Theme song from the movie made by Ah Niu is called 纯文艺的恋. It is a very catchy song, and very pleasant to the ears. Infact it is sang very well by Ah Niu himself. Hope to buy the original DVD when i am in Malaysia. That’s the least I can do to support a film that is considered foreign movie by the Malaysian government.
"Puppy love disappears so fast, before we even have the time to taste it thoroughly, only leaving bittersweet memories, just like ice kacang."
Global Times report about the movie:
By Mao Renjie
Writing, directing and starring in romantic film Ice Kacang Puppy Love, Malaysian singer/ songwriter Ah Niu is enjoying his broadened repertoire and spoke with the Global Times after the film’s Chinese mainland premiere Monday in Beijing.
"I have always loved film and wanted to be a director," Ah Niu said, joking that he never intended to become a singer and he is finally on the right career path.
After the experience of making Ice Kacang Puppy Love, Ah Niu said that he has come to realize that working in film gives him more room for his creativity, while being a singer and writing music is a happier and easier path, "so I will stick to both identities in the future."
For most new directors, budgeting a film can be an issue and Ah Niu was no exception. It took him seven years to garner investors and several withdrew shortly after filming started.
"Maybe they were not confident enough in my directing skills, but I had already signed all of the cast and crew so there was no turning back for me," he said.
A low-budget production that cost 8 million yuan ($1.18 million), Ah Niu mortgaged his properties to get a loan to finish the film. "I was under a lot of stress for being almost broke and sometimes I cried at home, worrying about my future if the film failed."
He said that he felt a sense of relief when the film opened in Malaysia early this year and scored a gross box office of 3.5 million yuan ($515,200), setting a new high for a domestic production.
However, Ah Niu doesn’t have his hopes set too high for the mainland. "My expectation is 15 million yuan ($2.21 million), so that I will be able to cover the budget and make sure I can have a new project!" he laughed.
Ah Niu revealed that his next work will mostly likely be another romantic film, as he is now more familiar with the genre and operating within a small budget. "Of course I want to make blockbusters with exciting explosion scenes, but that’s beyond my ability right now."
Ice Kacang Puppy Love tells the young and often unrequited love stories of several teenagers growing in a small Malaysian town in the 1990s (K Chew note: it should be 1980s, from the scenes in the movie trailer). According to Ah Niu, the film is partly based on his own personal experience and memories, but more importantly is designed to strike a responsive chord among audiences.
"When we recall our puppy love, we feel pained as it is gone, together with our youth," he explained. "So I try to express in the film such pain of not being able to go back again and finding our puppy love as we grow up."
Ice kacang is a traditional Malaysian dessert made of crushed ice and red beans, which Ah Niu said is just like the memories of young love.
Capturing the natural beauty of rural Malaysia, Ah Niu said that the film is also his dedication to the vanishing old towns of his childhood memories.
Growing up in a small town in Malaysia, where people enjoyed gathering in old coffee shops and children played by the riverside, Ah Niu said that much of these traditional pastimes are disappearing due to economic development and he wanted to "save some memories on the screen."
Opening in mainland cinemas today, Ice Kacang Puppy Love will find itself up against Zhang Yimou’s Love Under the Hawthorn Tree in a week’s time.
Acknowledging Zhang’s film mastery, Ah Niu said that in some respects, Zhang could be considered his mentor.
"Actually I didn’t think about becoming a director until I saw his film To Live and realized the beauty of filmmaking."
Before Ice Kacang Puppy Love, Ah Niu guest starred in several Hong Kong productions, mostly in romantic films as the best friend of the hero. Born Tan Kheng Seong, Ah Niu expanded his popularity from Malaysia and Singapore to China with hit song "Duimian De Nühai Kanguolai" ("Look Here, Girl From the Opposite Side"). His music is known for its focus on daily life as a kampung (village) boy in Malaysia and unrequited love.