Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Sell Out!

Barely two weeks ago, I blogged about how talent in Malaysia is being lost to other countries due to lack of local support. I also wrote that most examples of popular art needs to be validated overseas before it becomes a hit here. Lo and Behold, here is a perfect example.

Sell Out is a film written and directed by a fairly new Malaysian director named Yeo Joon Han. It tells the story of four characters – an unpopular but ambitious arts show host, an ambitious but unsupported product designer, and two wacky CEOs of the FONY corporation. Their stories are linked together by a common theme of what should be sacrificed in the pursuit of the bottom line.

And here’s the overseas validation.

WINNER - Young Cinema Award for Alternative Vision, Venice Film Festival

WINNER - NETPAC Award, Taipei Golden Horse Film Festival

Best Film of the Venice Critics Week 2008 --Italian Critics Poll, Cineforum

“a gem from Malaysia” - Gertzan Zuilhof, The New Straits Times

“A story of our time. … humourous, wink-filled comedy” - -Kong Rithdee, The Bangkok Post

"a film that involves and constantly surprises the audience" - Jury, Young Cinema Award

"punchy songs and comic routines" - Derek Elley, Variety

"the daffiness and enthusiasm are infectious… one of 10 best films of 2008 not yet released in the USA” - David Walsh, the World Socialist Web Site

"moments of pure brilliance that let you know Yeo Joon Han will be around
for a very long time"
- Matthew Tsang, Schema Magazine

"a film that (feels) really new" - Emma Engstrom, the Gotenborgs-Posten
(Swedish press)

"an infectious energy, brilliant at all levels" - Jean Noel Nicolau, Ecran Large

“Sell Out! is one week’s worth of laughter in 110 minutes” - Now News, Taiwan

"the biggest surprise of the festival!" - Taipei Golden Horse Festival

C’mon, admit it… you want to watch it more now, doncha? Well, here’s your chance to support the local industry, and have a darned good time as well. The movie’s currently playing in Golden Screen Cinemas all around Kuala Lumpur, so do be sure to catch it this week or next, because I doubt it’ll be playing for very long.

Our personal take on the movie? It’s a sequence of really well-executed, and really funny scenes. The cinematography, framing and soundtrack are fantastic, and the script is as sharp and witty as the actors. One thing we really liked about the movie was that it’s one of the few Malaysian movies to truly portray our quirky version of English correctly. Most other films I’ve seen always sound too American or British, or lampoon our version of English (called Manglish) until it becomes a caricature.

If there were one criticism to the film, it would be that it feels a little patchy sometimes with the way it weaves the stories of the four characters into each other, unlike Ciplak, which concentrated only on one guys story', and was all the more focused because of it.

Still, it’s a staggering achievement for Malaysian film-making, simply because it’s not just an arty indie-house flick, but the sort of flick that can entertain audiences at the Guangzhou Film Fest as much as at your local packed cineplex.

And that shows us, at least, that there is truly a balance between artistic direction and commercial viability. How’s that for an ironic lesson? Now if we could only get people to plonk down a tenner to watch a local movie.

What are you waiting for?

Sellout official movie site

Sellout Facebook Group


MintZhet said...

It was awesome! I watched it again and again!

chak said...

wow... you saw it already!?

cool... means there's still hope for the local industry. Was wondering if people had heard about it yet.

was the cinema packed?

MintZhet said...

Haha.. it was just the 3 of us.. they will be having a special screening this coming Saturday @ TGV KLCC along with crew and casts of the movie anyway.. I might wanna watch it again.. haha

~sTePh~ said...

I went to watch the movie alone, and there was only one other person in the cinema!!! But we laughed our butts off! Lovely!!

Damn, I wanna go watch with the crew n casts too!! I really need to watch this movie again and again too.

One critic got it right when he said "one week’s worth of laughter in 110 minutes". I was smiling and laughing and giggling the whole day from this!

chak said...

Don't BUT me! I hate people who BUT me!