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Friday, December 08, 2006

Love me do


The universal theme of mankind.

They say love is blind. Love knows no borders. Love kills.

Cinta is love.
And how I loved Cinta.

Local movies was the Flavour of the Week last week when I watched The Red Kebaya and Cinta on back-to-back weekends. You might forgive me for The Red Kebaya but in Cinta, you will be caught surprised.

Before anyone of you give me the eyebrow, Cinta is not your usual Malay soppy romance movie. Even though it has its corny moments, all would be forgotten by the time you leave the cinema.

I went into the cinema not expecting much. Okay, another Malay movie. The promotion was grand. People were talking about it for weeks. Let's see what the fuss is all about. Ho-hum.

And how surprised I was from the first few minutes alone.

Cinta is a great movie. Tough words for a local production. At the hands of Kabir Bhatia..who you ask? You tell me. The first thing I asked when his name appeared in the credits. A short Google on him revealed a guy familiar with the Idaman series and few other local productions. How come I've never heard of this guy before? He's bloody good I tell ya.

Why? Because Cinta is a great watch. This is the second time I'm saying this so that must mean something. It tells the story of 10 strangers in the city of Kuala Lumpur and their lives somehow interweaves and binds through the power of love. There are five main stories and each story is different and unique from each other. Something like Love, Actually. A local version if you want to put it.

But that doesn't spoil the story of Cinta. Set against the backdrop of Kuala Lumpur, it's a joy to watch familiar places like Kg. Abdullah Hukum and Kg. Baru getting the spotlight. Yes, the Two Towers is of course there, but getting a glimpse of the KL rarely seen by others is a delight. One thing I'm sure people will praise about Cinta is its cinematography. Superb. It's like watching a dozen commercials all rolled into one.

With something so pleasing to the eye, the story was also pleasing to the heart. I especially liked the story of Haris (Rashidi Ishak), an architect who's deeply in love with his wife, Airin (Rita Rudaini) and his daughter Liss. My other favourite would be of Cikgu Elyas (played majestically by Rahim Razali) and the makcik kedai he befriends, Rubiah (Fatimah Abu Bakar).

I won't give away any spoilers but let me just say these two stories were greatly written and that I loved the endings to both of them. Knowing me, you would know that it's not your typical romantic endings.

What caught me by surprised the most about Cinta is the way the story is told. It's so different from your normal Malay works. Each scene is a beauty and you'll be touched by the stories told. I personally enjoyed it when Airin reads the notes and drawings Haris made for her. Very cute and very touching, especially his final words to her. How true is that.

And the interaction between Rubiah and Cikgu Elyas is also romantic in its own special way. Love is not about kissing and hugging alone you know.

But Cinta is not entirely perfect. There were times you felt that it had too much of a Western influence with the romantic dinners and the proposal in the train. Like, that's so Notting Hill. (or was it another film where he proposes in front of strangers)

I thought Sharifah Amani was still her Orked self. The happy-go-lucky innocent girl role. She needs to grow out of that role if she wants to be taken seriously in the industry.

But other than that, there's no major complaints about Cinta. Easily the best local movie this year. It's got Best Film FFM written all over it. And dare I say, the best local movie I've seen so far post-P. Ramlee days. Better than Sepet. Maybe not better in terms of content, but better film as a whole.

If you've never watched a local movie at the cinema ever in your life, this movie should be your first. Forget the Proffessor. Forget the Million Dollar Man. Forget Erra Fazira. See for yourself. It's not groundbraking or controversial in any way. It's just enjoyable. The way movies should be. Just a great way to spend your Saturday afternoon.

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