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Keng Guan Chiu
Andy Darrel Gomes
A talent search competition has matched two hearts - that of Melur, a Malay-mixed girl and an Indian male student, Mahesh. Melur, with her melodious voice, singing whilst playing the piano is one of the seven finalists of the Talentime competition of her school organised by Cikgu Adibah. Likewise Hafiz, enthralling with his vocalist talent while playing the guitar, divides his time between school and mother, who is hospitalised for brain tumor.Written by
Flawed, but easily one of the best Malaysian movies in living memory
I wasn't sure what to expect when I went to see Talentime, and I think neither did any of the other nine people who went to see it with me. I'd seen Sepet and Gubra, and good as they were, they felt very raw and unpolished. Talentime retreads a number of themes and tales which Yasmin Ahmad dealt with in her earlier films, so it wasn't immediately clear what would set Talentime apart.
When the credits began rolling, all of us -- and virtually the rest of the theatre -- stood or sat in stunned silence. This is one of the most heartwrenching, moving movies I have ever watched -- and especially so for Malaysians.
I do have some bones to pick with the film. I felt the editing was a bit choppy at times, and the dubbing seemed rather poor. Once or twice, parts of the story strained credulity for me.
In spite of these things, Talentime deserves a 10. It tells a good story well. It resists the temptation to overreach in terms of subject matter, and it avoids the problematic, blunt moralising which often characterises the approach to problems like race and love.
When the group I watched Talentime with finally picked our jaws up off the floor, we raved about the final scene. It's something which I think most people have seen before -- a bittersweet, almost preachy scene that's always mawkish and off-putting. But Yasmin Ahmad somehow pulls it off -- it's one of the most moving things I've ever seen on the silver screen.
It's very sad that Yasmin Ahmad is no longer with us. Talentime was her masterpiece, and it shows a maturity and polished refinement which her earlier works lacked. This should be mandatory viewing for any Malaysian.
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