THE HISTORY OF FILM ADAPTATION IN MALAYSIA: THE LONG JOURNEY OF ITS RISE AND FALL

 

(Sejarah Filem Adaptasi di Malaysia: Sebuah Perjalanan Jatuh Bangun yang Panjang) 

 

Wan Hasmah Wan Teh

hasmahwt@usm.my

 

School of Humanities,

Universiti Sains Malaysia.

To cite: Wan Hasmah Wan Teh. (2018). The history of film adaptation in Malaysia: The long journey of its rise and fall.  Malay Literature 31(2), 263-284.

 

Abstract

Morris Beja in his book Film and Literature: An Introduction, said that since the Academy Awards was introduced in 1927-28, about three quarters of the award for best film was won by film adaptations. This is proof that film adaptation is a form of art that has gained the attention of the world community and was a well-known form of narrative in the 19th and 20th centuries in Europe. This paper takes the initiative to trace the history of film adaptations in general by focusing on such films in Malaysia. Findings of the study reveal that the history of film adaptation in Malaysia started in 1933 during the filming enterprise of Cathay Film and Malay Film in Singapore up to the setting up of Merdeka Studio in Kuala Lumpur in the 1970s and beyond. The film industry in Malaysia faced many problems including the influx of imported films from Indonesia and the commercialization factor that did not guarantee profits. However, around 2006, concerted efforts were reinforced  to adapt literary works into films, through workshops and competitions organized by Malaysian government bodies such as Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka (DBP), National Film Development Corporation (FINAS) and Radio and Television Malaysia (RTM).

 

Keywords: film adaptation, history, Cathay Keris, Malay Film, Merdeka Studio

 

Abstrak

Morris Beja dalam bukunya Film and Literature: An Introduction, mengatakan bahawa sejak Anugerah Akademi diperkenalkan pada tahun 1927-28, lebih kurang tiga per empat anugerah untuk filem terbaik telah dimenangi oleh filem adaptasi. Keadaan ini merupakan bukti bahawa filem adaptasi adalah satu bentuk seni yang telah lama mendapat perhatian masyarakat dunia dan menjadi corak naratif yang terkenal pada abad ke-19 dan ke-20 di Eropah. Makalah ini mengambil inisiatif untuk menelusuri sejarah filem adaptasi secara umum dengan memberi tumpuan kepada filem adaptasi di Malaysia. Dapatan kajian mendapati sejarah filem adaptasi di Malaysia melalui liku-liku perjalanan yang panjang bermula pada tahun 1933 sewaktu zaman perusahaan Cathay Film dan Malay Film di Singapura hingga ke Merdeka Studio di Kuala Lumpur sekitar tahun 1970-an dan seterusnya. Industri filem di Malaysia berdepan dengan pelbagai masalah termasuk lambakan filem import dari Indonesia dan faktor komersialisme yang tidak menjamin keuntungan. Walau bagaimanapun sekitar tahun 2006 usaha mengadaptasi karya sastera ke filem terus diperkasakan melalui bengkel dan pertandingan anjuran badan kerajaan di Malaysia seperti Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka (DBP), Perbadanan Kemajuan Filem Nasional Malaysia (FINAS) dan Radio dan Televisyen Malaysia (RTM).

Kata kunci: filem adaptasi, sejarah, Cathay Keris, Malay Film, Merdeka Studio

 

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