Sepet makes me cry!!

Posted: 31st July 2010 by Jacky Yong in Movies and TV Shows
Tags: ,

Okay, I admit it! I’m a cry baby, maybe a little emotional. My eyes were a bit wet when I saw this last night…..

Okay okay, I cried, there, happy?

I did not know how powerful the movie can be! It was already late, I should be sleeping, but I watched a short clip and I could not stop!

Photo credit : YASMIN AHMAD/AFP/Getty Images

There there, don't cry my baby! Seems to be talking to me :'(

I love how Yasmin takes a common everyday subject and adds dimension to it. The movie started innocently enough, a life of two seemingly unrelated individuals in their different worlds. A VCD peddler, Jason, a.k.a. Ah Loong, eeking out a living selling illegal VCD’s. In the beginning we get a glimpse into Jason’s life with his Nyonya mother. Not a very typical chinese family, especially in Ipoh. Their conversation needs some getting used to, even for someone well-versed in both Cantonese and Malay as I am. It takes a bit of an effort to switch between the two vastly different languages, but both Jason and his mother seamlessly blend these two languages together perfectly! Watch out for the display of sweet motherly love that is intimate and very expressive. It takes perfect chemistry in order to make it so believable, so kudos to both these remarkable actor and actress.
Orked, on the other hand, lives a relatively normal life as a well-mannered Malay girl. But we see some rather odd characterics of Orked, like an affection of everything chinese. Probably from her mother who loves watching Hong Kong drama series. Her parents employ a peculiarly authoritative maid, Kak Yam, brought to life by the amazingly talented Adibah Noor.
Jason and Orked’s path crosses one fine day in a busy pasar while he was manning his stall. The scenario was simple, but it was flawlessly executed. Both Orked and Jason were shocked at the sight of each other, like they have never loved anyone before. Perhaps it was the quiet longing in Jason’s eyes, or maybe it was the confusing feeling of a familiar stranger in Orked’s mind. But whatever it was, I felt chemistry right there.
Yasmin has been famous for her direct yet witty representation of a very sensitive subject. But she’s lucky, in a sense that she is a Malay. Had she’s been any other race, I doubt her film would pass through FINAS at all (think NameWee, the crazy bastard who sang Negarakuku). Yasmin explored a lot of doubtful and grey areas of racial unity in Malaysia, but does it ever so subtly, you hardly notice its presense:
1. Orked scored only 5 A’s in her SPM, Jason scored 7 A’s! But guess who goes to England on full scholarship? A painful reality of the discrimitive education system in Malaysia.
2. Orked stereotyped Chinese as hardworking but stingy people, and Malays as lazy bumps.
3. While in hospital bed, Ah Keong said that Hang Tuah and his 4 Hang friends are actually chinese. Hang Li Po is chinese, so Hang Tuah (Hang Tu Ya) must be too. And they said his “silat” is actually chinese kung fu.
4. Missing prayers among Malays are actually quite a common.
5. The trends among any race in the world to marry outside their skin colour, especially of a lighter skin coloured, thought to be of a superior race. Blacks to browns, browns to yellows, yellows to whites. Sometimes not necessary in marriage. Any form of West woshipping is also included. Brilliantly debated by Orked with her girl friend Lin, and also in the argument scene at school with Lin’s Mat-Salleh-wannabe boyfriend.
6. Whatever happened to Malay movies nowadays? Previously P Ramlee was a legend. Since his passing, Malay movies has deteriorated and has never been able to regain its former glory. This point was briefly touched by Jason.
7. Inter-racial marriages was very common a hundreds years ago. How is it possible that it is so much more complicated now, when we are supposed to be more civilised?
Did I tell you that the movie was made in Ipoh? It still has this rustic feel about it. The town fits the movie really well; the old pre-war shophouses, Greentown, St Michaels (yay, my old school! That’s the school at the background at the above picture), the roads (I recognise some of them), and Ipoh Club. Gosh, the movie feels personal to me, probably because of this reason. I felt
right at home watching this movie. I felt that I belong there.
Some would argue that the film delves unnecessarily on obviously boring inanimate objects and scenes that does not add to the story; the two stationary dolls in the pasar (who were seen dancing after Jason and Orked’s first encounter, as if esctatic at their blossoming love), the slow steady pressing of the keypads on the house phone, the blind beggar with the small keyboard sitting in the middle of the busy pasar, oblivious to the droves of people moving by, the family hair combing scene. Artistic, poetic, serene yet powerful all at once.
There was a scene of Ah Keong lying down on the floor with his broken arm, talking to Jason. A piano is shown in Ah Keong’s house just behind him, must be the same piano that he mentioned to Orked much earlier. Jason has his back facing the audience while talking to Ah Keong. Jason’s face was not visible, only the sewing machine and the backdoor of his run-down home were immediately discernable. These are all beautiful, just like how a Wong Kar Wai film looks like.
Not all performances were good though. So please allow me to give out the Worst performance award:
3rd place : Jimmy’s boys
2nd place : Jimmy
and the worst performance goes to : Jimmy’s sister!