The Big Durian

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Muhammad's brilliant short Kamunting (2003, about a visit to a political prisoner) established him as the funniest and most politically adept film-maker in Malaysia, baiting Mahathir's authoritarian government while loudly 'respecting' its censorship guidelines. The Big Durian pulls off the same trick on a larger scale. A purported documentary about an incident in 1987 (Private Adam Jafaar ran amok with an M-16 in the Chow Kit district of Kuala Lumpur, a working-class Chinese area), it actually sets out to illuminate the suppressed history of racial tension in Malaysia since it won independence from Britain in 1957. Mixing authentic, performed and fake testimony, it builds up a picture of KL as a 'big durian' - a knobbly coalition of special interests which smells foul and tastes sickly sweet. Witty to a fault (there's no script credit, but Muhammad sometimes appears on camera as a sardonic 'narrator'), it ends up not explaining Pvt Adam's derangement but obliquely empathising with it.

By: TR

Release details

Duration: 75 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Amir Muhammad
Cast: Anne James
Farish A Noor
Namron
Jo Kukathas
Patrick Teoh
Rashid Salleh
Low Ngai Yuen
Salleh Ben Joned
Amir Muhammad
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