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Thursday, May 11, 2006

EPI ate my LOG: Akmal Abdullah's Secret Film Rating System

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Yes, Akmal Abdullah is on Walski's shit list. So, what better way to get back at someone than to lampoon them, n'cest-ce pas? Thanks to myAsylum's network of Cybernetic Remote Autonomous Para-roaches (or CRAP, for short) that have been mobilized to conduct clandestine surveillance on him, AND through the time-tested scientific analysis method of pure conjecture, here then is Akmal Abdullah's film rating system, applicable to any film, but probably more applicable to Malaysian, er sorry, locally made ones.

AA's Secret Film Rating System (in the full post)

Director's Ethnicity:
The director is of the Malay ethnicity
Score: 10 points (10 point bonus if the director is Raja Azmi)

The director is one of those dreaded bangsa asing (i.e. anything other than Malay)
Score: -10 points

The director is of the Malay ethnicity, but portrays in the film elements that may be detrimental to the Malay culture, religion, or may cause discomfort to the stereotypical Malay, no matter how trivial the element is. A Malay character speaking a language other than his/her mother tongue will also fall under this category
Score: -20 points

The director is Malay but is not recognized by either the PFM (Malaysian Film Producers Association) or PPFM (Malaysian Film Workers Association), or does not share either organizations' myopic views of the industry
Score: -25 points

Film's Subject Matter/Content:
Film contains stereotypical modern-day Malay movie elements, such as cinta (love), putus cinta (heartbreak), dengki (jealousy), nostalgia zaman dolu-dolu (nostalgia of a bygone era), main characters in full suits or leather jackets (regardless of how humid the climate), stupid slapstick humor (the more stupid the better)
Score: 30 points

Film contains realistic elements of Malaysian life, but which may somewhat deviate from the Malay ideal (like mixed-marriages, how other ethnicities live, campur-ation [mixture] of languages, Malays entering or eating at non-JAKIM approved establishments, etc.)
Score: -15 points

Film features the celebrity du jour or members of Scenario.
Score: 15 points (5 point bonus if either Erra Fazira or Awie is featured, or 10 bonus points if both are)

Film does not feature any recognizable celebrity, OR celebrities Akmal doesn't like
Score: -15 points

Hero/Heroine in the film is Malay
Score: 10 points

Casting of non-Malays is kept to a bare Muhibbah minimum of the token Chinaman (or woman), ethnic Indian, or the dan lain-lain ("and others") ethnic group. All main characters are Melayu.
Score: 10 points

Akmal has seen the film for himself
Score: N/A (he's a firm believer in criticizing and condemning something purely on conjecture and hearsay)

Boy meets girl, girl is the daughter of a filthy-rich Datuk (or Tan Sri) but is already promised or engaged to a spoiled and philandering rich kid - son of the Datuk's (or Tan Sri's) business partner - boy and girl fall in love (preferably at the Lake Gardens or some other scenic spot), rich fiance gets wind of this and hires the local neighborhood triad (preferably cast with Chinese-looking Malay actors), boy and triad battle it out in a feiry kapcai chase-scene, boy gets seriously injured and lies in a coma. Then, girl is forced to marry rich fiancee but ends up being abused by husband, and girl also finds out husband is actually seeing someone on the side, girl eventually runs away back to the parents, and eventually files for divorce - which takes forever, since she has to go for counselling first. Other non-consequential and incidental sub-plots allowed. Meanwhile, boy wakes from his coma, several years later, gets heartbroken but bounces back in the next 5 minutes, a determined new man, becomes successful businessman. One year later, boy accidentally bumps into girl (already divorced, finally) at the local mini market, tears of joy erupt, cue end-theme (sung by Siti or Mawi), roll credits, fade to black. The End. Or slight variations thereof.
Score: 50 points

Film contains a multi-layered, allegory-filled, intellectual discourse into human relationships, with multiple and sometimes intricate or parallel/non-intersecting storylines, or if characters are too true to life, speak in a too-true-to-life way, and show Malays entering a non-Halal eating establishments, or shows intimacy between couples (married or otherwise), contrary to the ideal that sex is only for breeding and no other purpose, or focuses on persons/ideas that a certain Youth organization may be uneasy with. Or, any movie that Akmal doesn't understand. Or documentaries.
Score: -60 points (Akmal gets very confused very easily, and thinks "international acclaim" is nothing more than thinly disguised neo-colonialism)

Historical film sub-genre: focus must be on Malay historical figures, no matter how radical, because no other ethnicity Malaysians have a place in this country's history. Or probably existed.
Score: 20 points if Malay, 10 points if pseudo-Malay, -30 points if non-Malay

Horror film sub-genre: focus must be on Malay mythical horror figures, no matter how stupid-looking or un-scary, because no other ethnicity ghouls have a place in this country's psyche.
Score: 20 points if Malay, -30 points if non-Malay

Adult film sub-genre: any film that depicts the womans anatomy above the knee, beyond the elbow or below the neck, shall be considered pornographic. Any foreign or art film trying to pass itself off as artistic, but has actual nudity shall be considered pornographic, and therefore must be banned. FINAS approval doesn't count, because only Akmal's point of view matters.
Pornography: -250 points.
Pornography with actual nudity: -500 points

Miscellaneous Criteria:
Film must be released in Malaysia before released elsewhere. This shows that the film's director and producers are true-blue patriotic Malaysians.
Complies with requirement, score: 5 points, doesn't comply, score: -10 points

Film must be easily categorized and recognized as identifying with a particular ethnic group. Otherwise it will confuse Akmal.
Easily categorized, score: 20 points
Not Easily categorized (i.e. confusing): -20 points

A truly Malaysian movie must have representation of every single ethnic group, no matter how obscure a minority (example: Sikh, Iban, Kadazandusun or Orang Asli). Nevermind that it embodies aspects of life that are uniquely Malaysian in flavor, despite from the perspective of a particular ethnic viewpoint.
Score: N/A (no film has been able to meet Akmal's stringent criteria of a "Malaysian" film)

So, there you have it. Akmal's secret rating system for the world to see. The next time you think a Malaysian locally made film deserves to be watched, be sure to run it by Akmal Abdullah's Rating System - if it scores 0 or more, it's safe to watch. Otherwise, you may be at risk of endangering your myopic view of the world. And we can't have that now, can we? Rest assured, Akmal Abdullah knows best!