Women film directors may be few and far between in this country, but they make big contributions to the local film industry with films that matter. Here are a few of them:
In her short but substantial film career before she died last year, Yasmin made six films.
All of them featured strong women characters, especially the spunky Orked played by Sharifah Amani in Sepet and Gubra, and who makes a cameo appearance in Mukhsin.
Yasmin’s films were recognised and acclaimed internationally.
Datin Paduka Shuhaimi Baba
Shuhaimi is well-known for films such as Selubung and Layar Lara.
Her Pontianak Harum Sundal Malam not only revived the much-loved/feared female vampire of folk and film lore but also tells the tale of the ultimate revenge by a woman scorned. The role of the pontianak won Maya Karin the Best Actress award at the 2004 Asia Pacific Film Festival.
Tan Chui Mui
Tan’s quiet, contemplative A Tree In Tanjung Malim won the Principal Prize at the 2005 International Short Film Festival Oberhausen in Germany. She went on to make her debut feature film, Love Conquers All, about a country girl and the follies of love, which won the New Currents prize at the 2006 Pusan International Film Festival in South Korea.
She is currently working on a new Malay-language film, Year Without A Summer.
Actress-producer-director Erma Fatima started directing with 1995’s Jimi Asmara. Her movie Perempuan Melayu Terakhir (1999) explored a Malay woman’s place in her society and was an artistically accomplished piece of filmmaking.
In Embun (2002), the titular character, played by Umie Aida, is a woman forced to join the struggle against the Japanese occupation when the men in her family are taken prisoner. – By Allan Koay