From my old file, I managed to find this old article dated September 2, 2004 where I did an interview with U-Wei Hj Saari. He has just directed his fifth movie Buai Laju Laju. With this director, you can always expect an interesting answer. Here is a full story.
Sept 2, 2004
Suggested Headline: Swinging With U - Wei
Bissme S. explores director U-Wei Hj Saari's fascination with sex in his latest film Buai Laju Laju
Betrayed by a woman. That's the theme of U-Wei Haji Saari's first movie Perempuan, Isteri Dan ...? made 10 years ago. It became a controversial box-office hit and bagged five awards at the 11th Malaysian Film Festival, including best film and best director for U-Wei. He treads the same path for his latest movie, his fifth, Buai Laju Laju, which opens on Sept 9.
The story centres on Amran (Eman Manan), a drifter who arrives at the home of Ibrahim (Khalid Salleh), a rich older man married to a younger, beautiful woman called Zaiton (Betty Banafe). The couple live next to a restaurant where Zaiton runs. A hungry Amran agrees to do some manual jobs at the restaurant in return for food. It's here that Zaiton seduces Amran and convinces him to kill her husband. They come up with what seems like the perfect plan, until something goes wrong ...Interviewing U-Wei is like interviewing a poet. His answers are never straight-forward or standard.
*Why haven't you made a movie for five years?
I was tired. I was not inspired. Most of all, I couldn't find a good producer who I could work with. Besides, my wife keeps telling me a good director is a working director. Now I have found a good producer in Julia Fraser and Julie le Brocquy.
* What is the biggest challenge you faced in directing Buai?
Conjuring lust without sex, depicting seduction without too much skin and staging a murder without gore. The result is fulfilment through self restraint.
* Did Buai face any problem with the censorship board?
Not at all. They have not asked me to cut anything. This time around, they have been kind to me.
* Some feel Buai has a lot of similarity with your first film, Perempuan, Isteri Dan..?
I believe every filmmaker makes only one film and all their other films are just a variation of that. Perempuan, Isteri Dan... ? is like my old flame. Both movies are the same but a little different.
*Buai makes it seem as though women are smarter than men...
That has always been a fact. "Tak hebat lelaki Melayu kalau tak kalah kepada perempuan" (You are not a man till you lose to a woman).
* Your movie will face stiff competition from Puteri Gunung Ledang. Are you ready for that?
Like I said earlier tak hebat lelaki Melayu kalau tak kalah kepada perempuan' and I will be losing not to just any woman but to a Puteri (a Princess). But I still must exist. I must still tell my stories.
* Some say your movies depict women in a bad light. Are you anti-women?
I can never be anti-woman. My mother is a woman. I don't judge people. I am not a moralist. No woman is born bad. I will look at the reasons why she becomes bad.
*Your movies always revolve around sex. Why?
Sex is important in my life and I think sex is important in everyone's life. I am comfortable with expressing and capturing sensuality. My movies are never vulgar.
* Have you been betrayed by a woman before?
(Laughs) I try to make myself interesting with the hope that women will not betray me.