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“Mukhsin” Review – An Easy, Simple Tale March 7, 2007

Posted by drowmage in Movie Reviews, Movies, Mukhsin.


“Everyone has a first love story to tell.” This is the tagline to Yasmin Ahmad’s latest offering, “Mukhsin“, and couldn’t be closer to the essence of the film. It’s a movie a lot of people would relate to, not just about the young blossoming romance between the two characters, but just the other supporting characters in the film.

Just a brief synopsis regarding the movie: Orked (Sharifah Aryana), at a tender age of ten, finds a new friend in the twelve-year-old Mukhsin (Mohd. Syafie) , who has just moved into the neighbourhood. The friendship starts off a little rocky at first, but as the days pass, they spend more and more time together. A small misunderstanding results in them not speaking to each other – until Mukhsin moves away.

It’s as simple as that. There are supporting stories to the main tale, revolving around Orked’s slightly eccentric family, and their neighbour’s roving husband, to Mukhsin’s parents. But although all these seem to add more depth to the film, bringing an relaxed, easy-feeling when you’re watching it, the film doesn’t stray away from the original theme very often.

It’s nice to – for once – not have to psycho-analyze a film. The synopsis for “Mukhsin” sounds similar to “My Girl” (starring Macauly Culkin); but instead of the Western references, has been given a Malaysian flavour with its scenic kampung lifestyle and lovable ethnic characters. Where else would you find a film where a young Malay girl is shown as a student in a Chinese school, speaking and writing the language fluently? It’s a break away from normal local film, where filmmakers have constantly segregated the culture and races into their ethnic groups, bringing a sense of stereotype. Yasmin breaks away from that, as was seen in “Sepet”, “Gubra” and now “Mukhsin”.

The cinematography isn’t anything fancy, nor are there stunning special effects. And why not? What grips you more would be the chemistry between the characters – the way Orked and her mother (played by Sharifah Aleya) interact with one another; the relationship between Orked and her father. Orked isn’t a typical girl either; who gets bored with the typical girlish games and opts for playing sports with the boys instead – choosing her cat over dolls. Pink would be so proud (referring to the lyrics for “Stupid Girls”).

Look out for cameos from Sharifah Amani and Ng Choo Seong, in a scene which brings hints of a happy ending for “Sepet”, and local indie filmmaker Ho Yuhang, whose back is the only thing the audience sees, but his voice is recognizable instantly.

The music also plays a part in the film, especially when a French ballad, “Ne Me Quitte Pas” (Don’t Leave Me), sung by Nina Simone, was playing in a background as Orked’s parents are dancing happily; and the next scene which showed a sad Mukhsin standing outside the house watching them was simply heartbreaking. In contrast, the theme song, “Hujan” (Rain), which was written by Yasmin’s father, was played with a cheery, light tune, not unlike the feel of the film.

But, as the title of this review shows – it’s a simple tale. It’s nothing new, compared to numerous films from other countries, and it’s not something you would call a breakthrough in films. But although it’s an age-old formula in film, it doesn’t fall flat. It’s a film we would all relate to – we’ll laugh at the familiar jokes, we’ll wonder at the beautiful countryside scenery, and we’ll cry at the tender moments. It’s like a tapestry, woven together into a creation just short of a masterpiece, but still beautiful enough to be admired, to be revelled at.

And most noticeable was during the entire length of the film, Mukhsin never mentions to Orked about how he feels, letting such moments pass by him like a leaf in the wind.

But it’s still enjoyable, nevertheless, and brings a feeling of warmth, like a hot cup of Milo when you’re feeling hungry, or a hot bowl of chicken soup when you’re sick in bed with flu. “Mukhsin” may not blow you away, but it’ll definitely stir up some old, heartwarming memories in that closet of your soul.

The Drowmage rates this as : Stars 4

Other Drowmage News : Meeting the Cast of “Mukhsin”


Meeting the Cast of “Mukhsin” March 7, 2007

Posted by drowmage in Events, Journalism, Malaysian Movies, Movies, Mukhsin, Photos.

When I first heard about the movie months back, after having to write an article about the film, I thought, “Well, here’s a chance for me to finally catch a movie by the great Yasmin Ahmad”. After all, everyone who’s a fan of indie films here has watched “Sepet” and “Gubra“, and has had tons to say about the films.

So I went for the press screening of the movie @ GSC (Golden Screen Cinemas) in Midvalley, last week. You’ll see how much of an effect bloggers have now, with a special registration table put aside for media, and bloggers. Now, isn’t that just fracking awesome?!?

Bloggers Registration
Bloggers ONLY

However, I went to this side :
Press Registration
Media/Press Peeps

It’s funny how you meet what I’d like to call “Celebrity Bloggers”. You’ve read their blogs over the past years. You’ve heard so much about them, and it’s so darn exciting when you finally see them in person. I saw the famous TV Smith at the registration, and caught a glimpse of Suan, whose blogs I enjoy reading. I think I saw sultanmuzaffar as well. Of course, more exciting was seeing Yasmin Ahmad in person.

After the movie (in which I will put up my review in the next postThe Drowmage’s review here), we had the press conference. I took some awesome pictures, and had fun. The Noob (whom I had to keep telling what questions to ask – I mean, really, is this the quality of journalists our universities are churning out these days? I shudder for the future..) kept wanting to leave, and I had to shove her in the direction of all the stars there. That’s probably the only downside of the press conference.

I caught up with the glamorous Ning Baizura, who went around with her own camera to take photos of the young star Sharifah Aryana. Ning’s got a new movie this year, called “Diva”. Ning was kind enough to let take a pix of her, and a second one when the first shot was spoiled by some nugget walking between the camera and her.

Ning Baizura
Glamorous Ning

Casually spoke to Sharifah Amani (who was also in “Mukhsin”) for a bit about her next movie “Muallaf”, and took a shot of her and Sharifah Aleysha, the next rising star in the family of actresses:

Amani & Aleysha
Sharifah Amani & Sharifah Aleysha

Amani : In the next movie is me, and this one (points at Aleysha).
Drowmage : How about the other 2 sisters (referring Aleya and Aryana)?
Amani :
The other 2 no need lah… what for?
Drowmage : Family movie mar

One of the young stars, who acts as Orked’s playmates in the movie. I’m naming her the “Shirley Temple of Malaysia” – she sounds and looks so much like the child legend (well, the local version anyway)!

The next Shirley Temple?
The Malaysian Shirley Temple?

Some pics from the event:

Cast Pix
“Mukhsin” Cast Pix

Cast Pix 2
The Drowmage corners a pix from the cast members leaving the stage…

Mukhsin/ Mohd Syafie
Mukhsin… er, Mohd Syafie, looking sheepishly at all the cameras being pointed at him.

Yasmin Ahmad
Yasmin Ahmad, laughing at a comment from another actress. I prefer this pix of her looking happy compared to the dry, sober ones I keep seeing online.

The Actress Family
(L to R : Aryana, Fatimah, Amani, Aleysha. Aleya was stuck at work that day.)

Update: The Drowmage’s review of Mukhsin