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2018 SDAFF Spring Showcase


The Convert

Directed by Yasmin Ahmad

Falling for Angels: the Films of Yasmin Ahmad / Malaysia / 2008 / drama / 80 mins / Cantonese, English, Malay with English subtitles


UltraStar Mission Valley
Sunday, Apr 22, 2018 3:10PM


Official Selection, 2008 Locarno Film Festival

Questions encircle sisters Rohani and Rohana. We know they’re new to town, possibly runaways, now living in a giant house the community thinks is haunted. Rohani, the elder, is Muslim but works at a pub. The young Rohana talks back at school, not through the usual juvenile sarcasm, but by citing verse numbers nobody can decode. Schoolteacher Brian, a lapsed Catholic, takes an interest in the sisters, lending a watchful eye that says as much about his own familial and religious anxieties as it does about the sisters’ plight from their recent traumas.

Befitting Yasmin Ahmad’s unique empathy, MUALLAF is at once tenderly religious and secularly political, and she holds both together urgently and benevolently with her signature brand of light humor and delicate sentimentalism. Hers are characters who can cite the Bible, the Quran, the Tao Te Ching, and Paul Simon all in the same quirky breath. They are ministers of unconditional friendship, even while they are ghosts of unseen violence, itinerant disciples who escape danger on light feet and shoulder the burden of forgiveness with heavy hearts.

Even more than with Yasmin’s other films, the Malaysian government didn’t know how quite to process MUALLAF, a dramedy with bookshelves of theology and the boozy stench of the underworld. Its approach to love across spiritual and ethnic borders cannot be reduced to the utopia of genre or the cozy liberalism of Malaysian multi-culturalism. Instead, the film invites us and the characters into a reflective kind of faith invigorated by difference, practiced as sisterhood, and fueled by the mightiest hope. –Brian Hu

Co-presented by: Women’s International Center24FPS @ UCSD

Director's Bio

2003: Rabun
2004: Sepet
2006: Gubra
2006: Mukhsin
2008: Muallaf
2009: Talentime


Producer: Rosnah Kassim
Writer: Yasmin Ahmad
Starring: Sharifah Aleysha, Sharifah Amani, Ning Baizura, Rahim Razali

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Dates & Times


UltraStar Mission Valley
Sunday, Apr 22, 2018 3:10PM