Men Who Save the World

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Men Who Save the World
Lelaki Harapan Dunia.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byLiew Seng Tat
Written byLiew Seng Tat
Produced bySharon Gan
  • Wan Hanafi Su
  • Harun Salim Bachik
  • Soffi Jikan
  • Jalil Hamid
  • Azhan Rani
CinematographyTeoh Gay Hian
Edited byPatrick Minks
Liew Seng Tat
Music byLuka Kuncevic
Distributed byEverything Films
Release date
Running time
94 minutes

Men Who Save the World (Malay: Lelaki Harapan Dunia) is a 2014 internationally co-produced comedy film written and directed by Liew Seng Tat. It is produced by Sharon Gan and is a co-production project between Everything Films Sdn. Bhd. (Malaysia) and Volya Films (The Netherlands), Flying Moon Filmproduktion (Germany) and Mandra Films (France) with support from Ministry of Information, Communication and Culture (Malaysia), TorinoFilmLab (Italy), Hubert Bals Fund (The Netherlands), Netherlands Film Fund, World Cinema Fund (Germany), Visions Sud Est (Switzerland), Fondation Groupama Gan pour le Cinéma – Cinefondation (France), Prince Claus (The Netherlands), Sundance Institute Mahindra Global Filmmaking Award, Sundance Institute Feature Film Program dan the Doris Duke Foundation (USA).

The film was selected as the Malaysian entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 88th Academy Awards but it was not nominated.[1][2]


  • Wan Hanafi Su as Pak Awang
  • Soffi Jikan as Wan
  • Jjamal Ahmed as Mat Kacamata
  • Harun Salim Bachik as Megat
  • Azhan Rani as Cina
  • Muhammad Farhan Mohamad Nizam as Zakari
  • Hazeehan Husain as the Headman's Wife
  • Othman Hafsham as Encik Juta Seri
  • Jalil Hamid as Tok Bilal
  • Azman Hassan as Khamis
  • Khalid Mboyelwa Hussein as Solomon
  • Bob Idris as Mat Lembu
  • Hishamuddin Rais as the Tok Bomoh


Liew developed Lelaki Harapan Dunia at the Cannes Director's Residence – Cinéfondation and participated at the 2011 Sundance Screenwriters Lab. The film was shot in Kuala Kangsar, Perak. Lelaki Harapan Dunia was supposed to be Liew's debut feature film but he ended up shelving it and making Flower in the Pocket first. The critical success of Liew's debut paved the way for him to receive grants from all over the world for Lelaki Harapan Dunia.[3]


The film had its world premiere at the 67th Locarno International Film Festival on 6 August 2014. Its North American premier was held at the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival on 4 September 2014. The film was released in Malaysia on 27 November 2014.

Critical reception[edit]

The film got mixed reviews with praise for the humour and stunning cinematography. Critics were also more focused on the issue of the absence of actresses, homosexuality and racism that exists in this film. Kamran Ahmed of entertainment portal in describing the film," It’s an extreme and exaggerated form of humour that works well to make certain ironic or sardonic remarks...". Shelly Kraicer of film portal reviewed this film as "... sets out to be a boisterous comedy of rural cross-dressing and ghostly hauntings, but it has fascinating, somewhat disguised undercurrents suggesting something more serious."[4][5] Jenna Hossack of entertainment portal also provides two words to describe this film, namely "Vibrant and funny".[6] Shane Scott-Travis of entertainment portal give 4 out of 5 stars for this movie.[7] Muzaffar Mustafa from Astro Awani also praised "... among the best films of in aspects of production, both in terms of art direction and cinematography."[8] Irvan Syed Syed Mahdi of Utusan Malaysia praised the film directing and cinematography.[9] Hassan Abd Al-Muttalib from the same newspaper also commented of the film being " a continuation of the early Malaysian cinema".[10] K. Anand of the news portal The Malaysian Insider loomed on the film as "the best local film this year and among the best films of the decade."[11]

