Present Tense Media recently launched the official trailer for the Datuk Gong: Spirit of the Land documentary.
Watch the official trailer here. (link opens in a new tab)
Here are 5 interesting facts about the trailer that you never knew.
1) The Chinese music played at the end of the trailer is from an actual recording at the birthday celebration of an important Datuk in Banting, Selangor. A puppet performance was conducted for the entertainment of the spirit and the hundreds who attended the massive feast. The puppet performance featured in the trailer tells the story of a General from the Tang Dynasty who launched an attack against a place called Bai Hu Guan.
2) The final version of the trailer is the 10th version after repeatedly modifying it to find the best combination of sequences. Yes, 10 times the amount of work to make sure the final cut is up to our standards. Putting together a trailer is more than just simply cutting together a string of clips. A trailer conveys to the audience the general feel of the film, the basic plot and a brief tour of the exciting things one can expect from the final film.
3) In the section for ‘Faith’, the youthful old man whom we first hear speaking was originally a medium himself, serving at a very old Datuk Gong temple in Taiping, Perak. The temple houses 4 different Datuks at the same location; a Malay, an Indian, a Chinese and also a Sikh Datuk. During our interview with him, he provided us with many fascinating insights into the world of the Datuk Gong, based on his own personal experiences.
4) A small part of the trailer is narrated by a temple guardian who introduces to us 2 Datuks, the Malay Datuk Samsuddin and the Chinese Siong Chak. Chances are that you might have missed it, but the altar housing both Datuks is actually split in half and painted white on one side and red on the other. The white half represents the Malay Datuk and red, the Chinese Datuk. Candles are also offered accordingly following their respective colours. Burning a white candle, which is reserved for funerals, for the Chinese Datuk would be a very big mistake.
5) The man who slams his hands on the table at the beginning of the trailer is one of the many mediums who went into a trance at the birthday celebration of one of the oldest Datuk temple in Selangor. After he embodied the spirit of the Datuk, he was referred to as Tuk Raja, and the locals obeyed his every command. He performed rituals around the temple before settling down on one of the large wooden chairs reserved for mediums. Then he began the consultation session where the devotees could seek his guidance in solving problems or to receive blessings. In most cases, the medium would have no memory whatsoever of what exactly happened in the duration of the trance.
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