KUALA LUMPUR — Local wartime romance pic “Embun” (Dew) has been drawing flak from Islamic fundamentalists over a controversial nude scene, leading to the ban of its premiere in a northern state. It is uncertain whether the ban will extend to theater showings.
Pic was slated for premiere in Kelantan on Sept. 2, but was canceled after officials in the opposition-ruled state ruled it unfit for viewing. Kelantan is governed by Islamic fundamentalist opposition party Parti Islam SeMalaysia, which is felt by many to have narrow Muslim views. The state enforces, among other rulings, separate checkout lines in shops for both sexes.
The scene in question drew criticism in moderately Muslim Malaysia as actor Izi Yahya had stripped during the filming of the main character Embun’s rape.
Actor/director Erma Fatima denies asking the actor to strip during filming, and says she had only asked him to pull down his underpants for realism. “Embun” is said to have cost RM3 million (USD790,000) to produce, making it the second most costly local film to have been made. It is the first-ever collaboration between national film agencies Filem Negara Malaysia and National Film Development Corp. (FINAS), and has earned less than a third of its production costs since it opened Aug. 4.