After it was announced that the heist drama, Fly By Night is one of the recipients of the ACF 2018 Post-Production Fund of the Busan International Film Festival’s (BIFF) Asian Cinema Fund (ACF), the question that’s floating around is, “What is the movie about?”
This year, Fly By Night was one of the 24 projects selected out of 365 submissions to the AFC to be given an allocation of 900 million won (RM3.24mil) that would fund and support the production of Asian independent films and the Malaysian drama by Zahir Omar (in his directorial debut) is one of six winners of this year’s post-production grant offering support for feature debut projects by new directors from the region.
Joining the team behind, Fly By Night are screenwriters, Dain Said (of Dukun), Ivan Yeo and Frederick Bailey with cinematography by Low Keong (of Sepet). With a cast like Sunny Pang (Headshot), Jack Tan (Shuttle Life), Fabian Loo (Think Big Big) and Bront Palarae (Pengabdi Setan), the film unfolds a thrilling story of a group of cab drivers in their attempt to pay off their debts and having to resort to crime.
It’s a refreshing outlook on the double lives of the people we meet around the streets of cities and towns, getting into their registered cars and going from one place to the other while not actually knowing who they truly are. Maybe the day-to-day life of a taxi driver isn’t as mundane as it seems? In fact, there has been many tellings of ‘the taxi driver’ in films like the 70s’ cult classic by Martin Scorsese, Taxi Driver which starred Robert de Niro as a veteran working as a taxi driver post-Vietnam War and overcame with insanity leading to delusions of wanting to assassinate a presidential candidate.
Perhaps this American neo-noir psychological thriller is more well-known for its iconic line quoted too many times in our generation’s pop culture, “You talking to me?” nonetheless, there is an eeriness to the plot when it comes to the realisation that the dangerous, threatening man in shades and has a Mohawk is someone who drives a cab for a living. A more recent interpretation of this blue-collar driver, is the Korean movie, A Taxi Driver with Song Kang-Ho playing the titular role. The film is a historical drama of a taxi driver being caught in the middle of the Gwangju Democratization Movement in 1980 which is an uprising resulting from the firing and killing of Chonnam University Students.
The perception that the ordinary man and woman could possibly experience a life-threatening situation is quite a unique narration especially when it is adopted in Fly By Night. From the trailer, we see a struggle of guns between the characters, a cab driver swerving the familiar white-red car across traffic and the silent threat of an unresolved issue hanging in the air as it is kept secret from us until the movie is finally screened. Will Fly By Night be the story of an underdog hero in the form of a cab driver or is there something more sinister that lies behind the mask of the man behind the wheel?
Fly By Night will premiere at the 23rd Busan International Film Festival (BIFF) which will be held from 4th to 13th October this year.
Featured Image source: BIFF