Films, Love, Musings

Review: The Great Gastby

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I’m sure everyone is raving about the latest summer blockbuster – The Great Gatsby. Truth be told, I never intended to watch this movie until a friend of mine tweeted that it’s worth crying for. I love movies that make me cry. They make me feel human. Yes, I’m not shy of wearing my heart on my sleeve.

Through out the movie, I had questions that needed answering, but I silenced them out and sat till the end. This is one of the lucky movies I’ve watched before reading the book. I really want to read the book now that I’m done reading Dan Brown’s Inferno – of which I will discuss on another day.

As much as I would love to do a detailed analysis of the film just as how I wrote my Son of Babylon paper two years back, I don’t think it’ll be wise to do so now. I hate giving out spoilers so I shall give it a bit more time.

On a serious note, I think Gatsby is my new ideal man (minus his shenanigans). Move over Darcy!

 

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A Date Series, Films, Love, Musings

A Date with Patrick J. Adams

I don’t post much here but if you are a friend on Facebook, or following me on Twitter, you would probably know I’m a huge Suits fan. New York, law, witty jokes, dashing actors and actresses, and particularly my kind of lead actor – what there not to love?

Yesterday, I got invited to a private party at the Royal Room Pan Pacific for a chance get up close and (umm, too) personal with Patrick J. Adams, aka Mike Ross. He’s exactly my type of guy – tall, skinny, sharp features and awkward. Yes, awkward. I love awkward guys. Heh.

Enjoy the pictures! Just don’t kill me yet.

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First red carpet event for me! Haha of course I’m just a fan girl hogging the red carpet. Not in a position to be there without a free pass lol.

ImageLook at how gorgeous Patrick J Adams is!

ImageStill melting…

ImageAs much as I want Patrick to myself, I must admit Troian and Patrick look really good together.

ImageShe was wearing heels but I bet we’re the same height.

ImageHEHEHEHEHEHHE look at my gushing face!

ImageAsked them to smile for the camera and they gave me this! Hehe

And so with that, my birthday wish came true. Also, I’m thinking that if teaching doesn’t work out, I wouldn’t mind doing Public Relations. So many new friends made yesterday!

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Faith, Films, Love, Musings

The Dilemma of the Dreamer

Without even realising, October has come and passed, leaving us to rejoice in the last two months of the year. 2010 has been too fast for my liking. I guess it’s true when people tell me that once you enter uni life, the clock ticks like there’s no tomorrow.

This semester has been exciting for me. My three-day week on campus has allowed me to spend my time doing things I would rather do other than studying – because seriously, I think I’m starting to get allergic to examinations – but of course, it leaves me guilty of not trying to pull up my grades, though I know I should really be doing that. Nevertheless, modules this semester were interesting, still is I think, and lecturers could not have been more helpful. Sharmee’s Best Lecturer Award of 2010 goes to Prof Edna Lim who heads TS2238/SSA2218: Singapore Film – Performance of Identity. Awesome module, great group mates and the most exciting assignment ever – making our own short film – what more could I ask for?

Apart from school, I’ve been involved in a few productions that I wish I had put more effort in. Limited resources, so I can’t really blame myself, can I? I’m not trained in writing, filmmaking, or even a qualified production assistant, but I’m a keen learner. I have a dream, and inshallah, if all goes well, I’ll be studying to be a filmmaker.

Speaking of dreams, having written a few scripts this year and seeing them in the making, I realised the difficulty in accepting reality when you have a choice of creating the imagined. When we dream or idealise of another world, we tend to want them to come true. But seeing a dream come true through a medium that is artificial, that’s not ideal. As a writer, I’m torn between writing the truth and the constructed imagined. When I write the truth, it would force me to write only based on what I have experience. When I write the imagined, however, I would want to experience it despite knowing that it would never come true.

This is what I call, The Dilemma of the Dreamer.

There is perhaps no solution for this dilemma, but there is a prevention. I faced the dilemma once, so I stopped having high hopes on the people around me so that I know what I imagine will remain an imagination. Or rather, an illusion. I can’t pretend I have a perfect family when I know I don’t; I can’t pretend I’m the most sought-after girl when I know I’m not and I can’t pretend I’m a success when I don’t even know what success means.

