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Finally! After weeks turning into months of waiting, the highly acclaimed local movie "Sepet" is finally released in our cinemas. After a successful run in Singapore, "Sepet" scraped though a tough battle with the National Censorship Board and now Malaysians get to watch it. Before I watched the movie, I wasn't sure if a movie boringly titled "Sepet" could keep me awake. To my surprise, the movie turned out to be really good.
For those of you who do not know what "Sepet" is about, it is about 19-year-old Ah Loong (Ng Choo Seong), who is in charge of a stall selling pirated VCDs. Contrary to what you might expect of someone from his social standing, Ah Loong is an incurable romantic with an unlikely hobby - he likes to read and write poetry. Quite content to carry on being the Romeo of the slums, Ah Loong's life takes a pleasant turn when 16-year-old Malay schoolgirl (Sharifah Amani) arrives at his stall in search of Hong Kong films. Guess what happens next? They fall in love at first sight, of course.
It is a typical boy-meets-girl movie, except that it's locally made. "Sepet" is absolutely brilliant. The story was told Malaysian style, so you can expect lots of Cantonese, Mandarin, Malay, English and even Hokkien. Missing, though, was Tamil. I wonder why.
"Sepet" was supposed to be a Malay movie. Strangely, it looked more like a Chinese movie to me. The theme song is in Cantonese (sung by Hong Kong pop legend Sam Hui, if you must know) and most of the conversation is in Cantonese. Not that I mind, though. This is a chance for you to learn some Cantonese. A great movie + free lessons in Cantonese, where else can you get such a deal?
Director Yasmin Ahmad mixed a nice blend of humour throughout the movie. Unlike other locally made movies, the jokes are not lame and actually can make you laugh. With veteran comedian Harith Iskandar around, you can expect lots of laughter. A laugh a day keeps the doctor away, I say.
You just have to give the lead actor and actress some credit. Being new to the movie industry, both Ng Coo Seong and Sharifah Amani did an extremely good job in "Sepet". They did not overact and their tears seemed real to me. I especially like Choo Seong. With his rambut perang and his acting skills, he really does look like a VCD seller, and no, he is not a VCD seller in real life. I like Sharifah Amani too. That's because she's just so cute.
One thing though, there are too many unnecessary scenes. I mean, what are the chances that the viewers would be interested in watching Harith and Ida Nerina in a dance scene, clad only in sarongs? Some scenes were too long. It kind of bores you out, frankly.
Other than that, I can't find anything wrong with the movie. Yasmin did a great job in writing a teenage love story. Although the Censorship Board snipped out eight scenes, it didn't affect the movie at all. A very brilliant locally made romantic movie. You shouldn't miss it.Cinema Online, 23 September 2008