I Want to Live

  • 98'
  • Singapore
  • 1970

That Rajendra Gour never directed a fiction feature doesn’t mean he wasn’t connected to the industry. Quite the opposite, as evidenced by one of his shorts that was partly shot on the sound stage of fellow Indian expat, K.M. Basker, an important figure in classical Malay cinema and as mainstream as it gets.

With I Want to Live, Gour ventured into scriptwriting for actor-auteur M(uhammad) Amin, resulting in a key work for both their respective oeuvres. For Gour, it’s probably the first film in which he focuses on women: the place society conventionally accords to them as well as their attempts to break the mould. He tells the story of Rahiman who finds herself between two men: the evil stepfather who turned her into a prostitute, and a kind policeman who falls in love with her – defying the social stigma of Rahiman’s work.

I Want to Live was considered a progressive work that presented prostitution in various shades of grey instead of stark, moralising black-and-white contrast. Rahiman’s fight for her dignity can also be seen as a fight for a different society – one in which women are not second-class citizens.

 

Olaf Möller

Director
M. Amin
Premiere
International premiere
Country of production
Singapore
Year
1970
Festival Edition
IFFR 2023
Length
98'
Medium
DCP
Original title
Aku Mahu Hidup
Language
Malay
Producer
Hamzah Hussain
Production Company
Cathay-Keris Film PTE. Ltd.
Sales
I.E. Entertainment
Screenplay
Rajendra Gour
Cinematography
Kai Juan Han, Wa Wong
Editor
Jamil Rais
Music
Rahim Hamid
Cast
Kuswadinata, Ani Jaffar