Saturday, February 23, 2008

Screen Shots at ACM Part 3 - Gubra / Dialogue With Yasmin

Here're some of the excerpts from the Q&A after the screening of Gubra, with some questions about Sepet and Mukhsin as well. As always, they're filled with spoilers, so watch the movies if you haven't, then come back here.

Q: Why did you put that scene where Orked got Arif to tell Latifah that she's a piece of meat, when Orked clearly disagrees with Arif's opinions on women being as such?
A: Because that's what happened in my life, where I got my ex-husband to do that in front of me. I know it's not a nice thing to do. It's also to show that Orked's not all good, and also can be a horrible person.

Q: What is Kiah saving up for?
A: I know of prostitutes who have their various reasons, whatever they are, to go into the profession, and usually it's to support their illegitimate children.

Q: I like the transitional scenes in the film. What was your inspiration?
A: I wrote the script between 5 to 7 days, and I usually don't think much about it when I write the script.

Q: I'm drawn to the character of the religious leader. How did you create the character as he doesn't fall into the Orked storyline?
A: He's based on a real Uztaz in Indonesia, where he and his family deliberately moved to the red light district, and offered to take care of the prostitutes children, and if they allow and are keen to learn, He would teach them the Koran. Initially of course the prostitutes are suspicious of his motives, but they realized later that his motives were genuine.

Q: Will you be doing stories on other races other than Malay-Chinese?
A: Yes, Talentime will be a story between a Malay girl and an Indian boy.

Yasmin on Rehearsals

Q: Why did you do that last scene in Gubra? (referring to the scene after the credits)
A: I don't know, I just wanted to put them in bed together. There were two versions of it, one with Alan in bed with Sharifah Amani, but somehow his stroking of her hair seemed too sensual and passed off as a cheekopek (lecherous old man!). So I spoke with my cinematographer and we shared the same sentiments, and we decided to try it with Choo Seong/Jason, and it came across as very loving!

Q: What's with the wedding ring then?
A: I want them to be married! In Mukhsin they had a child too. It might be seen as wishful thinking.

Q: Is this wishful thinking coming from personal life too?
A: In my movies, I'm conscious about putting in possibilities.

Q: Could you share with us a teaser for Muallaf, if it's a continuation of the Orked trilogy?
Q: No it's not.

Q: What's your preoccupation with one-word titles?
A: I'm too lazy to think of long titles!

Q: Why do you say that Mukhsin was the darkest film?
A: Many have mentioned that Gubra is my darkest film, but the characters actually had a hand in their own situation and outcome. With Mukhsin, he's just a little boy, who's poor, who has to tumpang other people's house, is bullied by his brother, and likes a girl for the first time, but who didn't like him back. None of the things that happen to him, was his own doing.

Yasmin on Sensationalism

Q: Will you go for more taboo topics like homosexuality and even incest?
A: If the ideas so come. I would like to film in Singapore, and I have a story called Monte Carlo which I really want to make here.

Q: Why have a character like Alan in Gubra, where he obviously adores Orked, but in the end, nothing happens?
A: Yeah, there was a red herring in him leading her to the bedroom holding her hand, but you knew what it turned out to be. For him, she's a link to his dead brother, and to her, he's the link to her ex-boyfriend. In the end I just have them become good friends.

Q: Why have a character like the son of the neighbour's gardener?
A: He's my driver actually! In Muar, sometimes you have people who latch themselves onto other families because their own have passed away. And my mom is like a collector of "stray humans", and they soon become like family.

Yasmin also shared that changes to the story do happen during rehearsals, where she would chuck out scenes and put new ones. The scene in Sepet where the family sat on the staircase combing one another's hair was not originally scripted, and the ending for Mukhsin had Orked on top of the tree and looking at Mukhsin in a cab going away, which then cut directly to the end credits.


It was almost 7pm when the proceedings for the day ended, and I'm definitely sure she has gained plenty of new found fans of her movies, and of the director herself.

If you haven't yet seen any of her movies, they are still available on DVD / VCD in Malaysia, though I can't vouch if they're uncut. The local DVD version of Sepet is out of print, and Gubra is fast selling out it seems. Mukhsin can still be found at Mustafa (the Malaysian print, no local print for this one), and the Rabun VCD is a rare find here, so you might want to try to find it in Malaysian shops.

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