Talentime


I know this review shouldn’t be written until the 26th of March, it’s opening day, but I’d like to write what I’m feeling after watching the movie.

Talentime is a multiple stories of several characters that tied around the Talentime event held in a school. While not as varied and disparate as the likes of Cinta, Crash, but different, nevertheless. Mainly, it revolves around Melur, who fell in love with an Indian boy named Mahesh, during a talentime event.
Like most Yasmin’s movies, this one tells the stories as it unfolds, with not so much of any push to lean forward and anticipate the end. So for slow movie haters please leave the cinema once you see Yasmin Ahmad’s name at the helm. It also don’t have a definitive ending, whereas we are free to imagine, to concoct our own ending, based on our own stories, and the stories we read from her telling. And believe me, while the story is the same, the tale you hear may not be.
The strength of this movies, I believe, is by the lyrics and poems scattered around the script. Songs are made to the feel of this movies, while others chosen carefully to contemplate the mood it represents. And although not all songs in there I can understand (without the help of subtitles, since there are Chinese and Indian songs in there), The lyrics still does move me, and help cover the biggest flaw in Talentime.
The new actors this time did not shine as those before. While she may be the one who brought Sharifah Amani and Shafie Naswip, this time, apart from the veterans and established actors, only Mahesh gave an impressive act. Not unlike Syafie in Mukhsin, Mahesh’s vocal was loudest and most heart piercing, when said through the eye.
The level of acting (or lack thereof) made this movie less enjoyable than what it should be. An over use of still shots also made it seems like Yasmin’s buying time to put in her songs, or maybe to make the scene ‘sink in’ to our hearts. Some, to me, didn’t seem to have a purpose. I wonder, why was it there?
After a safe journey with Mukhsin, Yasmin is back on her own controversial storytelling with Muallaf (which is banned here in Malaysia, and I have yet to watch it. If you’re reading this Yasmin, is there anyhow I can watch it without going overseas?) and to a certain extend, Talentime. Stereotypical disputes between races and religions are one of the highlights of Talentime, and seems to be the favourite subject for Yasmin.
I have always envied the family as portrayed by Yasmin, the jovial and loose nature of the members, but this time the protagonist’s (can there be a protagonist without an antagonist?) family seems distant, with an atypical composition and, while the addition of an English family lineage seems to explain it all, it still feels alien to see families in Malaysia playing Twister, and being so liberal of their child who’s in love.
Maybe Yasmin’s trying to say something, but it still seems a bit far out to me.
This is not all bleak movie, nor is it fair and vibrant. It is a melancholy look at living and loving, life and death, being alone, and being together. laughter are aplenty (my favourite is the Indonesian Tawas joke), but it’s not a comedy, nor it’s a tragedy.
Yasmin’s film, to this date, has always been about the small things in our lives, that we may forget or overlook, while stringing it to stereotypical environments and people, and then ends it at a point when we can think for ourselves what the ending would be, according to our taste. This is her style, for better or worse, like how Afdlin Shauki, Aziz M Osman, Prof Razak Mohaideen, even international ones. So if you’re going to watch this movie, please prepared for a Yasmin’s movie, much like you don’t look for a love story by Michael Bay.
Saved by the songs, lyrics and poetic lines, 3 and a half talents..
,

One response to “Talentime”