Absent Without Leave
Absent fără voie
A Malaysian political thriller produced in Taiwan, this simultaneously personal and political documentary follows with emotional honesty the return of its young director, Lau Kek Huat, in search of his grandfather, a presence known until now only through the mediation of a mysterious family portrait. Melancholic, methodical, prudent, but also reminiscent of the sensational The Act of Killing (directed by Joshua Oppenheimer), Lau Kek Huat’s film followed a trajectory that reveals the long shadow the past casts on the present: after being selected for Asia’s most prominent film festival in Busan and after receiving an audience award in Singapore, the Taiwanese production was banned in Malaysia because the grandfather at the center of the story had been a member of the Communist Party—a topic subjected to censorship for reasons revealed in this slow burn of a film.
awards and festivals
2017: Salaya International Documentary Film Festival - Best Asian Documentary
2016: Busan IFF
2016: Singapore IFF - Audience Choice Award
2016: Taipei Film Festival