Mata Hari (The Rape of Malaya, 1958); film about resistance against Japanese Occupation in Malaya

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Directed by Ramon A. Estella Written by Abdul Razak (story & script), Omar Rojik (dialogue) Songs by Osman Ahmad, with lyrics by S. Sudarmadji Produce...

Дата загрузки:2020-08-02T19:38:05+0300

Directed by Ramon A. Estella
Written by Abdul Razak (story & script), Omar Rojik (dialogue)
Songs by Osman Ahmad, with lyrics by S. Sudarmadji
Produced by Malay Film Productions (Shaw Brothers)
In Malay, with some Mandarin
Starring: Maria Menado, Ahmad Mahmud, Salleh Kamil, Omar Rojik, Daeng Idris, Jins Shamsuddin, Aziz Jaffar

'Mata Hari' was Malay Film Productions’ second war movie based on the Japanese invasion of Malaya/Singapore in 1941-42, released a few months after the resounding success of Lamberto Avellana and P. Ramlee’s 'Sergeant Hassan' (

Written by Abdul Razak (who did the scripts for the 'Pontianak' film series) and directed by the prolific Ramon Estella, the movie stars beauty queen Maria Menado (of Pontianak fame) as ‘Matahari’, the daughter of a kampong headman who is captured by the Japanese. She witnesses the atrocities committed by the invaders, who tortured her father to death and rounded up innocent women to become prostitutes and mistresses for their commanders. Not wanting to cower to the enemy, Matahari (which means the sun in Malay and was also the name of a real-life WWI German spy) decides to form and lead a guerrilla force to fight the Japanese.

"Matahari heads a guerrilla army! She rallies the rag-tag group: "Mereka membunuh waktu matahari naik, kita menyerang waktu matahari turun! (They kill with the rising sun, we will strike back with the setting sun!) (...) The historical figure Matahari most resembles, and the only Malay woman who had a 'guerrilla girl' image, is Shamsiah Fakeh -- who was a communist. But Matahari is not allied to a larger political cause; she does not receive instructions from anybody. To an audience of the time, however, the type of anti-Japanese army she led would surely be identified as leftist if not actually communist-- and we are invited to see her as completely correct. Maybe that's why her pro-British sentiments are underlined. Communists were persona non grata in Malaya and Singapore, following the collapse of the Baling talks three years earlier, when the leaders of both nations banned them from political involvement." (Amir Muhammad, '120 Malay Movies', 2010, page 139- 141)

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