Directed by Yasmin Ahmad
Official Selection, 2009 Hong Kong International Film Festival
It’s talent show time at an Ipoh high school! The Chinese Kahoe puts pressure on himself to beat his Malay rival Hafiz. Melur keeps her auditions a secret from her ever-judgy family. And the handsome Mahesh, who can’t hear or speak, intuitively comprehends every heart-pounding note pouring out of Melur’s songs. “I’m falling for an angel,” she sings to him, her mouth pointed to his face across the room so he can read her lips. And so the stage is set for young love, family discord, needless jealousies, and the music that binds everyone together.
In Yasmin Ahmad’s most expansive film, TALENTIME follows the families of all four of the competitors. One finds comic detours around the prejudice that would plague most families. Another is haunted by tragedy. And one teems with such unfathomable good that its miracle feels fragile to the touch. Together, they are a chorus of affirmation, disappointment, humor, and tenderness that balance each other out to perfect dramatic harmony.
As in many of Yasmin’s films, the youth inherit so much of the inter-cultural mistrust of their parents, but luckily are too susceptible to friendship and love to make the same mistakes. In her majestic final bow as a feature filmmaker, Yasmin leaves her audience with a most hopeful farewell. The kids will be alright. We all will be. –Brian Hu
Producer: Ahmad Puad Onah
Writer: Yasmin Ahmad
Starring: Mahesh Jug al Kishor, Pamela Chong, Amelia Henderson, Kahoe Hon