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