The weather in Singapore of late hasn't been too kind, although I welcome the rain for the cool breeze it brings along. Tucked along the shophouses at Club Street near Telok Ayer, Books Actually, a quaint, independent book store, played host to Amir Muhammad and the Singapore Launch of his book Yasmin Ahmad's Films this afternoon in a cozy and intimate setup.
If you haven't been to Books Actually, the first-timer myself will urge you to get on down and have a look - you'll be amazed by its sheer collection squeezed into all three floors, a section with antique books, as well as countless of knick-knacks that fill the staircases and shelves. Your wandering eye will be kept extremely busy with the artifacts and decor, and that unmistakable smell of fresh books just waiting to be picked up.
I apologize to be slow on the trigger and had missed Amir's introduction to the session (and much of the talk about Rabun too!), but everything else is intact. Enjoy!
Part 1 of 3
Part 2 of 3
Part 3 of 3
My first impressions after reading half the book (I had to put the book down for dinner and to do up this entry while waiting for the videos above to load up in YouTube), is that it certainly has something for everyone, for fans of Yasmin's films, the virgins to her films (erm, what are you waiting for?!), and probably to researchers who need to sieve out some film details or behind-the-scenes bits that are perhaps less widely known unless you're a close friend or a keen observer from up close.
Amir's style in the book is extremely casual and conversational, and has plenty of personal anecdotes and nuggets of trivia on each of Yasmin's films told at times through wit and humour. It's also loaded with cultural explanations if you will, for those not familiar with life in this part of the world (or specifically Malaysia), to bring you up to speed with what one would probably not catch or realize. The importance and impact of Yasmin Ahmad's filmic contributions also get discussed as Amir presents them as they get highlighted through scenes from the film, so for those who have not seen any Yasmin's films, do watch them first, and come back to what Amir has discussed for that bit of enlightenment!
So excuse me while I continue to plough through the remaining half of this very enjoyable read that every Yasmin Ahmad film fan should get!
Other Related Links
Malaysian Launch of Yasmin Ahmad's Films
Amir Muhammad's blog
Yasmin Ahmad's Storyteller Blog
Yasmin Ahmad's Filmmaker Blog
and to friends from abroad, you can purchase the book from Amazon!
All the writer's royalties from the first edition will be donated to the MERCY - Yasmin Ahmad Fund for Children.
P.S. Local film buffs take note. Books Actually will also be the venue of the launch of the second edition of Latent Images: Film in Singapore by Professor Jan Uhde and Yvonne Ng Uhde. This will happen on 28 Dec at 730pm, so mark your calendars now!