Asian Cinema Fund 2018

2015 Asian Network of Documentary (AND) Fund

Project Absent Without Leave
Category Dongseo Asia Fund
Project Absent Without Leave
Director LAU Kek Huat
Country Taiwan / Malaysia
Director's Profile Lau Kek Huat born in Malaysia, graduated from National Taiwan University of Arts. He won the Best Short Film Award in 2009 and 2013 at the Taiwan Golden Harvest Festival, and Best Director Award in 2009. His feature film script A very long waiting of Buluomi Ripe won Best Script Award in 2013 and was selected for The Taipei Produire au Sud workshop 2015, Festival des 3 Continents Nantes. Selected candidate in Golden horse academy 2013 led by Hou hsiao-hsien. Cinematographer for two Taiwan National Geography Channel documentaries: Taiwan’s Medical Miracle and Taiwan to the world: Amazing Aquarium.
Captivated by a Malayan dream, they sacrificed their lives and families for a better future for the country. Their stories were left untold, banned and buried for 60 years. This is a story of an unknown man, an exiled army, and the unraveling of an old melody of “Love in Malaya”. The story begins with a man’s portrait that has hung on a wall for more than 30 years in an old wooden house in Perak, Malaysia. It had long been a taboo for my family to mention this man, bring up his name or talk about his past. A few years ago I found out that this man was my grandpa, an Malaya Communist Party (MCP) soldier who sacrificed his life in the Independence Fight of 1949. For years, many young Malaysians like me grew up without the knowledge of true history and were shadowed by fear to find out more. We were mystified and clouded by biased history, subverted by the government, school and media. This film is about my search for my absent grandpa, told from the account of my family’s memories. With secrets hidden in the deep rainforest, waiting to unfold. This is one of the many stories of beloved, yet forgotten families.
Director's Note
This is a journey that I must go on, young Malaysians are not told about history and the truth is censored. My grandfather joined the MCP in 1948 and my family has lived in clouded mystery and fear since then. The fear that originates from the banned history still exists today amongst Malaysians, who face many types of racial inequality. This secret of the past weighing on my family over many years spurned me to launch this documentary. Even amidst expected upcoming struggles and difficulties, it is my wish that this documentary uncovers the story left untold for 60 years by 400,000 souls.
Still Cut