For now, I’ll go back to loving myself so I’ll be happy. This one’s for you, RP. Happy Fifth Month together.

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Films, Love, Musings, SMFS

SMFS: Purnama 2 Finale (17 October 2009)

A week has passed and so did Purnama 2. From rushing for the completion of my Rikyu essay to spending an hour on make up, the Saturday of 17 October was certainly a night to remember. Apart from the rumours running around like wildfire and failed red carpet glamour, Purnama was a huge success.

The Singapore Malay Film Society (SMFS) team arrived early to set up and prepare the necessary items needed for the night. We had a registration table at the 5th level of The Cathay, complete with flowers courtesy of Liz Fleur, programme booklets, tickets and of course, the pretty ladies of SMFS to serve the guests. Reception went pretty well, I must say. 120 seats were filled up, including the guests SMFS invited. We had the honour of hosting Purnama 2 to the J.A. Halim family, Cikgu Yusnor Ef, judges Lim Yu Beng and Sanif Olek. Even Singapore Director Tan Pin Pin dropped by to watch the screenings!

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One of the guests signing the guest book.

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Even Mr X-Factor Effandi Mohamed came! Read about Effandi’s adventure as a visual effects artist at Dneg here.

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This is not staged, I was genuinely ushering the guests over to the other door.

Watching the films, as usual, gave me chills over my spine – in a good way that is. Everytime I watch a local film production, I say to myself, “Heck this is awesome!” If you were sitting next to me in the cinema, you’d probably notice my mouth drooling over the film. Like literally, because jaw just drops each time I watch something that transfixed my eyes. In Malay terms, my mulut selalu ternganga. I’ll post a review of the films in another entry, because I just have too many things about them. OH and I watched Shingoporu Monogatari for the second time! And I met Hafidz again! Hee hee!

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Pretty plaques for the awardees!

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Among those present – Lim Yu Beng, Rafaat Hamzah and Cikgu Yusnor Ef

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If Amalia Yunus were start a whole new series of children show, I want to be part of it! She’s a really bubbly character and her love for children led her to winning the Most Promising Director Award.

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Special Mention Awardees: Ghazi Al-Qudcy (left) and Ezzam Rahman (right). But hey, they’re no stranger to local film screenings man! Read more about them here.

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Special Mention Awardee: Hafidz Senor. If you haven’t read my interview with Hafidz, then read it here.

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Wan citing his reasons for choosing a Chinese actor to play the part of a Japanese soldier, when at the same time, using English and Australian actors to play the part of British and Australian soldiers respectively.

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Yazid aka Farid came down for Purnama 2 as well!

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Isnor giving away the token of appreciation to Cikgu Yusnor Ef.

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Awardees with Cikgu Yusnor Ef.

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A film screening is not complete without a photo-taking session!

For a film festival that is only in its second year run, Purnama 2 is certainly a motivation for us to continue our efforts in bringing back Malay films to the silver screens. Our efforts may be small, but we’ll get to our dreams someday. For now, it is important that we have faith in our community to produce more films, be it short or feature films, so that we can say Malay films in Singapore still exist.

Insyallah.

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Films, Love, Musings, SMFS, Uncategorized

SMFS: KL Trippin’ with the Oldies

Do not be fooled by the title of this post. When I say ‘oldies’, I meant veterans, not the old young people I went with. Last month, a few of us from the Singapore Malay Film Society (SMFS) went on a road trip to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Our main objective of crossing the Causeway for the weekend was to meet up with the veterans of Studio Jalan Ampas – Dato’ Aziz Sattar and Tan Sri Jins Shamsudin – to find out the 5Ws and 1H of working with the greatest Malay entertainer ever, the late Tan Sri P. Ramlee. We also wanted to know how it was like being in the Singapore film industry in its heyday.

