Show more historical, patriotic films in conjunction with the month of independence

Show more historical, patriotic films in conjunction with the month of independence

WHEN this article was written, ticket collections for the movie Mat Kilau had reached RM96 million within 40 days of screening, starting last June 23, 2022. This is an impressive achievement for a locally produced film. If you look at the data shared on the Finas website from 2011 to September 2019, only 15 films out of more than 400 films that were screened managed to collect more than RM10 million. It is even more proud when it managed to beat two Hollywood production box office films namely Top Gun: Maverick and Jurassic World Dominion. The amount of ticket collection is expected to increase when this Mat Kilau Movie will start showing in Indonesia soon.

Based on the warm response from the audience, this film has succeeded in raising the country’s film industry which is dim and loaded with love narratives that are more negative elements such as cheating, bad social life, envy and severance to a narrative of struggle for the love of the country . Perhaps the public is fed up with local films that do not reflect the reality of Malaysian society which is still strongly religious and upholds eastern values.

In addition, the lack of epic or local historical films has caused the audience to turn to foreign films such as Dirilis Ertugrul, Fetih 1453, and so on. Therefore, when the film Mat Kilau was shown, the audience easily accepted it. In fact, some who have never set foot in a cinema are willing to break ‘tradition’ just to watch a Mat Kilau movie.

However, the more important impact of this Mat Kilau movie is that it succeeded in reviving the heroic spirit of the Malay warriors in the effort to free the country from the colonial grip. As said by the Malaysian Deputy Minister of Communications and Multimedia, Zahidi Zainul Abidin: “The message carried in the film Mat Kilau carries a great meaning about the hardships of the freedom fighters to free the country from the colonial grip”.

Today’s generation should be aware that the results of the struggle from previous generations such as Mat Kilau, Tok Janggut, Hj Abdul Rahman Limbong and others, have put pressure on the colonialists directly or indirectly in an effort to liberate the homeland when their resistance succeeded in raising awareness in among the public. In fact, the British had to allocate a large amount of money in an effort to curb and arrest the fighters who were labeled as ‘rebels’.

When the armed resistance was successfully curbed by the British, the fighters continued to fan the flame of independence in various forms such as through organizations, writing, media, associations and politics. For example, Sheikh Daud alFathani has written several books that arouse the spirit of jihad against the colonialists. Meanwhile, the appearance of al-Imam magazine in 1906 was like a ‘tonic’ that stimulated the minds of the Malays demanding independence. Aware of the rise, the colonists began to use the policy of division and order; associate certain organizations with left and right labels. Any group or organization that is perceived to harm the interests of the colonialists is labeled as left-wing and banned. Whereas, to relax the anger and deceive the eyes of the people,
This is where the wisdom of our ancestors lies in trying to liberate the homeland. Although different containers, but this is the most powerful strategy when facing a strong and difficult to defeat enemy like this British Colonial. Therefore, there are those who fight in organizations labeled Leftist such as the Malay National Party of Malaya (PKMM), Hizbul Muslimin and so on. Meanwhile, some of them are fighting with organizations that are labeled right-wing such as UMNO, IMP and so on. However, the main goal is the same which is to liberate the homeland. Finally, with that wisdom, the country was successfully independent on 31 August 1957. In 2022, the country’s independence age has reached 65 years. A young age for a country. However, during that period, many successes have been achieved. For example, if before independence, all policies made were aimed at protecting British economic interests. But, after independence, policies that benefit the people and reduce the economic gap have been introduced such as the New Economic Policy, the National Development Policy and so on. Similarly, much progress has been achieved in other sectors such as education, infrastructure and so on.

The question is what is the true meaning of independence? What are the indicators of being a free people? In this regard, let us live the words of Reverend Za’ba about independence, namely: “change from stupid beliefs that weaken reason and effort to intelligent beliefs that free the mind; from teachings that kill the heart to teachings that revive and nourish him; from i’tiqad-i’tiqad which is skewed and distorted to i’tiqad which is fertile and independent; from the tyranny of government based on lust to righteousness; and from thoughts that hold back and restrict progress to thoughts that free progress and promote good and noble progress.”

Finally, congratulations to the producer, director, cast and crew for successfully producing a film that became a phenomenon in raising the awareness of young people about the struggle against the colonialists and contributing to the country’s independence. In fact, the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Religious Affairs), Senator Datuk Idris Ahmad, considers the film Mat Kilau, The Rise of Heroes to be an example in the film industry.

Therefore, it is suggested that the government in the presentation of the 2023 budget provide attractive incentives to encourage creative industry players to produce more historical and patriotic films for screening on TV channels and cinemas, especially in the month of independence.

source – Prof Madya Dr Azman Yusof

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