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8 Malaysian Gems to Watch on Vimeo

An eclectic mix of feature films and documentaries to keep you stuck to the screen…

So you’ve pretty much have watched all the good Malaysian stuff on the two flix-es and want more? Well, that’s what Gendang is here for. We scoured the other video streaming platform, Vimeo 0n-Demand, and discovered gems that are both familiar and largely unknown to the Malaysian public. Be prepared for some pleasant surprises…


Shadowplay (2019)

When a private eye takes a case to find a missing university student, he must explore the dark corners of his mind to uncover the truth around his own childhood disappearance as he tracks down the missing girl while delving deeper into the neon-lit and electro-synth sounds of Kuala Lumpur’s mysterious underbelly. Starring Tony Eusoff and Iman Corinne Adrienne, ‘Shadowplay’ is one of the few Malaysian-made indie films to gain digital distribution in North America before a local release.


The Secret Life of Nora (2020)

Yes, the award-winning musical is now online! ‘The Secret Life of Nora’ was first staged at the Istana Budaya from 29 Sept-16 Oct 2011. It was a ravishing spectacle; from the star studded cast to the audio-visual feast incorporating elements of aerial spectacle, fantasy and a fusion of music from across the eras. The story is about Nora (played by Tiara Jacquelina), the prima donna of a Malaysian cabaret, who becomes a spy by accident. And now we get to enjoy it at the comfort of our homes, sans the stuffy dress code.


The Hidden History of Johor Lama (2019)

Johor-based Lawrence and Helen Gray tell the story of the Johor Sultans from their mythical origins, through their battles with the colonial powers and the waning of their powers and final resurgence! The Sultans made Malaysia, and this is their often wild and heroic story. Also available is ‘The Hidden History of Johor Bahru’ by the same filmmakers.


A Time To Swim (2019)

In the suburbs of Montreal, Mutang Urud is a family man. But in Malaysia, he was a voice of resistance for the indigenous peoples of Sarawak. ‘A Time to Swim’ follows Mutang as he returns home for the first time since his exile in 1992. The documentary, directed by Montreal-based filmmaker Ashley Duong, explores the effects of environmental destruction on the fabric of a community.


Adiwiraku (2017)

Based on a true story, ‘Adiwiraku’ follows Cheryl Ann Fernando, a wide-eyed new teacher, not knowing exactly what to expect from the rural school she is to teach in for the next year. The student’s lives are difficult, burdened by poverty, unstable parents, and low expectations. Worst of all, most of them can’t see a way out of the cycle. ‘Adiwiraku’ won the Best Film award and the Best Actress award for its lead Sangeeta Krishnasamy at the Festival Filem Malaysia ke-29.


The Tree Remembers (2019)

Derived from the proverb “What the axe forgets, the tree remembers”, this gripping documentary explores the issue of racism and the its origins in Malaysia, including the taboo subject of the racial riot in 1969. ‘The Tree Remembers is directed by Malaysia-born, Taiwan-based filmmaker Lau Kek-Huat, who has racked up several accolades for his past works.


Fish Listeners of Setiu Lagoon (2018)

This 47-minute documentary looks at the dying art of the ‘fish listeners’ of the Setiu Lagoons in Terengganu, Malaysia. Using a unique traditional fishing method, fish listeners locate their catch by ‘listening’ for their fish; hunting by sound. Through the main character, fish listener Pak Harun, ‘Fish Listeners’ also examines the symbiotic relationship between the local fishing communities and their environment, a unique coastal wetlands, which is under threat from rapid development in the area.


One Day (2020)

Set in Kuching, Sarawak; Kota Kinabalu and Kundsang, Sabah, ‘One Day’ is a meditative love story about two people who are drawn to each other at a time in their lives when circumstances seem to forbid them to ever be together. It is not a story of a sweeping romance that passionately engulfs the couple, but rather a promise for happiness on the horizon of two lives that seem to have given up on it.

If you know of any cool Malaysian-made content worth checking out, drop us a line at [email protected] or via our social media platforms


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