Jay Weissberg of Variety criticised the film for playing with issues of homosexuality and racism. "This ultra-light comedy about an apparently haunted house in the jungle is loaded with racially problematic scenes and homophobic gags, plus barely one line is uttered by the marginalized female characters." he stated.[12] Justin Lowe of The Hollywood Reporter stated, "From ridiculing superstitious villagers to stereotyping Africans and completely sidelining women, Liew’s film barrels ahead with barely a clue. His puerile script leads the well-known Malaysian cast members pointlessly astray and returns little on the clearly significant effort required to move the house and shoot extensive footage in the depths of the jungle."[13] Mark Adams of Screen Daily questioned the absence of actresses in this film.[14] Nazim Masnawi of news portal Malaysiakini observes the film imitating the style of Mamat Khalid's early films but whereas Mamat "still gives sympathy to his character line-up", Liew is "really brutal with his satire".[15] Aidil Rusli of The Star notes of this movie as being filled with potential yet that can not be translated properly.[16]


Lelaki Harapan Dunia swept five awards among other fourteen categories nominated including the prestigious Best Picture and Best Director awards in 27th Malaysian Film Festival.

Award Category Recipients and nominees Result
2014 Toronto International Film Festival[17][18] Contemporary World Cinema & Grolsch Audience Selection Award Sharon Gan Nominated
33rd Vancouver International Film Festival[19] Dragons & Tigers Sharon Gan Nominated
19th Busan International Film Festival[20] A Window On Asian Cinema Sharon Gan Nominated
67th Locarno International Film Festival[21][22][23][24][25] Concorso Cineasti del Presente Sharon Gan Nominated
25th Singapore International Film Festival[26] Asian Feature Film Sharon Gan Nominated
3rd Nara International Film Festival [27][28] Main Competition Sharon Gan Nominated
Golden Horse Film Festival and Awards 2014[29][30] Asian Window Sharon Gan Nominated
Kolkata International Film Festival[31][32][33][34] Asian Select (NETPAC Award) Sharon Gan Nominated
2015 International Film Festival Rotterdam[35] Bright Future Sharon Gan Nominated
2015 Göteborg International Film Festival[36] Den gudomliga komedin Sharon Gan Nominated
27th Malaysian Film Festival (FFM) [37][38] Best Picture Everythings Film Sdn Bhd Won
Best Director Liew Seng Tat Won
Best Actor Wan Hanafi Su Nominated
Best Screenplay Liew Seng Tat Nominated
Best Story Liew Seng Tat Won
Best Cinematography Teoh Gay Hian Nominated
Best Editing Liew Seng Tat Nominated
Best Sound Editing Imaginax Studios Won
Best Art Editing Tunku Mohd Taufek Nominated
Best Original Score Imaginax Studios Nominated
Best Costume Design Tunku Mohd Taufek Nominated
Best Child Actor Raykarl Iskandar Won
Muhammad Farhan Nominated
Kuala Lumpur Film Critics Society Awards 2015 [39][40] Best Picture Everythings Film Sdn Bhd Won
Best Director Liew Seng Tat Won
Best Actor Wan Hanafi Su Won
Best Screenplay Liew Seng Tat Won
Best Cinematography Teoh Gay Hian Won

