Sunday, March 05, 2006

Sepet & Gubra Double Bill

Sepet Gubra Double BillDouble Bill Posters

The past week has been superb! Never would I realize that it would be bookened with Yasmin Ahmad's wonderful movies, and having the opportunity to meet and talk to her as well (and Sharifah Amani and Alan Yun too of course!).

As you would have known earlier, I missed the chance to watch Sepet when it was shown in the cinema locally during its initial run (what a Sin!), but had bought the DVD and watched it in time for Gubra. So, watching them back to back, within a space of a day, was extremely helpful. But absolutely nothing, beats watching the movies back to back continuously, on the big screen. Thoughts are fresh in your mind, and events that transpired are crystal clear. You'll also feel and identify more with the characters, and the heartbreaking moments get magnified a whole lot more too. I'm in love with Sepet, and after rewatching Gubra, Gubra too you know?

Sepet Gubra Double Bill Ticket StubThis is My Ticket!

And watching movies in theatres is always different than watching it at home, even if you have a home theatre system. I'd rather watch movies in a theatre, where the draw actually is watching (and rewatching) with strangers amongst well behaved audience (not those talk a lot, handphone ringing, kicking seats kind), but journeying together with what's developing on screen. Every sigh, every tear, every laughter, every curse (yes, today's screening got people not happy with the "bad" characters), I enjoyed it tremendously, with the audience. Something that cannot be replicated at home. I thought the crowd tonight rocked!

I'm also an advocate of the thought that if you like a movie, you must watch it again in the theatres. Box-office means something you know? And as an audience, you vote with your wallet. Like it, watch it again, that's my mantra. So I'll state it here, if Sepet and Gubra get rescreenings, either in local film fests, Retrospects (like GV MD Kenneth Tan promised), I'll be there the same way I got choice seats today, but kiasu-early purchase, can?

But of course the best part is always to have the director and cast in attendance for the Q&A Session after the movies. Somehow some didn't realize this, they were going off once the credits rolled, walked up the aisle and were surprised to see Yasmin and Sharifah (with Thomas from Lighthouse Pictures) there. The credits rolled for Gubra, and THAT scene came on, and immediately someone commented that her mind had just been screwed... haha!


So that became the first question. Why the ending, to which Yasmin replied she wanted to see the two sharing a scene in bed and married. (Notice the ring on the fourth finger of Jason's left hand). Jason was killed off because it was either him, or Orked (to which Sharifah rolled her eyes haha!). Yasmin mentioned racism being one of the major challenges why they cannot be together, but felt that she would have succeeded if she could have any rascist in the audience, for that moment, wishing that the two would make it together at the end. I'm surprised that a question on whether Yasmin dislikes Singapore was asked (for the record, she doesn't!)

A lot of questions were directed at Yasmin, perhaps the audience was curious at her movies. Like whether she had help in writing the script (she had written and changed the script to suit the actors - which IMO she had most excellently done to bring out the chemistry), and if Gubra was intentional in its separate storylines, and about the last line in Gubra, that though the lamps are different, the light's still the same - that underneath the differences in race, language, religion, etc, it's the same hurt and joy in life.

Sharifah Amani and Yasmin AhmadSharifah Amani and Yasmin Ahmad addressing the audience

Yasmin also praised someone's comment (that it was the first she heard) that although the storylines are different, there was a subtle connection between the prostitute character and Orked's, in that the life that the prostitute dreamt about when on that swing chair with her friends, was actually Orked's life (the apartment, husband working in office, etc). That while that lifestyle would have appealed to the prostitute as ideal, Orked's was actually unhappy.

We also dwelled on the censorship issues that Sepet had (the 8 cuts), versus the recent news that Gubra will be uncut. That the journalists in Malaysia did help by playing it up on what had been done here with the film (Sepet and Gubra were both uncut). Which was Yasmin's favourite of her films? Being the latest baby, it's Gubra. Poetry has influenced the way the screenplay is written, and Yasmin likes Haiku. Yasmin also shared that she did not go to film school, but had advertising experience, although she did share that she's studied more Charlie Chaplin films.

Sharifah Amani and Yasmin AhmadSharifah got praised for her excellent performance too you know?

While Ng Choo Seong (Jason) wasn't here tonight (a pity leh, would have loved the chance to talk to him :-( ), Yasmin did explain how she found him and coaxed a very shy him into starring in Sepet (he was a Chinese medium, and actually learnt English in 6 months to impress a girl on a bus - I think some comments in other websites complained that his English is too polished. But hey, who says it cannot be done?)

There was a comparison too on her works, which are based on love, compassion, and are sentimental, versus the movies these days which seem to dwell on violence. I'd agree too, that I prefer movies of the former nature as well. Another tidbit, that Orked's parents were based on her own parents (who were here during the Gala premiere), and that they still have *to audience laughter* :-P

Speaking of her next movie, Yasmin will involve Sharifah, her sister and her mother, who are all accomplished actresses. Keep a lookout for that ya?


I unwittingly became a distraction when Yasmin was talking halfway, when she scanned the audienced and noticed me, to which I waved, and she waved back, but I had some folks in the theatre looking my direction wondering who the heck I was. Sorry! Hoped I made amends by becoming your photographer for the night yeah? (All those big group pictures taken today, chances are, they're taken by me... hope they turn out all right!)

Had to eventually turn down makan-makan with Yasmin and Sharifah (aiyoh!), cos I thought the dudes (Richard, Shaiful and Lokman) will probably kill me if I did :-P But let's hope our schedules permit, and we can do one soon ya? :-D

But not before I told Yasmin about my experiment, which caught her surprise too! I told her our friend Peiyu had only watched Gubra (with me just now at the Double Bill, hers was a single actually), but not Sepet yet (doing so tonight with Richard's DVD), and Yasmin was interested in knowing how a first-timer (she doesn't even know the premise of the movies) would have reacted to Gubra, without having watched Sepet first. Should be interesting, Peiyu, do let Yasmin know yah? :-D

So, I hope that whoever elsewhere is reading this and is screening Gubra somewhere out there, go on, make it a double bill screening. No regrets, no regrets at all! And I'm sure all those out there who enjoyed the past 3 nights of screenings, share the same sentiments.

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