BUNOHAN / Bunohan. Return to Murder
Malaysia 2011, 97'
director: Dain Said
screenplay: Dain Said
cinematography: Jarin Pengpanitch
editing: H.K. Panca
music: Tan Yan Wei
cast: Zahiril Adzim, Faizal Hussein, Wan Hanafisu, Pekin Ibrahim, Namron
producer: Nandita Solon
awards: 6th Five Flavours FF - Special Mention, Golden Horse FF - NETPAC Award, Asia-Pacific FF - Best Picture (nominated)
A gloomy story of three brothers, who, after many years of absence, come back to a remote village hidden in the coastal marshes of Malaysia, where they all grew up. The youngest, Adil, flees the mob, whose wrath he attracted by taking part in illegal muay thai fights. The oldest, Ilham, is an assassin who returns to his homeland in pursuit of his next target. Bakar, the third brother, seems to be a respectable teacher from the city, but it soon turns out that he, too, has his own vicious agenda.
Dan Said does not refrain from showing violence, and the brothers' encounter doesn't not look a friendly chat, but the film is by no means akin to the conventional martial arts cinema. "Bunohan" is a dark family drama, focusing on the dynamics of the protagonists' relations, constructed in a careful and precise manner. A thick atmosphere of the jungle and the sun-scorched huts, long-hidden secrets, conflicting personalities and values, betrayal, redemption - all these topics are played out against the poetic but brutal reality of the contemporary Malaysian province.