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Bonura, Carlo (2021) 'The What-Has-Been and the Now of a Communist Past in Malaya in the Films of Amir Muhammad.' positions: east asia cultures critique, 29 (1). pp. 47-65.

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Abstract

This article considers two films by the Malaysian filmmaker Amir Muhammad, The Last Communist of 2006 and the Village People Radio Show of 2007. Both films are focused on the Malayan Emergency and the lives of a small group of Malayan communists. Through an engagement with Walter Benjamin’s essay “The Storyteller,” the analysis in this article examines the aesthetic forms that structure Amir’s films, namely nonlinear narratives, intertextuality, and the use of images and stories as comparative frames. This article argues that Amir’s films enable audiences to recognize how the truth of a communist past in Malaysia, both of its politics and suppression, inflects the present. The films provide an opening to recognize how the absence of communism today is the effect of the ideological clearing of all leftism that became the hallmark of the end of the British Empire in Malaysia. Communism is made meaningful in Amir’s films both as a lived experience and as a displacement that is absent from the postcolonial everyday.

Item Type: Journal Article
Keywords: Amir Muhammad, communism, comparison, Malaysia, documentary
SOAS Departments & Centres: Regional Centres and Institutes > Centre of South East Asian Studies
Departments and Subunits > Department of Politics & International Studies
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HX Socialism. Communism. Anarchism
J Political Science > JC Political theory
N Fine Arts > N Visual arts (General)
ISSN: 15278271
Copyright Statement: Copyright 2021 by Duke University Press
DOI (Digital Object Identifier): https://doi.org/10.1215/10679847-8722769
Date Deposited: 25 Feb 2023 09:28
URI: https://eprints.soas.ac.uk/id/eprint/38967
Related URLs: https://read.du ... edFrom=fulltext

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