The Red Kebaya
I watched the film yesterday with Ma Hen. Even though the film got sort of bad reviews (from some of local medias and friends), we enjoyed it.
The film is being promoted as if it is about the lady in the red kebaya, a 'joget' girl named Azizah. Just look at the posters and trailers being aired over the media. To me, however, Azizah (Vanida) is only a supporting character (and she did it well!). If you are expecting more from Vanida, you might be dissappointed as "Red Kebaya" is really not about Azizah. The film is really about Mr John Reynold (Bob). Why do I think so, there are few things that you should note.
Firstly, if the story is about Azizah, the audiences would be 'introduced' to her life instead of merely 'listening' it from Hoggy (Zahim) and herself. We were never introduced to her life when her husband left her when she was pregnant to join Chin Peng. And how she came to become a 'joget' girl. We never knew the hardship she faced as a divorcee (malay word 'janda') bringing up her son, Adik. Also failed to be depicted was how the community at that time (especially Malay community) persived 'joget' girls. Another interesting point is that, throughout the film, how Azizah felt towards John was not really 'shown', we merely take her words and gestures. Unlike John, who dreams of her in his waking hours. The Malay word would be 'angau' (a-ngau).
Instead, the audiences get to know John in a very 'intimate' ways. We saw how unhappy John is with his marriage. We saw how the wife refused him and treated him. His 'angau' with Azizah. We also saw his nightmare of having to kill a communist. We saw the communist whom he killed but never saw Azizah's husband and had to take her words that her husband had a scar (thus, not the communist that John killed). We also get to know how he is in person (i.e. kind hearted, 'lowly-paid' hardworking man, etc). He also is a hopelessly 'romantic' person. He cried when he declared his love to Azizah whereas Azizah didn't even shed a single drop of tear.
The film is somewhat different from other Malaysian film. The story lines. The cinematography. But then again, is it really a Malaysian film?