Check Out These 5 Malaysian Films That Made It To International Screens

To extend our gratitude and utmost respect to the creative minds of creators, writers, and filmmakers of Malaysia, here is a list of films and TV shows inspired by Malaysian literature.

Cover image via Netflix & Likely
Image via Netflix

Based on the Yangsze Choo's novel of the same name, The Ghost Bride is the first Mandarin Netflix Original series from Malaysia.

Set in colonial Melaka, a Malaysian-Chinese woman fights against a ghost marriage proposal from a wealthy family, but soon finds herself entangled in a murder mystery and the underworld.

The Peranakan costumes and set pieces are a fusion of modern and traditional designs to showcase Malaysia's vivid heritage.

Main cast: Huang Pei-jia, Wu Kang-jen, Ludi Lin, and Kuang Tian

2. The Garden of Evening Mists (2019)

While Tan Twan Eng's acclaimed novel was shortlisted for several awards, the film adaptation also made it to international audiences and was nominated for 'Best Feature Film' and 'Best Adapted Screenplay' at the Golden Horse Awards.

The heartbreaking story set in Malaya tells of a tortured survivor of a Japanese war camp who travels to Cameron Highlands to build a garden in memory of her sister. Taking an apprenticeship under a mysterious Japanese gardener, their feelings eventually grow in spite of her hatred towards the Japanese.

Main cast: Lee Sin-je, Hiroshi Abe, and Sylvia Chang

3. Puteri Gunung Ledang (2004)

Also known as A Legendary Love in English, it was Malaysia's first big budget film, and was also the first Malaysian film to be submitted to the Academy Awards. The iconic legend of Hang Tuah and Puteri Gunung Ledang needs no introduction: it is the tale of forbidden romance, loyalty, and duty.

Despite not being longlisted for the 76th Academy Awards, Puteri Gunung Ledang received praise from Malaysians for its acting, screenwriting, and soundtrack.

Main cast: Puan Sri Tiara Jacquelina, Datuk M Nasir, Datuk Rahim Razali, and Adlin Aman Ramlie

4. Tombiruo: Penunggu Rimba (2017)

Image via Berita Harian

The action-packed adaptation of Ramlee Awang Murshid's 22-year-old novel brings a rare exposure of East Malaysia's Kadazandusun tribe, with Tombiruo meaning 'ghost' in the Kadazandusun language.

In an interview with Berita Harian, Sabah and Sarawak Creative Industry advisor Datuk Deddy M Borhan said that Sabahan novelists need to follow Ramlee's example in adapting their works to movies apart from promoting Sabahan culture and language.

Main cast: Zul Ariffin, Datuk Farid Kamil, Nabila Huda, Faizal Hussein, and Hasnul Rahmat

5. Rice People (1994)

Image via Cineccentric

Adapted from Shahnon Ahmad's 1966 novel, Ranjau Sepanjang Jalan, this Cambodian film had the honour of competing for the highly prestigious Palme d'Or Award at the 1994 Cannes Film Festival and was also submitted to the 67th Academy Awards.

Rice People follows a family of farmers struggling with their misfortunes after their lives were torn apart by the Khmer Rouge.

Main cast: Peng Phan, Mom Soth, and Chhim Naline

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