Starring : Azad Jasmin, Nell Ng, Ruminah Sidek, Amirul Ariff and Sharifah Amani
Director : Sheikh Munasar, Rozi Izma and Bront Palarae
Release Date : 6 Dec 2013
An omnibus effort made by three directors – Sheikh Munasar, Rozi Izma and actor Bront Palarae – the film is a refreshing look at a few different sides of Kuala Lumpur that we may have forgotten to see, or maybe even never cared to look at before.
Made up of three segments, each around 30 minutes, the film’s almost-but-barely interconnecting storylines may remind some viewers of director Kabir Bhatia’s hits Cinta and Sepi, but don’t let that fool you.
Kolumpo has a little bit more on its mind than just interconnecting stories. First of all, you may have already been wondering, why Kolumpo and not Kuala Lumpur? As explained by Bront during a press conference, the directors decided on titling the film Kolumpo simply because of its slang-y sound.
It suits the film’s mood better than the more formal sounding “Kuala Lumpur”.
Bront’s segment, which opens the film, is about migrant worker Rahul (Azad Jasmin giving one of his most convincing screen performances yet) who arrives from India only to find that the company that he’s supposed to be working for has gone bust. What follows is the rarely told story of how migrant workers in Kuala Lumpur are often scammed into working for peanuts and put up in barely hospitable living quarters – all in the pursuit of their dreams.
Ably supported by a mix of unknowns and well-known players like Mano Maniam, Radhi Khalid and Shoffi Jikan, this heart-warming opening story will leave you with a bittersweet smile on your face.
Following that is this writer’s favourite segment, directed by Rozi Izma (or Mrs Bront, to those not in the know), about a single girl named Gienna (Nell Ng) who’s been avoiding her mother’s phone calls and who finds herself unwittingly helping a senile old lady, Nek Wok (veteran Ruminah Sidek giving a fine comic-dramatic performance), to find her way home.
The story itself may be the stuff of countless TV dramas. But it’s in its execution that it first shines and then soars above everything else in the film.
It will touch you and make you go all teary-eyed (and want to call your mother immediately afterwards), but it’s also laugh-out-loud funny in so many places, which makes the previously unknown Rozi (who’s been prolific as an assistant director) a name to really watch out for.
Capping it all off is Sheikh Munasar’s segment, a sort of Before Sunrise for Kuala Lumpur, in which shy guy Hafidd (Amirul Ariff making a very appealing screen debut) meets cute stranger Siti Nur Hayy (Sharifah Amani turning on the “manic pixie dream girl” persona) and spends the whole night walking around the city with her, talking about everything and nothing.
To hold everything together, the three directors’ decision to have the same production team working on each segment was a good one.
Thai director of photography Charin Pengpanich (famous for his work with Thai auteur Apichatpong Weerasethakul and also on last year’s Bunohan) provides a consistent look despite all three segments having different and even contrasting moods and feelings. Yes, it still feels like one whole film instead of three short segments stitched into one.
With this new film not only will you get three different stories but also three new directors and therefore three more reasons to get excited about the future of Malaysian filmmaking.