Browse Month: September 2009

Hanyut – A film based on Conrad’s first novel

As the name of our schooner Raja Laut was partly inspired by Joseph Conrad we were thrilled to learn that a major movie production of Conrads first novel ‘Almayers Folly’, set in Borneo, is set to be released by producers Tanah Licin Sdn. Bhd. in collaboration with LeBrocquy Fraser.


The film is called ‘Hanyut’ (which in Malay means ‘shipwrecked’ or ‘washed ashore’).

More info on the up-coming movie can be found on the following website,  In the meanwhile here is an extract from the LeBrocquy Fraser site:

—  Tanah licin Sdn Bhd is proud to bring Hanyut a movie based on Joseph Conrad’s first novel ‘Almayer’s Folly’ to the big screen. ‘Hanyut’ is set in Malaysia in the early 19th Century, this epic story combines adventure, drama, romance, conflict and suspense with a sense of history.

Featuring a cosmopolitan society of indigenous Malays, tribal aborigines, Europeans, Arabs, Indians and Chinese living and working together, it is a tale of personal tragedy set against a backdrop of stale and defective colonialism.

The project combines the skills and experience of leading Malaysian writer/ director U-Wei Bin HajiSaari (‘Kaki Bakar’ aka ‘The Arsonist’ – Un Certain Regard Cannes 1995) with an internationally recognized crew.

While the adaptations of Joseph Conrad’s other stories have been interpreted from a predominantly Western point of view that exoticises the locals, the refreshing script of ‘Hanyut’ by U-Wei Bin HajiSaari helps to restore the balance. Local perspectives are intrinsic to the film, and women play a critical role.

In today’s global village, the traditional ‘white male’ point of view is no longer the only acceptable one. Audiences will be more engaged by a film that realistically addresses multifaceted human relationships and the tenuous balance of power, helping us to better understand and break down the prejudices that exist in our world. —

Director’s Statement:

— Hanyut (based on Almayer’s Folly by Joseph Conrad) is a story about a cosmopolitan society living and working together along a riverbank somewhere in Malaysia. It attracted many sea travelers seeking opportunity and rewards.

It gives us a window into the Malay society in Borneo in the late 19th century: A highly competitive mix of indigenous Malays, tribal aborigines, Europeans, Arabs, Indians and Chinese living and working together.

Although the book starts out as though it is from the perspective of the European protagonist, the narrative is dynamic. By the end of the story the protagonist (and the audience) discover the understanding of his own insignificance.

In the beginning of the story Almayer appears to be at the centre of society, but in the end we see that he is very much peripheral and alienated, and that the real cultural, political and economic life of the community is located elsewhere and involves other people besides himself. —