A husband long thought dead returns to his remarried wife in “Breathing in Mud,” a well-scripted urban meller by busy Malaysian helmer James Lee. Gently composed and laced with incisive commentary on love, loyalty and redemption, this project commissioned by local broadcaster NTV7 is much more conventional than Lee’s long line of minimalist indie pics and deserves to be more widely seen at fests. Regional tube buyers should also take a look.

Believed to have fallen afoul of his criminal associates years ago, Meor (Mohammad Hariry) suddenly re-enters the life of wife Nina (Mislina Mustaffa), now married to Meor’s best friend, Din (Nam Ron). Each man has sired a child by Nina, and Din is thinking of leaving her for his sexy secretary. The thoughtful script establishes an initial air of fear before burrowing deep into Meor’s hopes and frailties to establish he wants only to put things right. Tricky topic in Malaysia of unintentional female bigamy is carefully handled, and the pic streams in effective thriller elements in the final reel when Meor’s old buddies come calling. Perfs are solid and the basic tech package gets the job done.

Breathing in Mud


  • Production: A Red Films production. (International sales: Red Films, Petaling Jaya, Malaysia.) Produced by Angie Choo. Executive producers, Lee Mee Fung, Lina Tan, Alan Tan. Directed by James Lee. Screenplay, Amri Rohayat.
  • Crew: Camera (color, DV), Haris Hue; editor, Ahmad Azharrudin. Reviewed at Bangkok Film Festival (Southeast Asian Competition), Sept. 28, 2008. Running time: 76 MIN.
  • With: <b>With:</b> Nam Ron, Mislina Mustaffa, Mohammad Hariry, Zahaira, Azman, Patrick Teoh.