Now I know many of you are mourning over the death of Michael Jackson. I am sad too, but even sadder that I did not get to live in the era P.Ramlee’s music. It seems that talented people leave the world even before they are done with their dream.

Oh well, the good die young, aye?

Anyways, on the first day, the five of us caught up with Anwardi Jamil, and his producer friend, Tom Ali, at Lotus, a 1-mintute walk from our PNB Darby Park Aparment. We talked about the film industry in Malaysia and Singapore, as well as how we can further improve the linkage between the two countries’ film industry. It’s not everyday that you get to meet industry insiders who have done large scale production for television and the big screen – well, at least for me. Since I was with the abang-abang of SMFS, they were not as jakun as I was. Or perhaps they were hiding the jakunness inside.

After lunch with Anwardi Jamil and Tom Ali, we headed back to our apartment for our midday prayers. Anwardi Jamil met us again and drove us to Finas (Perbadanan Kemajuan Filem Nasional Malaysia), the equivelent of Singapore Film Commision (SFC). Over at Finas, we explored the grounds and talked to a few people we met along the way.

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Isnor (Founder) and Suffian (Co-Founder) pointing at P. Ramlee and Jins Shamsudin’s identity cards

One of them is Isazaly Isa, an Apple Certified Trainer who conducts workshops at Finas. He is also an editor by profession. Surprise surprise, this young man is a Singaporean! Perhaps the most significant of his works is for Harman Hassan’s Road to Mecca (2008) as an Executive Producer. Read Isazaly’ Isa’s techie blog here.

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Isazaly Isa showing us around the Soundmix Studio

Bumping into Isazaly at Finas was a blessing. Why do you ask? Because we got a guided tour around the new Dolby Digital Soundmix Studio in Finas! Now for you filmmaking noobs newbies, this is where you the post-production for audio is done! There’s a foley studio – a studio where you get the sound effects done. I really cannnot say what I saw in words because…

I WAS TOO JAKUN AND I HAVE NO IDEA OF HOW THE SYSTEM WORKS!

So I’m a newbie like you too. Bak kata pepatah Tok Isnor kiter, biar pandai, jangan pandai-pandai  (don’t act clever). So I shall leave you guys, my beloved readers, to google ‘foley studio’ and let Wikipedia do the talking, aight?

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FINAS Foley Studio – Art trying to do something

We proceeded back to our apartment to rest and wash up since Anwardi Jamil decided to bring us out for a night of fun after dinner. Being the only girl of the entourage, I was scared for my life was hoping for entertainment that I could enjoy too. And I did enjoy myself!

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All of us with Hasnul and his friend.

We met up with Hasnul Rahmat, another Singaporean who shifted over to the other side of the Causeway to pursue their love for the arts. Since its an open secret, I’ll tell you anyways. I’ve had a crush on this fella since forever, so naturally, I was super excited to meet Hasnul. Thankfully, I’m not one of those who cry and faint upon seeing their celebrity crushes.

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Hasnul and myself

We talked about film, history and film history. It was certainly an eye opener, having a conversation with Hasnul. I may have gotten the rejection letter by NTU Communication Studies, curse you dean of admissions! but I realised I can still do films even as I’m doing History! Pfft! Who needs a degree to do films?

So the night ended early cause we were scheduled to meet Tan Sri Jins Shamsudin at 10am the next morning. I was scared, excited, nervous – feelings all jumbled up together. And thanks to Isnor, who said it was already 9.45am when I woke up at 8am and asked for the time.

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One of the many old film cameras at Tan Sri Jins Shamsudin’s office

We talked for an hour and a half before exploring his storerooms where he had props from old movies, some of them include the old film camera above, as well as props from the movie Ali Setan. It was fun listening to his stories, it felt like listening to a grandfather telling stories of the war.

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Group photo!

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Tan Sri Jins Shamsudin and myself

The same afternoon, we headed back to our apartment cause we scheduled with Dato’ Aziz Sattar  to meet us there. We thought it be good to have the meeting away from the public eyes, but Dato’ thought otherwise. He wanted to eat thosai from Lotus, the 24 hour coffee shop near our apartment, so we headed there instead. The old man told us jokes, some of which reminded me of the Bujang Lapok series he acted with P. Ramlee and S. Shamsudin. A wonderful character to talk to, Dato’ Aziz Sattar is.

