The Malay Mail (28/7/2001) pt. 1
by Meor Shariman
One for the road
Dari Jemapoh Ke Manchester is a film that defies all the rules of a commercial film. It was made with a small budget, unknown cast and no promotional allocation. An indie production, Dari Jemapoh Ke Manchester , is big in quality.
Hishamuddin Rais, the director, had only RM500,000 to play with. While other filmmakers engaged experienced actors and actresses as leads, he chose unknowns with no acting experience. While other producers spend big money on promotion and publicity; and open their films at more than 20 cinemas nationwide, Dari Jemapoh Ke Manchester will only open in five cinemas in the Klang Valley.
Producer Halim Sabir admitted that completing the film was a struggle and it almost did not make it to the silver screen. "We started shooting in 1996 but we had to break for a year due to financial problems," he said, adding that shooting continued in 1998.
But, financial problems did not stop the producer from showing off his masterpiece to foreigners. "We were invited to take part in seven film festivals - the Singapore International Film Festival (1998), Munich Film Museum Germany (1998), Stockholm International Film Festival (1998), Rotterdam International Film Festival (1999), Berlin Beta International Film Festival (1999), Splitsky Filmski Festival in Croatia (1999) and Jakarta International Film Festival (1999)," he said.
Come Aug 2, after being watched and enjoyed by foreigners, this film will finally make it to selected local cinemas. The movie also utilises Manchester United fever to help promote it. One of the main characters is a MU fanatic.
Dari Jemapoh Ke Manchester is Malaysia's first road movie, a genre that is not new in Hollywood, a good example being the hit, Thelma and Louise . True to any road movie, the protagonists hit the road in search of their destiny and throughout the journey, face danger, fun and failure.
Two best friends - Yadi and Mafiz - come from a small village in Negri Sembilan called Jemapoh where there are more cows than people.
Yadi (Indra Syahril) is a fan of Manchester United; her his idol George Best. His dream is to watch his favourite football team play while Mafiz (Zulkarnain Ibrahim) is a mechanic whose dream is to meet with his long-lost father in Liverpool.
When opportunity knocks (in a form of a borrowed red Volvo), they take to the road armed with only determination and trust of each other. They stop at a nightclub where a heavy-metal band is playing. The show is disrupted by a gun-toting gangster and the two end up with Lini (Azizul Akma), the singer who decides to join them as he wants to meet his girlfriend in Germany.
The next day, Yadi rescues Mila (Fariza Azlina) from a pimp and Mafiz, who is smitten by her, suggests that she come along. Mila's presence puts a strain on Yadi and Mafiz's relationship but that is not the only thing that tests their friendship. Besides being chased by the pimp, hunted by the police (due to the "borrowed" car), they also encounter a psycho who kidnaps Mila.
So, will the four get to Manchester? You will have to catch the film to find out.
read more>> malay mail review part 2