Asia’s low-budget docu specialist Amir Muhammad returns to the subject of aging Malay communists sidelined by English colonialism, with less successful results, in “Village People Radio Show.” A follow-up to his 2005 effort “The Last Communist,” which depicted the rebellious arc of Malay left-winger Chin Peng, the latest pic visits more Islam-inclined and consequently even less popular Malay renegades still living in exile. Despite a catchy Western title and worthy tone, “Village” has insufficient material to gather auds outside political or vid-themed fests.
Helmer delves into the idyllic Thai jungle to interview exiled vets of the banned Communist Party of Malaya. Both Islamic and communist, aging guerrillas speak of their glory years standing up to Japanese and British regimes during and after WWII, respectively. Little factual support and the withholding of talking heads’ identities until the end make auds work extra hard for little reward. Intermittent bookending device of a Thai radio adaptation of Shakespeare’s “Winter’s Tale” to provide poignant comic relief is less charming than the novelty tunes employed in “The Last Communist.” Helming is uninspired, but tech credits, while low-budget, do deliver.