On November 10th 2012 I went to watch a free screening of Yasmin Ahmad’s film at Kineforum. Kineforum is a non-commercial cinema in Jakarta offering various kinds of films and also film discussions. It is located at Taman Ismail Marzuki, Jakarta. Sometimes they have special programs featuring films of certain director or certain theme. In November 2012 the program was about films from Yasmin Ahmad, a film director from Malaysia. The films featured in this program were:
- Short films compilation from Yasmin Ahmad
- Rabun (My Falling Eyesight)
- Sepet (Chinese Eye)
- Mualaf (The Convert)
I got to watch three films that day: Sepet, Gubra, and Mukhsin. These three films were a trilogy about the love life of Orked, a Malay young woman. The first film in the trilogy was Sepet. It was a love story between Orked and Jason, a man of Chinese ethnic in Malaysia. They met for the first time when Orked, who was a high schoolgirl then, went to the market and bought some VCDs that Jason sold. Their relationship grew further after that first encounter; they fell in love with each other. This film mostly talked about the differences between them due to their different cultures and backgrounds and how they tried to cope with the differences and also with people around them who mostly did not support their relationship. This film ended with Jason getting into an accident while pursuing Orked who went to the airport.
The second film of this trilogy was Gubra. It was set a few years after Orked’s story with Jason. Orked was married to man who was much older than her, Ariff. Their marriage wasn’t a happy one. Her husband had an affair with another woman. One day, Orked went to the hospital due to her father’s sickness and met Jason’s brother there. This brought up her memories of Jason, and she went to Alan’s house to see the memento of her days with Jason. In the end of the film, it was shown that Orked was snuggling beside Jason, both were wearing wedding rings. I wasn’t sure whether it was in their reality, which meant that Jason didn’t die and they got married, or it was just a dream of Orked.
The third film of this trilogy was Mukhsin. This story told about Orked’s first love with Mukhsin when she was 10 years old. She met this boy when he was visiting his relative in the village Orked lived in during his school holiday. It was a typical young love story. It also told about other supporting characters like Orked’s family in the past. Their love story ended when Mukhsin went back to his home after his holiday was over.
Personally I liked the first film, Sepet, the most. It was interesting to see the depiction of the differences between Orked and Jason, the awkwardness between them and their effort to try to cope with their differences. The main language used was Malay, but there were also Hokkian dialect and Cantonese when Jason was talking with his family or friends. I hoped that Orked and Jason could end up well with each other, sort of have a happy ending, but I was quite confused about their relationship; did it end because Jason died in an accident in Sepet or did it continue into their marriage as seen in Gubra in which they were wearing wedding ring?