Constructing the Cinema-of-Intent: Revisiting Hatta Azad Khan' s 'True Picture'

  •  Badrul Redzuan Abu Hassan    


One of the most important works on Malaysian cinema of the last twenty years has been Hatta Azad Khan’s The Malay Cinema (1997). Khan’s seminal work is located within the critical debates on the notion of national cinema that preoccupied film scholars, predominantly in the West, from the mid 1980s through the 1990s. Comparatively, Khan’s conceptualization is juxtaposed in this article for a critical appraisal between the influential Australian and British cinema contexts, as both are forms of national cinemas in their own rights. This article then revisits Khan’s scholarship on Malay cinema, particularly the factors shaping his ‘true picture’ idealism in the context of emerging Malaysian cinema in terms of it as a developmental and critical sphere of cosmopolitan aesthetics. Finally, this article will evaluate Khan’s belief in the relevance of social realism as a philosophical interpretation for an ideologically driven cinema-of-intent and whether or not it can serve as a framework for the future of Malaysian cinema.

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