Teoh's second hand washing machine has a life of her own: she washes when she wants to and stops when she feels like it. When Teoh discovers the secret soul of this temperamental slave, he exploits her for all his other household chores. And then he pimps her out to strangers. When middle-aged widower Mr. Wong takes her in, his prodigal son immediately tries to seduce her, while his petulant daughter becomes more and more suspicious. In this off-kilter dark comedy, the effects of alienation and desperation in the increasingly commodified city of Kuala Lumpur will spiral before you like a dry spin in slow motion. Written by
Pang Khee Teik
It took a few moments into this piece when I was stuck by the similarities in style to the films of Ming-Liang Tsai. Apparently this is intentional on the part of the director so take that as your first warning. This is a methodical, slow film with what can be described as an anti- dramatic structure. That's not to say that the film is dry, actually I found some of it very amusing.
A man, Teoh, recently dumped by his girlfriend, purchases a used washing machine. It immediately breaks and seems unrepairable so the man treats the machine to dinner and some TV. The next day a young woman appears sitting next to machine. Teoh, strangely unsurprised, treats her like a servant and eventually starts to get very abusive. Later the woman escapes and gets into the car of Mr. Wong, a lonely widower, who interestingly owns the same model of washing machine (also broken). Here the movie changes as we now follow Mr. Wong and the mysterious woman while his adult children try to figure out where this woman suddenly came from. He's not talking and they don't know how to deal with the silent woman.
Probably a great deal of this film is rooted in Malaysian customs which makes hard to understand. While the setting is very western, a mega-supermarket plays an important role, the behavior is very Asian and the male/female relationships are especially culture bound. There are some surreal parts to the film (feeding dinner to the machine, for example) but most of the time everything is rooted in reality. The main problem I have with the film is that dramatically it seems like two separate 60 minute films stuck together. We start with Teoh but he disappears halfway thru. The Mr. Wong half could easily have been an entire film, it's certainly has a better story.
What makes this film is the astounding digital tape cinematography. Without it this would have been very hard to watch. It has some of the best "shot on video" film imagery I've ever seen from a standard definition camera.
All in all, it's recommendable but only if you are prepared for pacing.
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