Sunday, November 23, 2008

"Muallaf" review from John Li of movieXclusive, Singapore.

What her father did

"Every once in a while, it is good to appreciate a film which doesn’t bombard you with explosions, car chases, silly slapstick and over the top computer generated effects. The wham bam of things numb our senses so much, we take these hustle and bustle as part of our lives. So when a film which makes us reflect on our inner selves comes along, we realize the impact it has on our well being.

Malaysian filmmaker Yasmin Ahmad’s fifth feature finally makes its way to our busy city to seek audiences who are willing to make an effort to search deep within themselves to realize the true meaning of forgiveness.

After the Orked trilogy (Sepet, Gubra, Mukhsin) which centers on a Malay girl’s trials and tribulations like her interracial relationships and childhood romances, Ahmad writes another provocative story about two Malay sisters staying away from their violent father.

Just when they thought that things were fine in the small town they were staying in, a Chinese teacher with a secret past comes along. He becomes drawn to the sisters’ charismatic personalities and these three troubled souls will soon find solace in each other and understand the meaning of forgiveness.

One can immediately pick out the religious undercurrents with the protagonists being Malay and Chinese. Being a film made in Malaysia, this will definitely evoke some discussions in its home country. We’ve got a Malay woman and a Chinese man being attracted to each other. We’ve got a young girl who has the strange ability to quote from holy books and ancient scriptures. We’ve got a Malay woman acting like a tomboy and working in a nightclub. If these aren’t enough to trigger controversial discussions in Malaysia’s media, we don’t know what will.

There are several themes and subject matters in the film that will set you thinking, that is, if you're prepared to.

First, because the film is set in Malaysia, there are certain contexts and situations which local audiences may not get. Nuances like cultural practices and body movements may alienate the unfamiliar viewer.

Second, the film deals with heavy handed topics which may not be the best things to think about on a difficult day at work.

But that shouldn’t deter you from making sense of this well written story to recognize that although religion cloaks this movie, it is the universal message that love for others creates opportunities for us to forgive and reconcile with ourselves that matters.

Having worked with the director on her three previous films, lead actress Sharifah Amani is evidently comfortable in her role as the protective elder sister who is determined to make a difference in her life. Her real life younger sister Sharifah Aleysha has natural chemistry with her older sister in the film. Brian Yap plays the Chinese teacher with a quiet reluctance which allows viewers to ponder about his troubled character. Also, watch out for performances by “881 Sister” Yeo Yann Yann as a nightclub girl, Malaysian singer Ning Baizura as a flamboyant stepmother, and also fellow Malaysian filmmaker Ho Yuhang.

While these characters are not glamourous and dolled up personalities, they are a true reflection of this thing we call life."


amie said...

Aunt Yasmin,why don't you produce a girlie girl film like wildchild or cheetahgirls.
Or maybe a fantasy movie will be fun.
I would love to see our film industry to reach the same level as hollywood film.

I do write a story about fantasy world.Aunt,I can send it to you if u want to read it.


yasmin said...

amie, i think my films are about girls, but they are not "girlie". the women in my films are strong and have minds of their own.

ladyM said...

so far so good i see...nice review and very encouraging i think...i hope i'll be able to watch this film in Msia as im a fan of your film...mayb you could have a special screening for it here in Msia...insya'allah n mudah2an

Sitt said...

i cannot wait for the film to be screened this thursday. i'm very sure it won't disappoint.


troisnyx* said...

Kak Yasmin holds a mirror up to us, yet again... :D
(though the sight of the stab marks or whatever they are on that girl's head is a pitiful one !)

kamal said...


congratulations dearest!

fadz said...

wah, new review! Amie, Talentime is a very good girly girl movie.. hihi

budleee said...

hmm cant wait to see this film :D

i know the triology is sad, but i can't help laughing when watching it.

there is not slapslick comedy, its just life being really brutally honest :)

the Razzler said...

Kak Min..

Love all your films & advertisements!!

I love being reminded that we have love & compassion in all of us regardless of race & religion!!

Congrats!! Kak Min!!

LTROI said...

Yasmin Ahmad on ChannelNewsAsia (CNA)

ChannelNewsAsia interviews Yasmin Ahmad on the Singapore theatrical release of her latest film "MUALLAF" (The Convert)

Date: Saturday, 29 November 2008

Approx. time: 2210hrs (Singapore/ Malaysia time)

(High speed BroadBand required)

Countries you can receive ChannelNewsAsia

Note: Use Internet Explorer (IE) 7 to view. You may want to go to the site now and update your IE to be able to stream the programme “live”. Unblock whatever pop-ups from this site to allow a software upgrade for you to view ChannelNewsAsia properly.

You can also watch CNA if your TV can receive it.

mira said...

Hey there..
Amirah here from Singapore..
I simply cant wait for the release of Muallaf!
All i can say is that ive been a fan of your work ever since..
Sepet, Gubra, and my fav Mukhsin!
Simply sensational!
Keep on rawkin in wad u do!
u rawk!! =D

yasmin said...

inshaallah, see u in singapore, amirah!

ZARA 札拉 [사랑해~] said...

Kak Min, good luck!
May Allah bless u always!

andy boy said...

great review... can wait to watch it. by the way, there are some twisted scenes in your previous movies that makes it really hard to understand... i hope i can fully understand this one=)i'm not being critical....nothing tricky.

nrl said...

I am seriously in anticipation for Muallaf this Thursday. I won't be able to watch it on the date of release itself cos I'll be working, but boy I wish I could! Will you be at the premier this Thursday? I'm a huge fan of Sepet & Gubra, and I love how you can take on the controversial topics HEAD ON & leave a lasting impression with your films.

Thank you for your wonderful films. Keep on filming please!

All the best,

mo said...

singapore = 1
malaysia = 0

nhr said...

what a wonderful review. InshaAllah, I'll be there this Saturday to catch this and ponder on about life and its charms. Alhamdulillah for this magical film :)

Irma said...

I love all your movies. Cant wait to watch Muallaf. I agree with what John Li said about the controversial in M'sia's media. Sometimes I feel M'sia sensorship board (hhmm.. betul ker nama board ni) are too paranoid. They afraid that some of our films will bring bad influence to our ppl. And sometimes the media like to exaggerate things. I think those ppl when they watch ur movies, they already have some sort of mindset upfront which closes their heart to what u actually potrayed in ur movies. Anyway I hope Muallaf will be screen in M'sia with no or very little cut.

charles calvin said...

good luck with all your work...
continue the excellent work to left malaysian movie industry. hopefully one day we'll all be able to catch ur movies on the screen. I like your work a lot. its gives meaning to watch your movie. to really ponder for a while the message behind the story and think what I can do to change that.
we'll support you...

erain said...

hi miss...
im amazed by your abundant talent to create one movie after another that seems to capture life at a moment that we re typically oblivious to...
i applaud your courage to make such movies... and i wish u all the very best
i am counting the mins in anticipation bfore i watch muallaff very very soon in spore :)

Anonymous said...

Kak yasmin,

Just wanted to tell u that this Malaysian weeps in her heart for not being able to catch Muallaf in Spore. Saw the huge poster, took the leaflet as a momento, all the while crying silently inside since cannot watch the film with u in Temasek. *Sob*

But congratulations still, keep the flame going ya.

Linda NJ said...

salam. i've always been a big fan of yours and have been anticipating with bated breath for Muallaf to hit the theatres in Singapore. =) i would have caught it last Thursday, but i was away in Bintan. so anyway, caught it today and as always, you did not let me down. =))
looking forward to your next one.