Of Identity and Vibrancy: The Real Cinema of Malaysia

Thumbnail Image
File version
Meissner, Nico
Cheah, Philip
Griffith University Author(s)
Primary Supervisor
Other Supervisors
File type(s)

Research Background “Of Identity and Vibrancy: The Real Cinema of Malaysia” brought together 23 short and feature films as well as two masterclasses in a two-week Cinema Showcase that explored the socio-cultural significance of contemporary Malaysian cinema.

Research Contribution Contemporary Malaysian cinema is a story of ambition and struggle. New filmmakers have been trained well and grown up influenced by the local art house scene. Investments into film education, the success of local independent cinema, and investments into the infrastructure are slowly enhancing the quality of Malaysian films and push them into the local mainstream. These are the films this Showcase celebrated. Starting from U-Wei Haji Saari, one of the fathers of independent, socially-aware, realist cinema in Malaysia, covering international festival successes such as Bunohan, Lelaki Harapan Dunia or the short films of Edmund Yeoh as well as local box office hits like Jagat (the highest grossing Tamil film in Malaysian history) and Nova; ending with a collection of new voices of young Malaysian filmmakers.

The Showcase exhibited a new generation of Malaysian filmmakers. A generation that struggles with its identity - as individuals within the cultural, ethnic and religious complexities of Malaysia, as young women and men in the digital age, as Malaysians in a globalised world. This is a generation that celebrates these struggles through a socially more realistic cinema, showing the real Malaysia with its quirks and contradictions. This is the generation that revolutionises the country’s film culture. The Malaysia Film Showcase celebrated this generation of Malaysian filmmakers - and through them, the real Malaysia; a place of complexity, searching for identities, beauty and youthful vibrancy.

Research Significance Of Identity and Vibrancy was a two-week Showcase with seven public screenings and two public masterclasses at Griffith Film School, with a total attendance of around 200 people.

Journal Title
Conference Title
Book Title
Thesis Type
Degree Program
Patent number
Grant identifier(s)
Rights Statement
Rights Statement

© 2016 Griffith Film School. The Griffith Film School acknowledges and thanks U-Wei Haji Saari and Nandita Solomon or their active participation and contribution to this Showcase. We also acknowledge and thank Philip Cheah and Nico Meissner for curating the program. We greatly appreciate the generosity of the filmmakers in sharing these films with our students and staff.

Item Access Status
Access the data
Related item(s)

Cinema studies

Screen media

Persistent link to this record

Meissner, N; Cheah, P, Of Identity and Vibrancy: The Real Cinema of Malaysia, 2016