Reading Sexuality: The “Ijtihad” Approach in “Bukak Api”

By Putri Tasnim Mohd Arif.

Published by The Humanities Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Sexuality in Malaysian films has always been a constant but taboo debate, a fact proven by the fluctuating trend in its censorship laws. This history reflects on the core dilemma—the questions of ethics that support the two most crucial yet complex integral parts of the society: culture and religion. In reality, this unsteadiness has left a negative impact on society, as social problems amongst teenagers are cumulatively visible due to the suppression of sexual knowledge. This paper is designed to explore one of the possible alternatives of representing sexuality in Malaysian films through metaphors that follows the progress of modernization aligning with the Islamic interpretive judgement (ijtihad). Using conceptual framework by Roland Barthes in his essay titled S/Z and Rhetoric of the Image from his book Image-Music-Text to outline the research and applying the qualitative and content analysis methodologies to formulate it, the findings proved that using verbal rhetoric is one of the alternative ways of representing sexuality in Malaysian films. This result will offer a revelation in the society to looking at sexuality as a more pragmatic and idealistic entity.

Keywords: Sexuality, Malaysian Films, Image-music-text, Rhetoric of the Image, Roland Barthes

International Journal of the Humanities, Volume 9, Issue 9, pp.45-58. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 821.496KB).

Putri Tasnim Mohd Arif

Lecturer, Faculty of Artistic and Creative Technology, University Institute of Technology MARA, Ampang, Selangor, Malaysia

Putri Arif is currently working as a Film Lecturer at the University Institute of Technology MARA, under the Faculty of Artistic & Creative Technology. Teaching Genre Studies, Script Analysis and Introduction to Film & Television as the main focus, she also has the interest in directing and writing noir films for the local market. Actively writing for the privately owned television station and also contributing her part in the Malaysian film industry as the Assistant director.


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