SMLC Film Group Presents:
Special Q&A with leading Malaysian Filmmaker James Lee
Lecture Theatre F1A15, Thursday @ 6pm
Followed by a Screening of Internationally renowned production ‘If It’s Not Now Then When’
– (Dir. James Lee, 2010) – (127 minutes) –
At SMLC Film Group, we try every year to bring our contacts from the Malaysian film industry to campus and so give students the chance to learn about filmmaking directly from the experts. This year, we are proud to announce that James Lee, currently Malaysia’s top independent filmmaker, will be visiting UNMC to screen his latest production ‘If It’s Not Now Then When?’ and answer questions about filmmaking in Malaysia.
James Lee has been described as the “bright light of Malaysian independent cinema”. This year, he has represented Malaysia internationally at the Pusan International Film Festival in South Korea (one of the biggest Asian film festivals) and the Vancouver International Film Festival. A filmmaker since 1997, he is renowned for his ability to garner subtle yet deep performances from actors as well as his flexibility to work across various genres. He is now working on “Atlantis Conspiracy” his English language science fiction action thriller and also preparing to film a new Malay horror movie in November. His action comedy “The Collector” which was recently picked up by US distributor Birch Tree Entertainment will be released in December. Though Lee has lately branched out into successful genre-pop, he continues to make elegantly spare indie features—serious, though inflected with his own brand of precise, droll humour—and his latest film ‘If It’s Not Now Then When?’ is one of the best.
If It’s Not Now, Then When?
If It’s Not Now, Then When? is a drama starring Pearlly Chua, Tan Bee Hung and Kenny Gan. The film takes place in an apartment inhabited by three members of a family (though never at the same time): a mother (Pearlly Chua from Tsai Ming-liang’s I Don’t Want to Sleep Alone), daughter (Tan Bee Hung, a dancer from Kwang Tung Dance Group in her acting debut) and young son (Kenny Gan), who each wrestle with their own personal difficulties after losing the family’s father/husband. The mother leaves early and returns late, out on long walks in the park with a lover whom the daughter and her best friend try to spy on. The daughter pecks away at a computer at work and has a desultory affair with her married boss, which he carries on between his business and family phone calls. The son meanwhile, breaks into cars and “recycles” the electronics he finds.
Lee’s characters are superb at indicating, despite their placid, seemingly calm exteriors, that tension inflected with despair lurks just underneath. With precise control, Lee circulates the three characters through ever-overlapping spaces, as they seek ways to connect with one other. When the final eruption occurs, it is all the more fierce, disturbing, despairing—and quite possibly (even controversially) somehow satisfying.
“If It’s Not Now, Then When?” Is James’ 17th film, the movie was produced by Da Huang Pictures with the support of Krishen Jit Astro Fund and Hubert Bals Fund (from Rotterdam)
SMLC Film Group is extremely grateful to James for taking time out of his busy schedule to visit our campus, we hope that you will give him a warm welcome on Thursday and show your support for Malaysian Independent Filmmaking!