Movie Review: Mukhsin (with Linda Onn thrown in the mix)


Written on 3/12/2007 08:00:00 am by sikapitan

It’s amazing that this is actually my third review of Yasmin Ahmad’s films. It started way back when Sepet came out, and Yasmin was kind enough to post a comment on that review. I am not sure whether she has the time, or the will, to respond to every online comment about her films anymore.

The buzz surrounding Mukhsin is tremendous. I mean, the way it is promoted has been unprecedented, and to a large extent, brilliant. I applaud the way Mukhsin was patiently brought all over the world to compete in awards which, frankly speaking, most Malaysians don’t even know or care about. But win Mukhsin did, and by the time it was shown in Malaysia, the movie promotional posters can proudly carry various insignia of film awards including best picture.

Let’s not forget the brilliant tie-in with a cosmetic company. Certainly the ads, shown in Episodes, serve as a great teaser to the real movie. It also creates brand awareness; though for the sake of being fair to other cosmetic companies, I won’t say the name of that particular company for fear that it would unnecessarily be promoted to the MILLIONS of people visiting undergrounduate daily. HAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHA….

Mukhsin is a simple tale about simple kids who fell in love for the first time. Orked (10), a tomboy (for lack of better term), met Mukhsin (12) during the school holidays. Unexplained and undeveloped, yet somehow accepted, is the fact that both fell for each other so quickly. Maybe it is because Mukhsin is taller than the rest of the boys, or Orked is fairer than the rest of the girls (because of the cosmetics?). They go through that awkward pre-pubescent love period, though how many of us actually ever go through what they did at that age is questionable.

Of course, there are always the side characters in Yasmin’s movies to entertain us, and distract us from the slow-paced main theme. Orked’s mom and dad, again, show how Yasmin view the perfect parents. Open-minded, bilingual (with an annoying accent, no less), sexually satisfied, can’t get enough of each other, morally righteous, religious, modern, patient, poor yet content…in effect, the perfect yet unrealistic couple and parents.

What would Yasmin’s movie be without some typical stereotype Malay characters thrown in? Although admittedly her treatment of Orked’s neighbour, and the nearest this film has resembling a villain, is less harsh than in her previous movies. It serves an interesting anecdote as to how people like to find fault with others, just because they’re afraid others will find out theirs.

Mukhsin is only there for a short period. So both kids realize that time is running out. Yet, somehow, Orked felt hurt by an innocuous action by Mukhsin. Basically, Orked overreacts, and its kind of grating to see how she acts when Mukhsin desperately tries to talk to her. There’s an underlying drama with Mukhsin’s character, and this comes in the form of a broken home and unhappy childhood. How he turned up so well-mannered is a miracle that only exists in the movies.

As usual, Orked realized too late of her mistake. By the time she wants to make amends, Mukhsin is gone forever. It is this theme of regret that most affects me. Every day is a beginning, or the end. Chances come and go. And you will miss some, an opportunity for love, work, happiness, or redemption. The lesson I learned, whether it was intended by Yasmin or not, is that life goes on. Another day will come. Living life without regret is NOT living every day as if it’s your last, but accepting that we will lose something everyday. Accept that she’s gone…and you won’t live life in regret…

You know it’s not as simple as it seems when it comes to Yasmin, who has never been shy to comment on the state of the Malays in her previous movies. But if Sepet was a slap, and Gubra a punch, Mukhsin is more of a pinch on our social fabric. It doesn’t attempt to force Yasmin’s view of society like Gubra did. Its mild subtext of social commentary is seen only if you want to see it and even then its up to you to interpret it anyway you want to.

It’s not really sexual like some narrow minded critics have said although it’s a little disconcerting to see the open physical proximity these two kids seems to enjoy. There’s a scene where Mukhsin climbed a tree to catch a glimpse of Orked. No, he’s not a peeping tom for a state religious authority or the JPJ. He just misses Orked so much. Suddenly, the daughter of the nosy neighbor spotted Mukhsin, and Mukhsin grudgingly climbed down the tree. While he was climbing down, the girl said “Apa dalam poket awak tu?” upon seeing a bulge in Mukhsin’s pants. Go figure.

So do I like it? Yes and no. Yes because it is easy to digest, it’s beautifully shot, the side characters are absolutely brilliant, the acting’s top notch, and it’s hilarious while being dramatic at the same time. No because some parts are kind of unbelievable, because my mind’s not working overtime like it did with Gubra or Sepet (some might view this as a positive sign), and that considering this is Yasmin’s third movie, and the racial undertones in all her movies, why hasn’t she mentioned anything about the Indians? Don’t they deserve to be included in any movie that aims to reflect on the social condition of Malaysian society?

Somehow I think that most audience would prefer Cinta. But then again, most audience went to see Ghostrider…

Enough Already…

I don’t want to comment on Linda Onn. Honestly I don’t. But I just couldn’t keep quiet when every day I read something about the “controversy” surrounding her non-appearance at the Oscars, which just goes to show that real news is scarce in Malaysia.

Linda Onn was a weird choice in the first place. Anyone here ever seen her hosting an event in English? It must have been a hard thing for Linda, you know, to be sponsored all the way to L.A, to be given free accommodations and transport, to be provided with beautiful frocks to wear, and most importantly, to appear on TV interviewing stars that most of us can only dream about. Oh no, rescue me from this madness…

Somehow she managed to mess it up. I know its unfair to blame her alone, but I’m basing my judgment on her reasons for not appearing. It’s feeble to the point of being ludicrous. Can anyone honestly believe that a local fashion designer, designing a kebaya no less, would dare do anything so sexy as to offend a not-so-kampung Malay girl? No, there’s something else I guess for her refusing to appear. If it’s really because of the clothes, then shame on Linda for neglecting her responsibility and placing more importance on appearance rather than substance.

But the worst thing about this whole episode in relation to Oscars in Malaysia is that it deflects attention from the atrocious Breakfast with The Stars event organized by Star TV in which Malaysian celebrities come to watch the live screening of the Oscars in their best evening wear. The problem is that it’s NOT the evening. It’s at 8 am, a time where most Malaysian celebrities have problem finding on their watch. Can you imagine the silliness of waking up at Subuh, get all dressed up, then make your way to a hotel, go through a faux red carpet, and then sit to watch a bunch of stars a million miles away get awards? Do you think the Hollywood stars would do such a thing? Or whether they even know the existence of this stupid event?

If you enjoyed this post Subscribe to our feed

No Comment

Post a Comment