Tuesday, March 16, 2010

[DVD] Muallaf (2008)

Yasmin Ahmad's fans around the world can now watch her second last feature film Muallaf since it's very recently released on DVD. There are two versions out there though, one for the Malaysian market which follows the theatrical requirements to silence some lines, as what Amir Muhammad had stated here and here, and another which is the Unedited Director's Edition where you need not worry about that.

The Unedited Director's Edition DVD is likely region free (printed on the sleeve as Code 3, but I've played it successfully on a Code 1 player), and comes presented in a letterbox format. The visual quality is soft and unfortunately closer to that of a VCD with occasional noise in the picture, but otherwise it's the only DVD version out there currently that you can (re)watch Muallaf. Audio is presented with a choice of Dolby Surround 2.0 or Dolby Digital 5.1 in its original language track of English (which the film is predominantly in) and Bahasa Melayu. Subtitles are available in Malay, English and Chinese, with scene selection over 12 chapters.

Navigational menus follow the poster design in keeping it simple, and the film now comes with new opening credits.

There are essentially 2 Bonus features included in the DVD, other than 2 Theatrical Trailers (one 30s, the other 90s). The first, The Numbers in Muallaf will help satisfy that curiosity any viewer will have with regards to the verses from the Quran and the Bible which get quoted from the film. They are text based and can be viewed sequentially one after another through the navigational links, or be accessed specifically from the submenu.

The other feature would be the standard Making Of (20:03) which opens with Yasmin Ahmad introducing Muallaf, and contains the usual interviews with various cast and crew members, from the leading trio Brian Yap, Sharifah Amani and Sharifah Aleysha, to supporting ones like Yeo Yann Yann and Dato Rahim Razali. Presented mostly in the English language without subtitles, perhaps the most valuable of this segment is the rare glimpse into Yasmin's rehearsal process and philosophy behind it, with rehearsal footage generously peppered for that first hand look.

With this DVD release, all of Yasmin's theatrical films are now available on DVD formats, except that at this juncture it'll be near impossible to find Sepet (without cuts) from the stores, and a pity that the Talentime DVD having been released without English subtitles. One can hope for a day when there'll be a collector's version to include all films, especially Rabun which was only released on VCD format and is currently out of print.

Related Links
- My review of Muallaf
- On Location @ Muallaf set
- Muallaf Q&A with Yasmin Ahmad and selected cast.

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