Tuesday, April 08, 2008

[SIFF08] Flower in the Pocket

Mario and Maria

Funded from Tan Chui Mui's award winnings from the 2006 Pusan International Film Festival with her win for Love Conquers All, Flower in the Pocket is fellow Da Huang Pictures' writer-director Liew Seng Tat's debut feature, again epitomizing the spirit of the Malaysian indie filmmaking scene, where yet another Da Huang Pictures collaborator James Lee get casted in the role of a workaholic father who makes mannequins.

In short, this is a very charming and delightful movie to sit through, and no doubt credit goes to the two young boys who played the characters of brothers Ma Li Ahh and Ma Li Ohm, though my personal favourite would be Li Ohm the younger of the two, and from the get go, director Seng Tat puts him in comical light, as the poor dude can't understand Malay in his language class, and had to rely on a fellow student to act as a translator in order to have a conversation with the teacher.Neglected by their father, they spend most of their time hanging out in the streets relying on their street smarts, bullying weaker boys, and being poor, commit petty thefts (or abeitting someone else to do it) for that ice cream or two.

The film also showcases some really heartfelt scenes of friendship which transcends race, religion and gender, and celebrates this diversity, wearing it on its sleeve. I also got to reminisce the games we play as kids, such as catching longkang fish, and Flower in the Pocket had 2 scenes which just crack me up - the choking scene, and the swimming one which is so unbelievable it just has to be seen to be believed.

Alas there are moments here that the Malaysian censors found reason to frown upon. Thankfully, the screening here had those 2 key scenes intact, which involves, in the censored version, a pixelated dog, as well as the removal of the scene where pages from a Bahasa Melayu textbook were used to wipe an arse after doing business out in the open.

While I thought the storyline was nothing really much to shout about, the charismatic leads as well as some truly funny key moments, made this movie. You'll never look at learning how to swim in the same light again LOL

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