FINALLY, after 4 years of waiting; Tanah Licin Sdn. Bhd has decided to screen the long-awaiting local silver screen adaptation of Joseph Conrad’s “Almayer’s Folly”!!!! I was so excited about this movie that I even asked the renowned Malaysian entertainment reporter, Sis Zie Man to check if there were to be any updates on the film 2 years ago! Haha! Well, I even read the novel last year (REFER to https://undomiel84.wordpress.com/2015/07/03/a-tragic-estuary-of-race-raucous-a-caucasian-fathers-love-to-a-half-malay-daughter-almayers-folly-by-joseph-conrad/) and instantaneously blown away by that masterpiece written in 1895!
The film poster.
On whole, I thought the adaptation was OK but the sequences were draggy. If I were to wear the hat of an average Malaysian film aficionado, I would find “Hanyut” as mundane because the dialogues were “too literature-esque” and timeline of the plot was somewhat unclear – audience might want to feel more about the dynamic relationship between Kasper Almayer-Nina Almayer (more sequences should be dedicated to the relationship) and they also may wonder who was the Old Lingard mentioned and how Mem Almayer became the adopted daughter and then forced to marry Kasper?
This is Joseph Conrad. “Almayer’s Folly” was written in 1895 and was his first!
I had no problem understanding the flow since I read the novel last year, hence I wasn’t lost. I thought Peter O’Brien was “too handsome” to play Kasper Almayer – beauty is lethal here. Haha! Perhaps the make-up department should tone down his “movie star’s face”? But he was OK as Almayer, though. Diana Danielle did a decent portrayal of Nina; Adi Putra as Dain Maroola was OK – BUT of course the star of the movie would be Sofea Jane with her portrayal as Mem Almayer. In the novel, Mem was not mentioned that much but I guess U-Wei wanted to explore more on the character, thus more frames were given to Mem. I have to say Sofea Jane was excellent! She embodied the soul of a tortured Malay woman forced to marry a White Man who loathed her and her race as well as a doting mother with unquenchable vengeance! Apart from that, Khalid Salleh also was excellent as the Orang Kaya Tinggi, the right handman of Rajah Ibrahim.
Nina Almayer and Dain Maroola, a Bugis Prince.
Nina Almayer and Taminah, the servant girl who harboured romantic feeling for Dain Maroola.
My favourite scene would definitely be the scene where Kasper and Nina parted ways at the estuary. Peter O’Brien’s expression was priceless as Kasper; trying to let his precious daughter go when all his life was dedicated to lavish her with ambitious “civilized European” dream! Nevertheless, it was a shame that U-Wei did not include the tragic ending in the film where Kasper eventually gone mad in the house and was described to “keep talking to a girl” and keep repeating “I would not forgive you, Nina”.
Sofea Jane as Mem Almayer – the star of the film! Marvellous portrayal!
Such a tragic tale. It is amazing how a story written in 1895 is still relevant till these days. The polemics of xenophobia and White Supremacy. On whole, I applaud U-Wei’s Tanah Licin Sdn Bhd as well as producer Julia Fraser for this wonderful attempt. I also like that U-Wei inserted a few scenes that accentuate the Malayness of the plot (Mem Almayer vehemently reminded Nina that she is and will always be a Malay) and not to recoil against the White Supremacy (Mem Almayer valiantly argued with Kasper on race prejudice!). I hope to see “Hanyut” being recognized in any film festivals for the wonderful efforts behind it. Kudos!
For the love of a Caucasian father to a half-Malay daughter. Tragic, it was.
“I love you more than the life itself, Nina”.