My thoughts on SepetI'm probably one of the few who weren't completely bowled over by the Malaysian-made film, Sepet. It was cute-lah and I enjoyed it but you ain't getting any rave reviews from me. I liked the direction of the film, the actors were ok, but I found some of the dialogue a bit contrived, especially coming from some of the actors who didn't really seem to understand the significance of the dialogue. I was fond of Orked, who reminded me of a friend of mine. The Chinese dude was dull-lah. If you were to ask me who my favourite character was, I'd say the maid, and perhaps the mother although I felt there was some soap-opera acting going on.
I appreciated that Yasmin Ahmad (director and scriptwriter) weaved some social commentary in the film - my favourite was when the maid mentioned how Orked (Malay) managed to get a scholarship to study in London with only 5As whereas Ah Loong (Chinese) had scored 7As and didn't get squat from the government. How typical, how sad, how incredibly unfair. How I wished that it wasn't taken as a matter-of-fact, and that there should have been further discussion on this issue in the film. Ah well, Sepet is supposed to be a love story, not a social commentary on Malaysian society (but oh, I would be so interested to watch a film brave enough to deal with these issues!)
There was a line that Orked uttered that I didn't feel right with - "You can love someone based on their race, their culture but it's when you hate them, then it becomes a problem".
Am I the only one who feels that yes, loving someone BASED on their race could be just as wrong as hating them? It's still a form of discrimination. For example, to love someone because he's Chinese - what does that mean? You're still basing your feelings towards how you perceive an entire group of people should be. What is a "typical Chinese" anyway? Aren't we all individuals? Did Orked think that she could only be interested in Chinese guys because Malay guys aren't into John Woo movies and wouldn't have a similar outlook on life as she does?
The ending was such a cop-out, so CLICHE. I knew that the story was about an interracial romance and I was hoping that Yasmin Ahmad wouldn't resort to an easy ending to such a troubled situation but ah, she did. Liked the touch of the mysterious phone call and quote at the end of the movie though.
I had my *squeal* moment on the sarongs. I love sarongs, what can I say. I can't get enough of them. And like the female Malay characters in Sepet, I do walk around the house, clad only in a sarong. Ok, that was a little off tangent here, but I had to give props to the sarongs.
I liked Yasmin's eye, and how the scenes were set up in the film.. Despite being critical of Sepet, I do feel that this film is a step forward for Malaysian film. I'm looking forward to more of her films in the future.
p/s many thanks to Marita who helped stimulate discussion on interracial romances (or rather, loving someone because of their race).