- List of Awards
TOKYO INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL (OCTOBER 2005)-
Best Asian Film Award
18™ MALAYSIA FILM FESTIVAL (JULY 2005)
Best Film - Sepet
2. Best Supporting Actress – Ida Nerina
3. Most Promising Actress – Sharifah Amani Yahya
4. Most Promising Actor – Ng Choo Seong
5. Best Poster - Sepet
6. Best Original Story – Yasmin Ahmad
Official Selection THE BARCELONA ASIAN FILM FESTIVAL (2005)
Official Selection THE 48th SAN FRANCISCO INTERNATIONAL FILM
Director: Yasmin Ahmad
Starring: Sharifah Amani Yahya, Adlin Aman
Ramlie, Ida Nerina Hussein, Harith Iskander Musa, Adibah Noor,
Alan Yun, Nam Ron, Noorkhiriah Ahmad Shafie, Roziwati Mohd
Released By: GV & Lighthouse Pictures
Day: 2 March 2006
[Anxiety] tells a story of love and forgiveness, its possibilities
and the hopes it brings. Essentially there are two stories
which parallel each other, the first is the continuation of
Orked’s (Sepet’s protagonist) life while the second
tells the story of a muezzin; Pak Bilal Li and his efforts
to assist two prostitutes in finding redemption for themselves
and their families.
years after Jason/Ah Loong (Ng Choo Seong), Orked (Sharifah
Amani Al-Yahya) is now married to a much older guy, Arif (Adlin
Aman Ramlie). Everything seems ideal in their marriage at
first glance; Arif loves Orked to bits and theirs seem like
a match made in heaven.
morning, Orked is awakened by a distressing phone call from
Mak Inom (Ida Nerina Hussain) with news that Pak Atan (Harith
Iskander Musa) has become catatonic due to diabetic complications.
Orked rushes to her parents’ house, to find Pak Atan
unresponsive and ill; Mak Inom and Annuar the family driver
are hysterical. Kak Yam (Adibah Noor), the family maid however
is rather calm and collected. After some chaos, they take
Pak Atan to the hospital. There, Orked bumps into Alan (Alan
Yun), Jason’s elder brother. His father, Pa (Thor Kah
Hoong) has also been hospitalized. As the film develops, we
witness the friendship between Alan and Orked flourish, to
Arif’s apprehension. Perhaps because for Orked, Alan
is a link to her first love.
the film we are also introduced to another ‘family’.
The muezzin or Pak Bilal (Shahili Abdan aka Namron) heads
an institution of sorts; consisting of his wife, Kak Maz,
their 7 year-old child, two prostitutes, Temah and Kiah (Juliana
Ibrahim), as well as Temah’s son, Shahrin and a mysterious
gambler named Ki, played here by Khir Rahman.
is portrayed as a non-judgmental and religious man whose way
of ‘preaching’ is most unconventional. A family
man, Pak Bilal chooses to surround himself in a community
that seems lost, and lacking in hope, love and trust. They’re
vivacity in this film is in direct opposite from Orked’s
thus the audience is invited to observe the diversity between
the two sets.
then unfolds into a web of deceit and heartbreak. Orked finds
out that her husband has been cheating on her; Temah’s
is diagnosed with a serious illness, Ki meets his illegitimate
son under dismaying circumstances. Kak Yam falls for a hospital
attendant named Pengki, to Annuar’s dismay, whilst taking
care of Pak Atan in the ward and Kiah, the young prostitute
is killed accidentally.
Yasmin has chosen to compare a conventional and rather stable
family, which is forced to adapt to recent and surprising
issues; with the unconventional and improvised group that
makes up Pak Bilal’s family of sorts. Who are continually
being challenged by the adversities in life. The dramas of
these events and the difference in approach as portrayed by
these two groups in adapting and overcoming these very real
trials is what makes Gubra an entertaining multi-layered examination
of human behavior and social perception.
In the Malay language, the word Gubra is used to describe
the feeling of anxiety. The same word could probably be used
to describe the anticipation and pressure the release of the
film might have on those involved. Afterall, its predecessor,
Sepet, a Malaysian film that did not seem to fit the mould
of its peers had managed to garner critical acclaim at international
festivals. The marvel in question, who probably has a cult
following of her own after Sepet, is none other than Yasmin
this outing, Yasmin has chosen to reunite with the bulk of
her original cast which includes the leading lady, Sharifah
Amani, Harith Iskandar, Ida Nerina and Adibah Noor to name
a few. Joining the gang are also the multi-talented Adlin
Aman Ramlie and model, Alan Yun.
anyone has any preconceived notions that Gubra will be just
as light to watch as Sepet was, please leave them at the door.
Unlike Sepet, Gubra has two concurrent stories. The first
revolves around Orked’s family seven years after Jason
and the second is about a muezzin and his tiny village community.
Gubra is about love, hurt and forgiveness, all of which are
represented by the two different “families”.
Orked’s tale, she has presumably gotten over Jason and
married an older man, Arif. Her family’s world is then
rocked upside down when her father, Pak Atan takes ill and
has to be hospitalized. At the hospital, she stumbles upon
Alan, Jason’s elder brother, whose father is also in
the hospital. Catching up with old times, they form an unlikely
friendship. At the same time, Arif himself is seeing someone
else much to Orked’s chagrin.
for the second story, the muezzin, Pak Bilal, leads his community
which consists two prostitutes, Kiah, who is constantly abused
by her regular customer and Temah, whose son has just started
Primary One and suffering from an incurable illness.
both stories could have been stand alone ones, their combination
brings out what probably is Yasmin Ahmad’s wicked sense
of humour. Tragedy and comedy are brilliantly interwoven that
it often appears to be a marriage of convenience. In doing
so, Yasmin Ahmad forces our mind and heart to debate whether
to laugh or to sympathize what is happening. A fine example
would be the scene where Orked’s family is taking Pak
Atan to the hospital.
in doing so, Yasmin has also depicted irony in its finest
form that you would be left powerless in not knowing whether
to gawk or to smile. This is very apparent from the beginning
of the film when the muezzin is on his way to the mosque to
begin his work and he passes the two prostitutes who are on
their way home after a hard day’s night.
Yasmin Ahmad is not only a storyteller, she is also a poet.
Should you be searching for a film that would best represent
poetry, look no further than any of Yasmin’s films.
Look out for hushed moments and little nuances that lift the
film in more ways than one. Sometimes it’s in the tiny
things our hands do, the way our eyes look at different people
or even the most menial of things like signage or posters
that can touch the strings of our heart and snap them into
there are two parallel stories, there are smaller tales of
love which join each other in making Gubra like a comforting
quilt. Sure, there would be those who feel that Yasmin’s
attempt to piece these stories together to be a confusing
one because sometimes we are the biggest cynics of our own
love life that we cannot look beyond others’.
Gubra starts off lightly, it slowly deteriorates into a web
of every human emotion imaginable. It will make you laugh
as it will make you cry when you realize that sometimes, we
are all not that different afterall.
Do not leave the theatre until the credits have rolled. You
will not regret it.
by Mohamad Shaifulbahri