On 8 November 2023, Film Studies from the School of Humanities and Behavioural Sciences held an exclusive screening of the movie La Luna with writer-director M. Raihan Halim in attendance. SUSS students, alumni, instructors, staff, and guests attended the screening at Golden Village Plaza Singapura.
The Malay-language film had its world premiere at the Tokyo International Film Festival on 24 October 2023. In La Luna, the spirited and independent Hanie (Sharifah Amani) moves into sleepy Kampong Bras Basah and sets up a lingerie shop. Hanie’s shop breathes new life into the village, as the women begin to feel empowered and the men enjoy the liberation. However, the ultraconservative village leader Tok Hassan (Wan Hanafi Su) sees Hanie as a threat and is determined to drive her out.
The film negotiates serious issues such as domestic abuse, religious conservatism, and intolerance. But it is also uproariously funny, and there is a delightful sub-plot involving the kampong’s police chief, played by Shaheizy Sam, who is dealing with a rebellious teenaged daughter (Syumaila Salihin).
The appreciative audience spontaneously clapping and cheering when the movie ended
During the Q&A session, Director M. Raihan Halim talked about how he got the idea for the film from a newspaper article he had read about how a lingerie shop was burned down. He also shared the challenges of making a film in the middle of a paddy field, where the weather was constantly changing. He revealed that the production crew moved an entire house from Taiping to Kuala Kangsar, where La Luna was shot, and reassembled it for the film.
Director M. Raihan Halim (left) during the Q&A, moderated by Ms Khoo Sim Eng (right), Head, Film Studies Minor, School of Humanities and Behavioural Sciences
Director M. Raihan Halim thrilled the crowd by passing around the script he had used while making the film, complete with his post-its and notes scribbled everywhere.
Muhammad Iman Hakim bin Sugen, who is doing English with Film Studies, loved the film. He exclaimed, “I can't remember how many times I laughed hysterically! But there were also grave moments where I was worried for the characters. I really like how La Luna daringly presents issues related to sex and religion in a conservative society but balances the drama with comedy so well. I have not laughed this much for a local film!”
The audience showed immense engagement throughout the film, laughing at humorous scenes, gasping at key revelations, and even booing the antagonist. Experiencing this movie with the SUSS community was truly remarkable!
Click here to watch the trailer.