Monday, December 04, 2006

The Red Kebaya

I got the chance to watch the above. Lawa tak the poster? You got to love the poster. Loveliness just ooozes out of the picture. Got interested seeing this movie cause of those beautiful red kebaya. Man. Those are lovely. Wish I could wear those. Or have those. Or have that kinda body. Ehem.. and of course period movie always got me interested. You know.. deep stuff like that.

Hah, kidding. But between love stories movies set now or love stories set in the 1800s. I say give me the then.

Whats the story all about?

Its about Latiff latest photography project. Latiff is a renowned photographer and his current project is on pictures of abandoned houses or buildings. During that journey, he uncovers memories from his long forgotten past. A love story of a Malay woman and a colonial English guy.

Various itty little bit of thoughts on it

After film end, I goes like.. hurmph. Okay. It was quite a beautiful little film. It's not a magnificent film. But it is a quaint lovely little film.

First and foremost I like to commend is on the music score and also cinematography (did I spell that right huh?). I always, always have something to criticize on our local film musical score. I don't understand that for a bangsa that is proud and attuned to its feeling and arts as what our forefathers proved, our musical score in movie always leave me dissastisfied.

The musical score is lovely. A bit haunting. (I love haunting score). It have a thoughtful lovely piano piece in it that is the essence of its score. The joget songs sung in Chempaka club is jolly and is a reminiscence of P Ramlee era. I just wish there were a little more songs or score in it.

I also love the opening credit. The glitters and shimers and flash of camera bulbs reflecting from the Red Kebaya beads. Did I mention how I would love to have one of those? I did. Yes.. I would love to have one of those.

Cinematography . Its not one of those sweeping panaromic view you see in a grand scale movie. But what pictures or scenery it offers is beautiful. I like it especially when it gradually shows what the old house looks before. From a garbage dump to a bright colonial house.

As for the cast, you have to agree this movie have a stellar casts. Most impressive performance have to go to Bob Mercer as John Reynolds. He was great in this movie. Yes, he's not handsome. Yes, he appears weak to these other strong women. But my heart goes out to him. His portrayal of a gentle man bullied by his wife and struck by the exotic beauty of Azizah is as such that me as an audience have such a strong sympathy to him despite him being a weak guy.

Somewhat dissapointed in Vanida Imran though. Was not sure if she was opting to go for the hard to read character or just plain quiet. I was expecting to be drawn to her character and not Bob Mercer. It was hard to figure out what Azizah was feeling most of the time. When Bob Mercer is professing his love, I was almost expecting Azizah to deny that she feels the same way. A bit taken aback that she says she do. (I know. What do you expect la Dila.. this is a love stories meh. )

The other casts are as what they are. Good supporting cast. Delicious on how Samantha Schubert played the evil Davinia. Very wicked. Paula Malai Ali as an European woman putting down the locals or the mixed (offspring of the English and the local), is amusing since she does still look Asian despite her European bone feature.

Now came the criticism part.

When the movie first start, was thinking that it is a bit pretentious. People milling around art/photo portrait laughing, women in long flowing evening dresses holding a cocktail glass. Very New York-ish upper society. But since I am in no upper class society clique either in New York or KL, hey... what do I know eh.

And I wish they were a bit more specific on Latiff line of work interest. We were brought to the scene where his photograph are on exhibition. We don't see the photographs. Then we got these ( very staid proper upright sitting ) reporters asking him that his next projects are very different from his usual theme of picture taking. Huh, much?

The continuity from some scene to scene are a bit jolting too. We were just beginning to be confused on what's going on the last century and then it quickly zooom in the next century.

Am also not sure if I am finding fault between the writing or Vanidah Imran acting in this role. I just don't feel.. the love. I don't see what make Azizah wanted to be with him for love.. and not for security reason. Kinda get the feeling that she is just hoarding free food and shelter from Reynolds willing hands. Yes, she is affected by his kindness. But I couldn't see the other wheels. You know.. the wheels on why do people do the things they do. She just smiles and generously agrees to everything. Man, that's galling. The affection between mother and son are apparent. But the love, the love that make another man to turn away from his wife (OK..granted that is not so hard to do for some men) and a woman who was raised with different values to accept this guy as the love of her life. They don't question that. I am then left questioning if they should do.

All in all, it is a lovely poignant little film reminding us of the past. Could be better. But a whole lot better than the usual fare of Malay movies but I am not rating this as another Malay movie either.


iceroll said...

owhh thats what u were bz about. now i get it.

Dila said...


malas la nak cakap ape2 lebih2.

Dah cakap arie tu kan? Whatever lah. Whatever rock ur boat.

Anonymous said...

yerp, watched it already. can't stand the part where latif's bos reading the newspaper upside down while telling him that his story were in the paper.huh

Dila said...

heh.. yg tu mmg klaka la.

How can they not notice..

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