Malaysia’s ‘Maryam Pagi ke Malam’ bags Most Original Film, Best Actress at 21st Asian Film Festival (VIDEO)

Malay Mail
Malay Mail

KUALA LUMPUR, April 18 — Malaysian film Maryam Pagi ke Malam bagged two awards at the 21st Asian Film Festival in Rome, Italy.

The film, helmed by Badrul Hisham Ismail, won the Most Original Film award while Datin Sofia Jane received the Best Actress award for portraying the titular protagonist.

Maryam Pagi ke Malam follows the story of Maryam, a 50-year-old gallery owner from an aristocratic family, who feels isolated all day, after her father (Omar Abdullah) refuses to consent for her to marry her younger foreign boyfriend from Sierra Leone.

Describing the awards as a “pleasant surprise,” Badrul said he was flattered and honoured by the recognition.

“We couldn’t have a wide release of the film here for obvious reasons. So, it’s really encouraging to be recognised and celebrated elsewhere,” he said, in a pre-recorded acceptance speech.

Meanwhile, Sofia expressed her gratitude to the Asian Film Festival for showcasing the film and thanked the jury for the surprise honour.

Maryam Pagi ke Malam debuted at the International Festival Rotterdam 2023 in January 2024 as the sole Malaysian representative.

In an interview with Malay Mail in September 2022, Badrul said he wanted to shed light on how much the religious institutions affect the private lives of Malaysian Muslims.

“After discussing what aspect of personal life to touch on, I decided on the idea of choosing a partner. At least for a Malay-Muslim in Malaysia, to get married you have to get permission from a lot of people.

“It’s still a regular occurrence but there are ways to go around it and that’s what the story is about,” he explained.

Meanwhile, Sofia said the film illustrated that isolation could come in various forms, including from society and one’s own family.

“Maryam is isolated from day to night, without anybody to hear what she wants to say. Nobody takes heed of what she thinks is important in her life,” she said.

The 90-minute film was funded by Penjana Kreatif and the Arthouse-Festival Feature Film Grants from MyCreative Ventures and produced by Anomalous Films.

Other big names starring in the film include Susan Lankaster, Vanidah Imran, Roslan Madun, Azman Hassan, Pekin Ibrahim and Bella Rahim in supporting roles.