Nor portrays the reporter well. His versatility can clearly be seen in this movie, as he has to switch from being a comedian to playing someone serious. Umie Aida's arrogant yet demure looks complement her character as the mysterious girl. Ava Vanja, who is new in the acting business, is flawless especially in her singing. Her beautiful deep jazzy voice added a bit more mood to the movie.
One of the best parts of the movie is the music, a mixture of modern jazz and the oldies. From the theme song of "Kala Malam Bulan Mengambang" by Ava Vanja to the popular Chinese 'Wo Yao Ni Di Ai
' (or 'I want your love') they are the elements that make the movie seems so nostalgic. Also, everything in the script has a second meaning to it, and even if the viewers are unable to catch the meaning, they will still be entertained by the comedic script. The use of monologues by the main character is good as it helps viewers to understand what the character is thinking.
Mamat Khalid is also trying to be a high achiever by throwing in a few genres (Comedy, Horror, Drama, Mystery, Romance) into one movie. This makes the plot confusing to the viewer. The cameraman should use more lighting because in some parts of the movie, viewers are not able to see the actor's face. However, since this is the first black and white film after so long, it is a good attempt.Cinema Online, 23 September 2008