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14th DMZ Docs(2022)

I AM DOCU



Between the Stars and Waves

Kek-Huat LAU

  • Taiwan, Malaysia
  • 2022
  • 53min
  • 12 +
  • DCP
  • color

IP

Synopsis

One million people in Malaysia's Sabah are stateless. 50,000 are children, who have been denied their right to public education and healthcare. They are learning to voice out for themselves.

Review

There is a small Malaysian village made up of houses on the water that Google Maps classified as an 'island'. Children also live in this village, and they go to school despite the conditions of poverty. The film carefully records, with a warm gaze, the innocence and bright eyes of children who do not lose their laughter even in the midst of tears.

One of the brilliant parts in this film is that the director does not shout out the story he wants to tell. Instead of directly conveying the message in subtitles or narration that children should grow up safely, that men and women should be educated equally, and that more budgets and attention from the state and society are needed, the film chooses to show a long classroom scene and another long scene where children have fun (but play dangerously). The images from the scenes are much stronger and emotionally persuasive than a few words.

Director

  • Kek-Huat LAU

    Malaysian filmmaker based in Taiwan. His debut film Boluomi(2019), was in competition Busan International Film Festival, New Currents section. Both his documentary Absent without leave and The Tree Remembers still face censorship challenge.​ 

Credit