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Malaysia To Offer Over 1,600 Hours Of Creative Content At MIPCOM 2015". Bernama. 25 September 2015. Retrieved 25 September 2015.
  2. ^ "Liew Seng Tat's 'Lelaki Harapan Dunia' is Malaysia's pick as Oscar entry". Malay Mail Online. 25 September 2015. Retrieved 25 September 2015.
  3. ^ Ho, Mabel (2014). "Lelaki Harapan Dunia". Poskod Malaysia. PopDigital Sdn Bhd.
  4. ^ "TIFF 2014 – Men Who Save the World (Liew Seng Tat, Malaysia/Netherlands/Germany/France) – Contemporary World Cinema".
  5. ^ Kamran Ahmed. "VIFF: Class Enemy, Men Who Save the World, Gente de bien, Mercedes Sosa: Voice of Latin America, Still Life Reviews". Next Projection.
  6. ^ "TIFF 2014: Men Who Save the World Review". Dork Shelf.
  7. ^ "'Men Who Save The World' Film Review – Vivascene". Archived from the original on 1 October 2014.
  8. ^ Muzaffar Mustapa (29 November 2014). "Lelaki Harapan Dunia, bila fitnah bermaharajalela, satu kampung huru-hara". Astro Awani (in Malay). Astro Awani Network Sdn Bhd. Retrieved 1 August 2016.
  9. ^ Syed Mussaddad Syed Mahdi (30 November 2014). "Siapa Lelaki Harapan Dunia?". Utusan Online (in Malay). Utusan Melayu (M) Berhad. Retrieved 1 August 2016.
  10. ^ Hassan Abd Muthalib (7 December 2014). "Filem Malaysia di persada dunia". Utusan Online (in Malay). Utusan Melayu (M) Berhad. Retrieved 1 August 2016.
  11. ^ K. Anand (11 December 2014). "A Malaysian movie to be proud of". The Malaysian Insider. Archived from the original on 30 September 2015.
  12. ^ Weissberg, Jay (15 August 2014). "'Men Who Save the World' Review: There's No Saving This Malaysian Movie". Variety. Variety Media, LLC. Retrieved 1 August 2016.
  13. ^ Lowe, Justin (25 September 2014). "'Men Who Save The World': Toronto Review". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 1 August 2016.
  14. ^ Adams, Mark (12 August 2014). "Men Who Save The World". ScreenDaily. Media Business Insight Limited. Retrieved 31 July 2016.
  15. ^ Nazim Masnawi (3 December 2014). "Lelaki Harapan Dunia jauh dari hati". Malaysiakini (in Malay). Mkini Dot Com Sdn Bhd. Retrieved 1 August 2016.
  16. ^ Aidil Rusli (29 November 2014). "Lelaki Harapan Dunia is a breakout delight". The Star Online. Star Media Group Berhad. Retrieved 31 July 2016.
  17. ^ "TIFF Adds 'Clouds of Sils Maria' and 'Two Days, One Night,' Reveals 5 More Lineups". Indiewire. Retrieved 28 August 2014.
  18. ^ "Lelaki Harapan Dunia: Budaya tradisi penuh nostalgia". HM Online.
  19. ^ farahanim. "Lelaki Harapan Dunia ke Peringkat Antarabangsa". Malaysian Digest.
  20. ^ "Nik Amir Nafi Sindir Wartawan Dalam KIL". Archived from the original on 28 September 2015.
  21. ^ "Lelaki Harapan Dunia Sertai Festival Filem Antarabangsa Locarno!".
  22. ^ "Liew Seng Tat's up-lifting film".
  23. ^ "Lelaki Harapan Dunia World Premiere at Festival Del Film Locarno – Moviemotion".
  24. ^ "Showbiz: Malaysian film at Festival del Film Locarno". NST Online.
  25. ^ Tony Teh. ""Lelaki Harapan Dunia" selected for 67th Festival del Film Locarno".™.
  26. ^ "Men Who Save The World – Singapore International Film Festival". Singapore International Film Festival. Archived from the original on 26 November 2014.
  27. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 23 November 2014. Retrieved 15 November 2014.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  28. ^ "Lelaki Harapan Dunia Tayang Di 2 Festival Filem Antarabangsa Bulan Ini".
  29. ^ The Daily Seni. "Lelaki Harapan Dunia Terpilih ke Festival Filem Taipei Golden Horse".
  30. ^ "Lelaki Harapan Dunia terpilih ke Festival Filem Golden Horse, Taipei". Terbakor !.
  31. ^ "Lelaki Harapan Dunia Terpilih Ke Festival Filem Antarabangsa Kolkata". Sensasi Selebriti.
  32. ^ ""Lelaki Harapan Dunia" terpilih ke Festival Filem Kolkata". Archived from the original on 29 November 2014.
  33. ^ "Lelaki Harapan Dunia – Women Online Magazine". Women Online Magazine.
  34. ^ ""Lelaki Harapan Dunia" terpilih ke Festival Filem Kolkata". Yahoo. 7 November 2014.
  35. ^ "Men Who Save the World – IFFR.COM – International Film Festival Rotterdam 2015 – IFFR". Archived from the original on 15 January 2015.
  36. ^ "Göteborg Film Festival". Retrieved 10 May 2017.
  37. ^ " "Lelaki Harapan Dunia" dapat 13 pencalonan di FFM27".
  38. ^ "MFF27: The Journey wins 4 trophies, including Best Director and Best Actor".
  39. ^ "TONTONFILEM".
  40. ^ "Men Who Save the World".

External links[edit]