I saw these two films a few months ago after returning from vacation in KL. I have to admit that I watched these whilst ironing my clothes, a house chore that has been severely relegated to once in a blue moon (kedut is in, yo), so take this attempt at a review with a pinch (or two) of salt. Not surprisingly, I enjoyed one thoroughly more than the other. However, the one I enjoyed more wasn’t the late Yasmin Ahmad’s Talentime but Bernard Chauly’s Pisau Cukur. Heh. Just waiting to be shot down this very minute.

I have seen all of Yasmin’s films bar two which made me realise there is a degree of predictability to her works. Her stories all revolve around relationships, familial or otherwise – may it be young love (Mukhsin) or one traversing racial boundaries (Sepet, Gubra). The same can be said in Talentime, which revolves around three different families conveniently representing the main races in our country, plus one family which has become a recurring component in her films – the ever so cool/open-minded Malay family with Harith Iskander as the dad who drives a Volvo 121 (or anything of a similar vintage).

I guess by the time I watched Talentime, I began to appreciate some of the points Jimbo was trying to put across, being one of the few detractors when all and sundry were singing praises. Yasmin is a good director and her films are breaths of fresh air, but in my opinion, whenever a subtle message (may it be about how not to be judgmental or it’s actually not haram to touch a dog) is put across in a scene from the film, you’ve got a feeling that you’ve got it the first time – from one of her earlier works.

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