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Saturday, June 23, 2007

Strolling the Dark City

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Mention film noir, and the next thing that comes to mind will most likely not be Malaysia. Or Astro. And even less likely, Astro Ria (Channel 04). Well, guess what?

Image hosting by PhotobucketCatch Dark City, every Wednesday night, 10:30pm on Astro Ria

Got this heads up from one of the directors, Tony Pietra, budding director, and the driving force behind Cinejam. The 13-episode series airs on Astro Ria every Wednesday, at 10:30pm, and debuted about 2 weeks ago, without much fanfare.

Actually, without any promotions whatsoever, as far as Walski can tell. He does watch a fair share of Astro, and doesn't recall seeing anything pertaining to the series.

Truth be told, if it were not for Tony's mail, Walski wouldn't have known about this series either. Astro Ria isn't exactly one of those channels Walski watches with any regularity. The second episode, which debuted last Wednesday, can be viewed early tomorrow morning at 3:00am (each episode gets repeated about 5 times throughout the week).

Featuring 7 directors, Khai Bahar, Keith Chong, Johan John, Virginia Kennedy, N'aa Murad, Tony Pietra, and Rob Nevis, Dark City features 13 half-hour long episodes a la omnibus anthology thrillers, in the vein of Alfred Hitchcock Presents, and The Twilight Zone.

This week's episode (you can watch the next re-run at 3am tomorrow morning) is Late Night Radio, directed by Johan John. Among other things, this episode's got DJs, and vampires...
(more bleeding edge TV, in the full post)

As for Tony Pietra, his episode, entitled Death Row, can be seen next Wednesday night. Walski met Tony for the first time during the Cinejam trial event some months back. And boy, is this guy talented. Among the work that he's done in the past are a music video for Shelly Leong (for the song Forgiveness), and this following music video, for the local group Rabbit.

In addition to Death Row, another episode directed by Tony Pietra for the Dark City series is Car Park Murders, whose air date is yet to be announced (hat tip: Ben Tan, actor featured in the episode).

Following Tony's episode (which will air on June 27), will be Cellphone, directed by Khairil Bahar, which is scheduled to air on July 4). Khairil, or Khai for short, is best known for his independent film Ciplak.

It's not often that such gritty film noir is featured on local Malaysian TV, and rarer still, a series of film noir created by local Malaysian talent. Instead, what gets promoted to death is inane, juvenile entertainment, like Akademi Fantasia, or even worse, anything featuring the persistently annoying Aznil Hj. Nawawi.

The same fate, it would seem, has befallen Dark City, for which, Walski has not seen one single bit of promotion on Astro - or anywhere else, for that matter.

So, try to catch the rest of the series, if you can - Wednesday nights, 10:30pm on Astro Ria.