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Dato’ Aziz Sattar and his wife

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Group photo again!

So the remnants of our trip was shopping and Carl’s Junior. I totally forgot to eat Subway. Nonetheless, it was a good meal. And of course, we dropped by Pustaka Peringatan P. Ramlee before departure off at Pasar Rakyat. Oh and this was P. Ramlee’s house, by the way.

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Last stop: Pustaka Peringatan P. Ramlee

That’s all from us at the Singapore Malay Film Society! Till we meet on a new adventure again, aye?

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Films, Love, SMFS

Sang Pemimpi: A Sequel to Laskar Pelangi

I used to hate Indonesian films. Yes, hate is a strong word, but I really did. That was until I watched Laskar Pelangi and fell in love.

I fell in love with Gunnar Nimpuno’s cinematography, Riri Riza’s direction and the cute little boys from Laskar Pelangi. Now, they’re shooting the sequel to Laskar Pelangi – Sang Pemimpi.

One of my students, Dhimas, recommended me to read the books instead of watching the films. My first love is books, so I shall hunt Andrea Hirata’s series tomorrow at Johor and read them before the release of Sang Mimpi. I know it might cause harm to my review of the film, but essentially, a filmmaker – even an amateur – must read to widen her knowledge.

Here are some of the shots I got off Sang Mimpi’s Facebook fan page. Oh and they just started shooting two days ago!

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I love this shot.

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Guru yang kelihatan amat garang. I cannot be that kind of teacher.

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A good way to punish students.

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Priceless.

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Scenes like these makes me wanna go back to school.

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He kinda looks like Dato’ Rahim Razali. Fierce.

The release date is 17 December 2009, well, in Indonesia that is. To the crew of Sang Mimpi, please tell Riri Riza that I am a big fan and I wanna catch the premeire of the film although I am far away in Singapore.

I might as well fly off to the premeire for a short getaway, eh? Hmmm….

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Films, Musings, SMFS

Film Review: Laskar Pelangi

I’ve been wanting to watch this film since forever, but unfortunately, our local cinemas decided not to screen it over a longer period of time. So when I was shopping at Geylang (Joo Chiat) two weeks ago, I was quite surprised to see the VCD at Muzika Records! I grabbed one copy, took out a 10 dollar note and immediately paid without any second thoughts.

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Synopsis:

A small school in the countryside is on the verge of being shut down when enrollment falls due to the emergence of a rival school in the area. Without a complete class of ten students, the school would have to face its fate. Fortunately, the last student arrives at the eleventh hour, hence allowing the school to continue operations.

Nevertheless, the school faces all sorts of problems as time goes on. The students live in poverty, making use of whatever nature allows them to study. When the school faces a shortage of funds and students insist on participating in the local carnival, the class puts up a  performance in a way arts critics would applaud.

What I like about Laskar Pelangi is the subtlties and impactful dialogues that will forever be etched in your mind. When asked why she does not want to accept a marriage proposal from a rich businessman, Ibu Muslimah simply said, “Mimpiku bukan untuk menjadi isteri saudagar, mimpiku ialah untuk menjadi guru!” The English translation would simply mean “My dream is not to be a businessman’s wife, my dream is to be an educator!”

Apart from that, the class has a plethora of characters just like any class would have. I couldn’t quite catch the character’s names though. One boy has a superb ability of mental calculations and knows a lot about world events because he saves his daily pocket money to purchase newspapers to read. Another goes around the neighbourhood with a broken down radio that needs to be shaken up before used. He loves singing and dancing and anything related to the arts. And of course, there’s the misfit – a boy who’s stuck in the middle and just goes with the flow of his peers.

This is a truly inspiring film – because it has made think about my current status of being a substitute teacher. Perhaps, when I’ve gotten bored of filmmaking in the future, I’d probably come back to teaching. As for now, I’m happy where I am.

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