A shot at soli­tude

> Di­rec­tor and scriptwriter Syafiq Yu­sof re­calls the many chal­lenges he faced shoot­ing his new movie, Deso­lasi

The Sun (Malaysia) - - ENTERTAINMENT - BY BISSME S.

THE TRAILER for Deso­lasi looks in­ter­est­ing and in­trigu­ing. Ac­tor Syam­sul Yu­sof is seen run­ning through fa­mil­iar Kuala Lumpur roads like Jalan Bukit Bin­tang and Petaling Street. Usu­ally, these ar­eas are packed with peo­ple. But in this trailer, there is not a sin­gle soul to be seen ex­cept Syam­sul.

Those strik­ing im­ages made me cu­ri­ous about this RM2.8 mil­lion film, which will be out in cin­e­mas on Dec 8.

Syam­sul plays a street artist named Ai­man, who wakes up one morn­ing and finds out that ev­ery­one has dis­ap­peared. He is the only hu­man be­ing alive in the whole world.

Ini­tially fright­ened, Ai­man soon starts to en­joy his new­found soli­tude. With no other hu­mans around, ev­ery­thing in the world be­longs to him. Soon, how­ever, he learns that lone­li­ness can be a painful af­fair.

Deso­lasi is writ­ten and di­rected by Syam­sul’s younger brother, 25-year-old Syafiq Yu­sof, who de­clares: “This is an Is­lamic movie. God is test­ing Ai­man.

“We are al­ways un­der the im­pres­sion that if you do good things, then good things will come your way. But some­times, life does not work that way. Maybe, there is no fair­ness in the world. You can go [mad] think­ing about [that]. Maybe the good things ... will be given to you when you are in heaven.”

Be­sides Petaling Street and Jalan Bukit Bin­tang, other fa­mous lo­ca­tions such as Dataran Merdeka and Batu Caves are fea­tured in the film.

Shoot­ing the film was not with­out its prob­lems.

Syafiq ini­tially man­aged to get per­mis­sion from the au­thor­i­ties to close the roads for the film shoot. But, sadly, at the last minute, the deal fell through and he was forced to shoot with the crowds around.

He then used com­puter ef­fects to erase the im­ages of peo­ple and ac­tiv­i­ties from the street to cre­ate the empty at­mos­phere for his film.

“One of my friends did tell me to be­ware when mak­ing a film about God test­ing one’s char­ac­ter be­cause in re­turn, God will be test­ing me when I’m mak­ing that film.” His friend’s warn­ing turned out to be right. Syafiq re­calls one in­ci­dent where he could not shoot a scene in Cy­ber­jaya be­cause it was rain­ing con­stantly. He and his team rushed to a dif­fer­ent lo­ca­tion in Bukit Melawati.

Un­for­tu­nately, they could not go through be­cause a fallen tree was block­ing their way. His team man­aged to clear the road, but once they ar­rived at their des­ti­na­tion, they re­alised that it was too dark for them to shoot.

They then re­turned to Cy­ber­jaya to shoot some night scenes. Out of the blue, the gen­er­a­tor blew up and they did not have any light­ing.

“That day was to­tally wasted,” he re­calls. “Maybe God was re­ally test­ing me.”

Syafiq says he has shown the fin­ished film to his fa­ther, renowned lo­cal pro­ducer and di­rec­tor Yu­sof Haslam, as well as to Syam­sul, him­self an award-win­ning di­rec­tor.

“My brother likes the film be­cause it is very dif­fer­ent from most of the Malay movies he had seen, while my fa­ther likes the con­flict be­tween the fa­ther and son in the film.”

“I find boys rarely have prob­lems with their moth­ers. They get along well with their moth­ers. Most boys will have some ten­sion with their fa­thers. This could be be­cause fa­thers al­ways have high ex­pec­ta­tion of their sons.”

Other than hav­ing his brother in the lead role, other artistes ap­pear­ing in Deso­lasi in­clude Bella Dally, Jalalud­din Hassan and Pekin Ibrahim.

Syafiq says his next film, out next year, will be an ac­tion thriller called KL Spe­cial Force, which cen­tres on two po­lice of­fi­cers, Zul (played by Fat­tah Amin) and Roslan (Rosyam Nor), who are try­ing to nab a gang of thieves.

Syafiq (far right) di­rects his brother Syam­sul in the sci-fi thriller

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