Age of Anxiety: Malaysian Film Festival in Taiwan



** Free Admission **


Date: 2019.04.26 - 2019.04.28

Venue: Film Studies Center Theater, 3rd Floor, HA Building 2, National Chiao Tung University, Hsinchu


In contemporary Malaysian cinema, themes about “anxiety” appear time and again. Embroiled in the wavering identity between citizens and the abandoned, race and the Other, tradition and modernity, beliefs and non-beliefs, gender and nation, no one can escape from anxiety in this age. There are people anxious about losing control, their rights, identity, language or positions; there are also people anxious about losing a place to live, a will to survive, or a future to imagine. These uncertain threats, like the wandering ghosts, continue to haunt the society, thus making the horror/thriller films –Malaysians’ favorite genre—a metaphor in the age of anxiety.


Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad (when he was still the “former” prime minister) once complained that horror films hinder the progress and development of a modern nation. He further called on Malaysians to find more scientific ways to solve problems, but not indulging in superstitious, backward thinking. Dr. Mahathir led the nation with a commitment to science, modernization, and developmentalism, but horror films have precisely challenged this kind of linear development.


Local traditional cultures, spiritual beliefs, and deranged time-space are misplaced in the discourse of modernity and developmentalism. Different genres of films seek to unveil voices in the interstices, making an inquiry about the forms of living under such ideological trend, and thus arousing the emotions of suspense, agitation, excitement and anxiety.


“Age of Anxiety” is a diasporic Malaysian film festival that takes place in Taiwan. It goes beyond geographical, national and linguistic boundaries, hoping to connect Malaysian and Sinophone/Chinese cinema, uncovering the questions of cultural complexities in contemporary Malaysia. The film festival covers over 8 contemporary Malaysian feature films in different genres, post-screening discussions with 4 Malaysian directors, as well as panel discussions and lectures by film critics and scholars. Together we reflect on the various challenges in contemporary Malaysia and the possibilities and ways of intervening society through the arts.


Directors: Namron, Shanjhey Kumar Perumal, Tan Chui Mui, Tsai Ming Liang, Au Sow Yee

Scholars: Norman Yusoff, Khoo Gaik Cheng, Tee Kim Tong, Lim Kien Ket, Joyce C.H. Liu, Earl Jackson


Lecture (1) English lecture

Speaker: Khoo Gaik Cheng (Associate Professor, University of Nottingham Malaysia)

Title: Grappling with representations of tradition/modernity in Dain Said’s films Dukun (2018) and Interchange (2016)

Discussant: Zikri Rahman (MA student, Institute of Social Research and Cultural Studies NCTU)

Time: 26th Apr (Fri), 1pm-3pm


Lecture (2) English lecture

Speaker: Norman Yusoff (Senior Lecturer, Universiti Teknologi MARA, Malaysia)

Title: Historicising Malaysian Cinema through Genre 以

Discussant: Au Sow Yee (artist)

Time: 27th Apr (Sat), 1pm-3pm


Director’s Talk (1) Lecture in Chinese with English Simultaneous Interpretation

Screening and Director’s Talk on I Don’t Want to Sleep Alone

Speaker: Tsai Ming Liang

Moderator: Lim Kien Ket (Assoc Prof, Dept. of Foreign Language and Literature NCTU)

Time: 26th Apr (Fri), 6pm-9:30pm


Director’s Talk (2) Lecture in Malay with English/Chinese Simultaneous Interpretation

Screening and Director’s Talk on Crossroads: One Two Jaga

Speaker: Nam Ron

Moderator: Tee Kim Tong (Assoc Prof, Dept. of Foreign Language and Literature NSYSU)

Time: 27th Apr (Sat), 6pm-9pm


Director’s Talk (3) Lecture in English

Screening and Director’s Talk on Jagat

Speaker: Shanjhey Kumar Perumal

Moderator: Joyce C.H. Liu (Professor, Director, Institute of Social Research and Cultural Studies NCTU)

28th Apr (Sun), 12:30pm-3:30pm


Director’s Talk (3) Lecture in English

Screening and Director’s Talk on Year Without a Summer

Speaker: Tan Chui Mui

Moderator: Earl Jackson (Professor, Dept. of Foreign Language and Literature NCTU)

Time: 28th Apr (Sun), 6:30pm-9:30pm



Screening Schedule: https://tinyurl.com/y4643ee4

Film Festival Website: https://sites.google.com/view/ageofanxiety/


Curators: Show Ying Xin, Seah Jenn Yi, Zikri Rahman

Advisors: Lim Kien Ket, Joyce C.H. Liu

Organizer: International Center for Cultural Studies, NCTU

Co-organizer: Department of Foreign Languages & Literature, NCTU




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