Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Reading "Anu Dalam Botol" Review

I thought this is interesting review. Oh why I am doing it now? It is just an exercise with my graduate students, talking about sensitive issues, title-ing?, censorship, believablity, human rights and Islam.
Review dipetik dari blog

...Dalam Botol... or as it was originally titled Anu Dalam Botol... so I guess if the original title offends people, then all we gotta do is just put dots in place of the offending word ala 'Perempuan, Isteri dan ...' back in the day... although there was a movie called Jalang right? Last year? Also a movie called Bohsia... no negative connotation there?
But I digress...
Dalam Botol tells the story of Rubidin (Arja Lee), who had a sex change operation because of his lover (Wan Raja), but was later spurned by the same lover. Then, because of a family incident/emergency, he returned to his hometown and experienced a moment of normalcy when he hangs out with a girl (Diana Danielle).
That's the gist of the movie...
I thought the storylines were okay. There was substance to it. In fact, with the layering of the subplots, it was quite interesting to watch. Unfortunately, some storylines were too neatly resolved, although I know this was based on true events, but it doesn't seem realistic.
For example, the money part. Rubidin owed money to some ahlong I think and he was at his wit's end already but then he inherited a whole lot of money and all his troubles went away. Too neatly resolved there for my liking. If that really happened, then Rubidin's a lucky girl in life, although not so much with his love life.
And then some issues along the way... such as the money from the ahlong... I assumed he took the money for the operation... but then, he said he owed the guy 40K... yet he has 20K in the bank account... and the lover has squandered 20K... so how much was the operation?
And why did someone go off for a sex change operation and did not bother to get boobs? He forgot? Or he just wanted the vagina? That seemed a bit odd to me... and he was still wearing a wig... so why bother going through with cutting it off if you're basically no different from a drag queen?
Also, how come these people keep on repeating the same thing over and over again? Like when Ghaus and Ruby were talk-arguing... he kept asking Ruby where she went for a couple of months and kept talking about the surprise and what the surprise was... it's like he did not know she went and got herself a vagina or something... sigh...

Acting-wise, the cast was not too bad... the supporting characters ie the ladies are by far the better actors here... Fauziah Ahmad Daud, Normah Damanhuri and Diana Danielle. A movie about gay men and they are all upstaged by the girls? Kinda ironic... oh before I forget, one comment on Arja Lee... he doesn't seem like he can't act but there are times when it just was not right... maybe it's because he is not that pretty when he is a girl... or maybe the fact that he was pouting and did this high pitched voice when he was Ruby... I dunno... but there was something off about his performance, like he did not connect or something... and good God, his character's drag version was sooo annoying, not because she was needy but her voice was getting on my nerves and the crying without the tears thing? Come on!... I do have to point out that he was quite okay in his scenes as Din though...
Then there was my problem with the setting up of the shots... and no, I ain't talking about the metaphors that they put on throughout the movie... yes, Rubidin got his thang cut off... no need to put a severed tree trunk in the scene right? We got it already. Remember when he opened the fridge after coming back... you can see two eggs... yes, his two eggs were also chopped off... sigh... but no, I was not talking about that...
I am talking about the shots of two people talking but you don't see them talking, you see the scene partner... it worked well when Ruby was facing the mother about his financials... coz it was a delight watching the mother's reactions... now that was a necessary scene for that kind of shot... but why must a lot of other scenes shot that way as well... Dina talking to Ruby about her problems... and Din's face remained stoic... if he identified with his problem and gave facial expressions then okay lar... but nothing... should've focused on Dina and have her emote... why would you show the back of someone's head? Is it because they cannot act? Or did not really carry the scene well?
A colleague of mine said that it was done to be artistic... but I say artistic should not compromise a scene and its contents... Diana Danielle, who I think is a capable actress, especially in this movie, should've been given the chance to face the camera and emote, which would be so much better than seeing the back of her head emote...
Anyway, given the fact that we only have one other gay-themed (yes, gay-themed and not gay movie... I don't believe this would fall under the latter category), Dalam Botol, when compared to the horrors that was 2 Alam, can be considered one of the 10 Best Picture nominees come Oscar time.
But, if you watch it on its own merit and as a regular movie, I believe it's not a bad movie, but not particularly good either, but a good step for Malaysia's cinema to stop being ruled by the censorship board. And yes, I enjoyed watching the movie. :)

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Selipar Jepun, Kasut Tumit Tinggi

Svarnabhumi Studio + MAP Publika present


Japanese Slippers + High-Heels

A Contemporary Theatre Inspired by Mak Yong World Heritage

(Japanese Slippers + High-Heels)

A Contemporary Theatre Inspired by Mak Yong World Heritage

“Perjalanan Mencari Kebenaran, Kebebasan dan Kebahagiaan”
(Journey Looking For Truth, Freedom & Happiness)

Date: 6-8th April 2012
Venue: Black Box, MAP Publika, Dutamas, Jalan Duta, KL
Time: 8.30 -10.30 PM
Director: Dr.Zulkifli bin Mohamad
Actors: Zamzuriah Zahari & Rosman Ishak
Dancers: Ahmad Firdaus Che Yahya & Foo Chi Wei

Ticket: RM45 Adult, RM 25 Student
Contact: +60192459282

Subtitles Available