Sunday, March 13, 2005

Sepet More than narrow vision

Caution: Might contain spoilers

I must be one of the few last people in Malaysia to have caught it. I didn’t even know it had arrived at Kota Kinabalu’s shore until yesterday when I stumbled into the Growball cinema and chanced upon the screening schedules. I told myself if there was a film that I would not miss it would be this one. To this point many Blogger have already commented and reviewed this movie and here’s my two cents.

I must say I am very critical of Malaysian films in general, there is not one that I’ve liked (The only one I remotely approve of and enjoyed was Spinning Gasing and Bukit Kepong). Maybe it’s true like Ah Loong said in the movie, “What is it with Malay movies nowadays? It was better off in the old days when P.Ramlee was acting”. What people have been saying is true, this is as close as we can get to a “Malaysian” movie in a long time. From the start it tugs at your conscience, asking us who we are as Malaysians, what we define as Malaysianess? The first scene alone with Ah Loong and his mother speaking in Chinese and Bahasa, both understanding each other clearly, is thought provocative, even more when they debated on how the essence of writing can be communicated to the heart no matter what the language. In fact the film plays around with this as the characters switch from different mediums including, Bahasa, English, Cantonese and Hokkien.

Some would try and say that it airs issues that are better discussed behind closed doors and it’s true that many of the issues presented within forces us to ask hard questions to ourselves. These ranges from interracial love with Ah Loong being a Chinese and Orked, a Malay. There was about education and meritocracy when they showed Orked getting a scholarship with 5As while Ah Loong got 7As. There’s about premarital pregnancy, triads in Malaysia, the question of a Muslim entering a Chinese when Orked commented “ayoh ho ho mei ah” (translated: what a nice smell) (non-halal) restaurant, our stereotyping each other based on race (through the conversation between Orked, Ah Loong and Ah Keong), family problems such as the wife being repressed by a cheating husband as well as a look at teenage relationships and parental meddling.

The actors were really in their element and did an above average job in their roles. Ah Loong (Ng Choo Seong) the illegal VCD peddler is a first time actor but mostly didn’t show it though at times he was a bit kayu. Orked (Sharifah Amani) portrayed the emotional yet able to stand her ground lady well and made it believable and causes one to empathise with her. Kudos to the others as well especially Harith Iskandar as Orked’s father, by injecting humor into then movie that will send you RotFL. It’s lucky that the Malaysian censor allowed this film to be screened within our shores (albeit with several cuts made) else we’d be the laughing stock where our own movies are winning accolades overseas while our own countrymen haven’t even heard of it. Look out for the few incidents where our censors missed such as the comment about MILF as well as a quick frame where Harith’s wife pulled down his sarong (a wrap around cloth) and he was naked except for a pair of briefs).

It still puzzles me what actually happened in the end. I won’t spoil it for anyone but it was a bit abrupt and unexplainable. Should one watch it? Yes go ahead, let us Malaysians laugh at ourselves and our idiosyncrasies for once and go home to digest about the facts. Yasmin Ahmad has the right formula for this one nailed down.


Adam said...

I really liked the movie. I noticed a lot of girls weeping at some of the sad scenes. That's not something that happens everytime.

Tembikai Guy said...

if u like spinning gasing, u'll like this one. a truly quality movie that's underrated by the public media...

BawangMerah said...

Aku pun belum tengok lagi. I made sure I didn't read your post after the first paragraph, due to your spoiler warning :P

Kervin said...

Adam: There were touching scenes and silly scenes which made me laugh not for the sillyness but because of the simple attractions and antics two poeple in love can find themselves in (such as the scene with both of them with plastic bags on the head and sheltering in the rain), its so human. Crying yeah, a bit sad.

Tembikai Guy: Underrated yeah, it pokes you in the rib and gets away with it, simply funny, simply touching, simple, maybe it won't win the Oscars but it won my heart.

BawangMerah: Eh eh thought In was the only one in the country watching it this late :D Go watch it, worth the time.