You have probably read about Sanif Olek's acclaimed and award winning short films collectively known as the LOVE Trilogy comprising Lost Sole, à la folie and Ameen, and now they are all readily available in this DVD collection, which is produced in part to raise post-production funds for his debut feature film Ramuan Rahasia (The Missing Ingredient). What better way to celebrate the Hari Raya holiday by (finally) getting down to watching his short films at one go, thematically connected through Love?
Lost Sole (2006) (16:53)
It's almost customary to leave behind one's shoes at the door before entering places of worship, and although one would have that tinge of dread should one's footwear get taken away by somebody else, it's almost improbable you'd think that something like this will happen at a place of worship. But they do from time to time, which inspired Sanif Olek to make a film drawn from personal experiences with the premise being just that.
Mahadi Shor plays a man whose pair of sandals, sentimental because it was bought from Mecca during his Haj, was taken away probably by mistake by someone anonymous, leaving him barefooted and exasperated about what to do next, since his family is waiting for him to get home for lunch. Making that trip back home sans footwear isn't an option, and thus begins this mini, annoying trek around the compound and surrounding areas of the mosque hoping to chance upon his sandals, or meet with good Samaritans who would offer some kind of help. You'd also ponder why sometimes people have trials and tribulations put into their way as a challenge to overcome, and here there's a little surprise that plays out in revelation.
Story aside, this short allowed one, especially non-Muslims, to have a sneak peek into the Sultan Mosque, as well as a glimpse at a Friday prayer session, so beautifully shot and composed by the filmmaker.
à la folie (2008) (11:34)
Taken from my earlier review
A Singapore premiere, the second part of Sanif Olek's LOVE trilogy sees an adaptation crafted from the classic Ramayana text, with the characters of Sinta, Arjuna and Rawana given a new, experimental spin on themes such as manipulation and revenge rolled into one simply put tale. The cast also played to their stereotypes wonderfully, and we can see how one being dumped would offer that second chance at getting back, if only a mission of sorts was fulfilled. The two transsexuals also provided plenty of humour by way of how jesters and comics come in to fill in the narrative gaps in-between scenes. I can't say that I'm an expert, but the animated film Sita Sings The Blues, which is also based on the Ramayana, had elements of the same.
Filmed in and around the area of the Sultan Mosque, Sanif had shared that this was shot without a script, but only a concept, so plenty of stuff in here were improvised. What more, the film was shot over a period of two nights, and he allowed for the film to gestate for almost one year (!) before going it to edit it into the form we've seen today.
Ameen (2010) (14:49)
This is the story of a simple Mosque helper Johan (Sani Hussin) whom we'd have seen from Sanif's first short film Lost Sole with the subplots revolving around his interactions with a woman who frequent the mosque but found to be in contemplation alone whom Johan interrupts and interacts with, and his friend Bilal who has two of his inspired heroes in P Ramlee and Bruce Lee tattooed on his arm. Johan finds the hots for two girls from a Madrasah school who hangs out at his mosque, whom he fantasizes how they would look if they would be out of their tudungs. Two kids jibe that Johan better learn how to recite the Al Fatiha by heart if he wants to befriend the girls and to make his wish come true, and to what extent does this prank go, forms the central core of Ameen.
Sani Hussin's excellent portrayal as the simpleton makes the film, as he straddles between being the unfortunate, irritating jester to that of earnestly wanting to befriend new people where he hasn't a clue if they would accept him, and is willing to make some sacrifices to overcome stumbling blocks and break the ice. It's still amazing how three stories got put together, above love in different forms, into a short film blessed with a hauntingly beautiful score.
The Region Free DVD presents all the short films in an anamorphic widescreen format with audio in stereo, and subtitles in English made available during the non-English language portions. There is a section showcasing Upcoming Feature Films that Sanif is currently making, which includes Ramuan Rahasia (3:11) and Voluptas (1:22), the latter presented in a most interesting fashion being a lyrical mood piece.
So spread the love people, and get this compilation DVD, where in doing so you know you're helping to fund the completion of a local feature film. You can find more information on the LOVE Trilogy's Facebook page.