Thu, Dec 18, 2008
The New Straits Times
Lesbian kiss sets tongues wagging

>KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA - The first-ever kiss by two Malaysian actresses will be shown on screens today, at nearly 50 cinemas nationwide.

Locking lips on screen are Nurliana Samsuddin and Sharifah Norazean, better known as Scha, in the horror flick Histeria.

In the intimate scene, Nurliana, who plays a lesbian schoolgirl, is supposed to express her interest for the character played by Scha.

"Scha plays a girl who is confused about her sexual orientation," Nurliana said, adding that the kissing scene was not in the original script.

"Scha and I were only supposed to hold hands to show our affection, but on the set, (director James) Lee told us to kiss."

She admitted that she was shocked by the request and did not want to do it at first. "My first instinct was to say no because I was not comfortable."

She then sat down with Lee and Scha to discuss the scene, with the intention of declining to do it.

"During the discussion, we thought it would be impossible for the scene to be approved by the National Censorship Board.

"Lee also explained why he wanted the kissing scene. He said he wanted to show the reality of life in an all-girls boarding school.

"Such relationships exist in schools and that's the message we want to send to the audience."

Nurliana admitted she was nervous when doing the scene. "We did two takes because the first did not work."

In the first take, they relied more on angle for a "camera trick". They were supposed to move their faces close enough for the camera to catch the illusion of a kiss.

"But it did not work and we knew then that there was no other way. In the second take, our lips touched briefly and that's it."

Nurliana said as an actress, it was the most awkward and weird experience.

Now, the actress is feeling the heat over the scene.

"I've received many emails and messages on Facebook condemning me. Some questioned why, as a Muslim, I agreed to do the scene.

"Please understand that the decision to do the scene was a professional one, " said Nurliana, who was also concerned that her parents would be dragged into the controversy.

She said her parents were informed of the scene but they have not seen the movie. "I just hope they will not freak out after watching it."

Histeria, produced by Tayangan Unggul Sdn Bhd, tells the story of a group of girls who have to spend a weekend at a haunted hostel block.

When an evil force is accidentally unleashed, the group has to find a way out of the locked school.

Histeria is Lee's first commercial effort. He made a name in international independent film circles with The Beautiful Washing Machine, which won the Best Asean Feature Award and Fipresci Prize at the Bangkok International Film Festival 2005.

Nurliana is also a director, whose directorial debut was Selamat Pagi Cinta. She is currently working on the action flick, Remp-It V3, as assistant director.


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Lesbian kiss sets tongues wagging