Namewee's banned Banglasia gets New York premiere

  • Nation
  • Wednesday, 10 Jun 2015

PETALING JAYA: Banglasia, an action comedy by controversial filmmaker Namewee (pic) which has been banned in Malaysia, will be shown at the New York Asian Film Festival.

Festival director Goran Topalovic said it was proud to host the premiere of a movie that is "hilarious and surreal comedy that touches on issues of political corruption, mass hysteria about immigration, and out-of-control nationalism."

"This is the second movie by Namewee we’ve screened, and our audience loves his irreverent approach to filmmaking, his refusal to compromise, and his go-for-broke sense of satire.

"While Banglasia makes fun of issues that are of great concern to Malaysian audiences, Americans can definitely identify with them, too,” he said in a statment.

In the statement, Namewee was quoted as saying: “I wanted to direct a film that I feel strongly about through the only way I know how, by being fun and entertaining.

"I hope more Malaysians will come support this film and watch it with me on my very first trip to New York. You'll be the first batch of Malaysians to witness history in the making since it's banned in Malaysia, so it's going to be a very meaningful occasion.”

The movie’s producer, Fred Chong, said it was never easy to produce a feature film.

"I always believe that every film has its very own life, Banglasia is a wonderful and meaningful movie directed by the very talented Namewee. It's a great honour that this film is selected for the New York Asian Film Festival and I hope the audience will enjoy the film and learn more about our country."

The story tells of a group of multi-cultural individuals coming together during a time in which their cultural tolerance and understanding are being tested.

Last year, Namewee, also a rapper whose real name is Wee Meng Chee, opted to do three months of social work instead of going to jail after he pleaded guilty to insulting a Tenaga Nasional Berhad (TNB) officer some five years ago.

Namewee admitted to uttering abusive words in Mandarin towards Wan Mohd Faizal Wan Hamat.

Banglasia will screen on Friday, July 10, at the SVA theatre (333 West 23rd Street, between 8th and 9th Avenues), New York.

Now in its 14th year, the Festival is North America’s leading festival of popular Asian cinema, which the New York Times has called “one of the city's most valuable events.”

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