Categorised | Pictures

Karaoke: Stories behind the songs

Updated 3:35pm, 25 Nov 2009

MALAYSIAN filmmaker Chris Chong Chan Fui‘s critically acclaimed feature Karaoke will debut in Malaysia when it screens for a limited one-week run at GSC Mid Valley in Kuala Lumpur from 26 Nov to 2 Dec 2009.

The winner of the first Maverick award at the 10th annual Calgary International Film Festival 2009 in Canada, Karaoke tells the story of Betik, who returns home to his kampung to try to build a future with his mother after his father’s death a few years ago. He takes on a day job shooting karaoke videos, and works nights in the family karaoke bar frequented by local Indian estate workers, Malay Muslim villagers, and a girl who just might hold the future he has come back for.

Karaoke stars Zahiril Adzim, Mislina Mustaffa, Mohamed Hariry and Nadiya Nisaa.

The film had its world premiere when it represented Malaysia at the Director’s Fortnight of the 62nd Cannes Film Festival from 14 to 24 May 2009. It was nominated for the Camera d’Or (Golden Camera) award for the best first feature film presented in a Cannes selection.

Karaoke was also nominated for the Dragon & Tigers Award for Young Cinema at the Vancouver International Film Festival, and has been screened in the Toronto, Viennale (Austria), Taipei, London and Pusan (South Korea)  international film festivals.

In a statement, Chong, who directed, co-wrote and co-produced the film, says Karaoke plays on the illusion and reality of returning home. “The illusion is Betik’s need to have a home, a job, and love. The reality is that everything and everyone has moved on without him while he was away … the karaoke videos [harness] the illusion, while the landscape and his relationships are the reality.

“Betik’s denial of his reality, and Malaysia’s denial of its changing artificial landscape, become deeply rooted. What is the reality of our environment, and why are we unable to see past the illusion of this place we call home?”

Show times for Karaoke are at 11:15am, 1:30pm, 4:00pm, 6:30pm, 9pm, and 11:40pm. There will also be a special screening of Chong’s experimental short film Block B during the 1:30pm session on 28 and 29 Nov.

Tickets are available at the GSC Mid Valley box office. For bookings, visit or call 03 8312 3456. There will also be a one-night-only screening at GSC 1Borneo in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah at 8pm on 11 Dec 2009.

All pics by Danny Lim, except where noted, with captions by Chris Chong.

Karaoke was co-written by The Nut Graph‘s Shanon Shah, who also wrote the songs for the film.

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