The Story of Southern Islet
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A mysterious illness keeps Yan's husband in bed. Is it because a couple of days earlier he was trying to catch a snake on a fenced field? This is the sort of a matter that the villagers from a small Malaysian community on the border with Thailand usually talk about to the shaman, not to the doctor, but the woman wants to do everything she can to help her husband. Meanwhile, the life of the village goes on as usual, unshaken by the supernatural phenomena and extraordinary transformations of its inhabitants.
The film is set in the late 1980s, when traditional shamanistic practices were still widespread in Malaysia. Today, the rituals are forbidden and ousted by the authorities, this is why the filmmakers had a hard time getting the film past the censors. The director goes back to the time and place of his childhood, showing a particular, borderline region of Malaysia and the community of Chinese origins he himself is a part of – one that has been organically rooted in the new motherland for a long time, but is still looking back to their country of origin.
This beautifully made film is a story from a particular region, and an oneiric journey into the world of childhood memories, where the line between truth and imagination is blurred, and to the time in our lives when we are not yet afraid to ask the most important questions.
Chong Keat Aun
A Malaysian Chinese director. In 2017 his short film, "Cemetery of Courtesy", was nominated for 22nd Busan International Film Festival – Wide Angle Category. In 2020 his first feature film, "The Story of Southern Islet", was awarded the FIPRESCI prize and Best New Director Award in the 57th Taipei Golden Horse Awards.
2017 Cemetery of Courtesy (kr.m.)
2021 Historia południowej wyspy / Nan wu / The Story of Southern Islet