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Genre: Drama
Starring: Kuan Choon Wai, Cheung Wing Hong, Liu Wai Hung, Yasmin Ahmad, Pete Teo, Chua Thien See, Lai Fooi Mun
Director: Ho Yuhang
Rating: PG
Year Made: 2006



Languages: Chinese/Cantonese
Subtitles: Chinese & English
Running Time: 1 hr 34 mins
Formate: VCD (2 Discs)
Distributor: Scorpio East




When 19-year old Tung -- a young Malaysian living with his aging mother in a town so small it seems little more than a wide spot along a jungle-shrouded road to somewhere else -- sets out to reconnect with his elder brother in the urban chaos of Kuala Lumpur, little does he realize that a journey of self-discovery into the conflicted realms of love, loyalty and loss lies directly up ahead. Guileless and overconfident, young Tung soon finds himself drawn ever-deeper into a world where deceit, treachery, sudden violence, and irrevocable loss are the only certainties -- and where the only lesson to be gleaned from his sudden coming of age is just how difficult adulthood can make it for any of us to ever go home again.


What a shame: despite being strongly supported by Andy Lau, Focus First Cuts did not really take off here. The project which involved Asian filmmakers to produce feature films shot in High Definition was launched last year to discover and nurture new talents in the industry.

Alas, the initiative met mixed reactions with arthouse pictures like Kelvin Tong’s Love Story and Robin Lee’s The Shoe Fairy. And now we have Malysian director Ho Yuhang’s contribution, which was on limited run on the big screens earlier this year.

Sure, like the other films, this one may not be your more entertaining mainstream movie, but it does get extra points for sincerity. In one summarized line, the 92-minute movie tells a simple story of a Malaysian teenager who takes a journey and realizes what growing up is all about.

The plot may not sound too exciting, but there is something about seeing familiar objects like the ringgit dollar, the old-school scooter and the rustic buildings and basketball courts on screen which make us feel nostalgic all over. What’s more, you get to hear some heavily-accented Malaysian Mandarin spoken by the characters. That definitely helps us Singaporeans connect to the film more.

What may turn the ordinary viewers off has to be the “Hou Hsiao-hsien pace” of things. The extremely long takes, the limited close-up shots, the minimal dialogue and music underscore – these may not be everyone’s cup of tea.

A check with the credits indicates that the film editor is Liao Ching-Song, who has served on many of Hou’s works including Flowers of Shanghai (1998), Café Lumiere (2003) and Three Times (2005).

It’s no wonder why we are left with tons of time to contemplate about the shot composition, feeling distanced from the protagonists and appreciating the pleasing palette of colours used for the shots.

That isn’t a bad thing - if only more people would give films like this a chance.


Review by John Li


Other titles from Scorpio East:

. Heavenly Mission

. Diary

. Fatal Contact

. Rob-B-Hood

. On The Edge

. The World's Fastest Indian

. Dragon Tiger Gate

. Unarmed Combat

. Crazy Stone

. Election 2

. We Are Family

. I Not Stupid Too

. The Shoe Fairy

. 2 Becomes 1

. 49 Days


. Dragon Eye Congee

. A Chinese Tall Story

. Perhaps Love


. Election

. The Myth

. Wait 'Til You're Older

. The Maid



This review is made possible with the kind support from Scorpio East

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