The Last Communist (2006)




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A "film essayist" in the glorious tradition of Makavejev and the later Welles, writer/director Amir Muhammad is widely hailed as one of the harbingers of the Malaysian cinematic renaissance. His picture The Last Communist (aka Lelaki Komunis Terakir) begins as a relatively straightforward documentary on the life of Chin Peng, the exiled former leader of the now-banned Communist Party of Malaya, with one central quirk: Muhammad omits Peng from the film altogether, and instead tours the leader's old haunts, from his places of residence to his offices, interviewing the area residents and revealing, in the process, the extent of the country's political repressions in the post-colonial era. Amid these sequences, the director interpolates lavish, colorful, and extravagant staged musical numbers that parody propagandistic national anthems, and are also sung onscreen by Malaysian Communist exiles living in Baytong, Thailand. Due to its incendiary political content, the Malaysian government banned this picture.


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