Thursday, November 06, 2008

Yasmin Ahmad's Wasurenagusa (Forget Me Not)

While we eagerly wait for the local premiere of Yasmin Ahmad's latest movie Muallaf which opens on 27th November, fans will also undoubtedly be aware that she has another film in the can, Talentime, which I hope will also premiere here not long after.

But what about "Wasurenagusa (Forget Me Not)"? Forget me what? Yes, I believe that's the tentative title for her recent project pitch at the Pusan Promotion Plan, which bagged the top award. A Malaysian-Japanese co-production, the synopsis is already up over here, and this is it:

Inom is a 17-year old Malay girl who lost her parents in an accident in her infanthood. She lives with her only living relative—her 80-year old grandmother who is Japanese, and very wealthy.

Presently, her grandmother, Hamida, is on her deathbed. Feeling sorry for her granddaughter, Hamida asks her to take out an old Japanese lacquer box from inside an old chest.

She holds her granddaughter`s hands tightly and says, "Everything I have, I leave to you. And everything you need to know about my past is contained in this box. After I`m gone, take this box to a little village called Saigou. There you will meet the family. They are farmers. The father of that household is called Yusuke. His mother was my cousin. The last I heard from Yusuke was that he became a father, right before you were born. Take this box to Yusuke, and when he opens it, he will know what to do."

A few days later, Hamida dies. Inom visits her relatives in Japan after her grandma has passed away. There she meets her distant cousin, Msaharu, and soon falls in love.

But he doesn’t like her open behavior, part of her strong Malay culture. Neither does his family. Only the neighborhood children and animals like her.

One day, when a horse in the family is having difficulty giving birth, she suddenly whispers to the horse, and miraculously, the baby is born safely.

Masaharu happens to hear Inom talking in the bathroom. He looks through a hole and finds that she`s talking to the birds. She wears only a thin bath cloth around her. He holds his breath to see her beauty and finally runs away.

From that day onwards, he avoids her even more. One night at dinner, Inom tells the whole family that she loves Masaharu. He says he doesn’t feel the same.

She is hurt and so she packs secretly and leaves them. Masaharu, realizing she is gone, feels such a panic that he takes a horse out to chase after her. But he isn’t able to catch up with the train. Later that day the family talks about how crazy Inom was and laughs about her. Except Masaharu. He quietly leaves for his room. He takes out a pen and a piece of paper to write a letter, but halfway through, he stops and lowers his head sadly.

Muallaf, Talentime, and the upcoming Wasurenagusa. Fans are going to be in for such a treat!

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