IT’S always a pleasure to see local talents getting recognition from all over the world so it makes us proud that a Malaysian short film written and directed by Khairul Arifin M Ajib (known simply as Arifin Ajib) titled My Lor Bak is officially on the festival circuit.
Arifin’s short film most recently premiered at the 24th Raindance Film Festival in Central London which ran from 21 September to 2 October.
Getting its title from a Chinese dish traditionally made with pork, this short is full of subtleties within the Malaysian post-colonial context.
— Raindance Film Festival
Throughout the 12-day period, the festival showcased features, shorts, and music videos by filmmakers from the United Kingdom and the rest of the world to celebrate and push independent, new, and alternative filmmaking. But did you know that short films selected for this festival also qualifies for Oscar and BAFTA nominations?
Arifin’s My Lor Bak tells the story of a single Chinese mother who is introduced to her son’s Malay-Muslim girlfriend. She panics: how will she cook her son’s favourite dish which is made from pork if he were to marry a Muslim girl? Is she going to change the recipe for both of them?
In three minutes, Arifin captures the struggles of a conservative mother who wants to do her best for the sake of her son, and eventual daughter-in-law. My Lor Bak first appeared last year when it won telecom provider Celcom‘s filmmaking initiative Celcom Escape Shots. Soon after, it made the Top 5 at Drama Festival Kuala Lumpur 2015 which was put together by TV3 and TV9.
According to the director, he chose to portray interracial relationships because “it is the balance of racial harmony that we seek despite the racial-political struggles in the country”. In fact, My Lor Bak was written and directed in a language that Arifin himself doesn’t speak.
As a storyteller I spend a lot of time being open to inspiration that can turn into a screenplay. These inspirations may come from any culture or social background as long as it is a story I find fascinating enough to immerse myself in.
Without this fascination, any idea will not survive beyond several days of inception. A Malay writing and directing a Mandarin language narrative is rare.
— Arifin Ajib
Fun fact: Arifin took a risk by casting regular folk for his short because he enjoyed working with non-actors and their eagerness for production. Arifin claims that his cast showcased an “inner humility” which is essential for them to have fun in their own characters. Inspired by the song “Warisan” by Sudirman, the film was shot in Kuala Lumpur and Melaka last year.
My Lor Bak premiered on 30 September 2016 at the 24th Raindance Film Festival. For more information about the event, you know where to go but we’ll keep you updated on where you can watch the film really soon.
Watch out also for Khairul Arifin’s brand new project Lion’s Heart which is currently in development with Content Malaysia Pitching Centre and the Raindance Film Festival!