Local Film 'Maryam Pagi Ke Malam' Set To Premiere At International Film Festival Rotterdam

Director and screenwriter Badrul Hisham Ismail said he is grateful for the international screening as films with smaller budgets usually cannot afford to get distributed locally due to a lack of promotion funds.

Cover image via New Straits Times & SOFY.TV

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Local film Maryam Pagi Ke Malam will make its debut at the International Film Festival Rotterdam 2023 later this month as the sole Malaysian representative

Image via Malay Mail

Despite the fact that the film has yet to screen in Malaysia, producer Mohamad Lutfi Hakim Mohamad Ariff hopes that this international premiere will ensure that Malaysians can watch it in theatres later.

Speaking to Malay Mail, director and screenwriter Badrul Hisham Ismail said that the struggle for the film and its contemporaries to reach the silver screen is due to a lack of independent cinemas here.

Badrul explained that films with smaller budgets cannot afford to get distributed locally due to a lack of promotion funds.

"We only have multiplexes; we don't have independent cinemas," he said.

The film 'Maryam Dari Pagi Ke Malam' is directed by Badrul Hisham Ismail (right) and produced by Anomalous Films' Eddy Abdullah (middle).

Image via Malay Mail

Maryam Pagi Ke Malam, starring Sofia Jane, is about a gallery owner in her 50s from a noble Malay family who wishes to marry Damien, her younger Sierra Leonean companion, but is opposed by her father

The title of the movie, which translates to "Maryam From Morning To Night", is an allegory of her journey in a day of "overcoming bureaucratic challenges that prevent women like her from choosing their spouse".

Screenwriter Faisal Tehrani shared that the film touches on many sensitive issues that occur in Malaysia, ranging from feminism, xenophobia, and sexual orientation, to class struggle, the monarchy, and racism.

According to the acclaimed author and poet, the name "Maryam" is based on the Abrahamic religious figure Maryam, the mother of Prophet Isa in Islam, or the mother of Jesus Christ, Mary, in Christianity.

Originally, Maryam was a woman who was also isolated and chastised by society.

Referring to Mary's standing as the Blessed Virgin, he further explained, "So here is the modern-day Maryam that shows the respectable virgin looking for ways to defend her dignity."

When the director crafted the character of Maryam with the renowned author and playwright Faisal Tehrani, Badrul shared that they deliberately focused on how religious institutions affect Malaysian Muslims' private lives.

A scene from the 'Maryam Pagi Ke Malam' film.

Image via Malaysiakini

The 90-minute film also stars other well-known names in the industry, such as Susan Lankaster, Vanidah Imran, Roslan Madun, and Azman Hassan, among others

It was funded by Penjana Kreatif and the Arthouse-Festival Feature Film Grants from MyCreative Ventures, and produced by Anomalous Films.

The International Film Festival Rotterdam 2023 will begin on 25 January and run until 5 February in Rotterdam, the Netherlands.

Watch the trailer of Maryam Pagi Ke Malam here:

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