A documentary on the life of Chin Peng, the leader of the Malayan Communist Party who led an armed struggle against British colonial rule in the years after World War II, Amir Muhammad’s film takes an oblique approach to his subject’s life. The digressive, essayistic form may yield sly ironies for those with knowledge of the period, but to this viewer Muhammad’s film baffles more than it illuminates. The Brechtian musical interludes struck me as simply amateurish and the attempt to plot Peng’s movements across contemporary Malaysia have the feel of a sloppy travelogue. Towards the end there are some interesting interviews with veterans of the anti-colonial uprising but it’s a long trudge till then.
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