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Friday, April 18, 2008

Review of KURUS (aka DAYS OF THE TURQUOISE SKY) by Yeo Kien Kiong

Carmen Soo

I recently received a nice film review of the telemovie KURUS (known overseas as DAYS OF THE TURQUOISE SKY) from animator Yeo Kien Kiong (no relation), who saw the film at the recent Hong Kong Film Festival:

“Kurus” is generally meant by “thin”, a word that denotes one’s slim physical figure. In Malaysia (and most probably everywhere else in the world where “popular” physical attraction is concerned), those who are not “kurus” are immediately stereotyped as ugly, lazy and unhealthy. In the eyes of social norm, especially the “non-educated”, these people are often considered as outcasts. It is stereotypically humiliating as both ends of “Kurus” and “Gemuk” ( fat in Malaysian language ) being judged with merits and faults.

Some of the notable scenes in the film include the conversation between Eli and his friend, Iqa at an abandoned shack ( crude actions applied ), where his friend’s desire to become “Kurus” and had a thought where she is stung by a bee and her figure slimmed, only to turn back into “normal” after the stinging effects is gone. Although both characters are portrayed as reckless authoritarians in the world of teens, they demand attention and in need to get into the norm. Thus, same goes to Ali and his friends, each has their own vulnerabilities even though they are considered “Kurus”. All characters portrayed in this film invoke a certain study of parallelism, where both the rich and poor, naughty and nice stood side by side.

I liked this film; maybe it’s because of the sense of balance, a story that leads to move questions to be answered. But the most important of, this film created an atmosphere of rural mundaneness, but with undercurrents of near convulsions in every corner for each character to venture into the unknown.

Personally, like in other film festivals, I can’t say much about the screening of digitally made films because, at times the brightness and contrast that are produced by the projector is somehow quite challenging. As I sat the near end of the upper audience stage nearby the exit, I find that the audio projection is adequate and quite comfortable despite of audience whispering at times throughout the film. It is not a “bad” thing because audience responses are critical of ones team’s creation. Whispers and awe of audiences around me during the film showing indicated the need to know more about different cultural perspectives and the surprises that has installed for them.

For me, the motion picture is set up in such a way that it is photogenic in many ways from uses of colors as well as visual orientation such as: a loan shark pulling out a substance from the plastic bag to, Ali giving Carol a ride home only to be tailed by the red car from behind. Thus, cinematography in this film is interesting and thought provoking.

I don’t know if this is a downside for me to criticize films. Always have the tendency to search for unifying themes. After reflecting upon the film, I felt that the unify theme is more towards Buddhist teachings in general. I guess identifying the spirituality and emotional life of characters are important in any films despite of how silly or violent they can be.
Thanks, Kien Kiong. Glad you enjoyed the film.

Related Links:
There are many KURUS-related posts in this blog, just do a site search if you guys are interested!

Trailer 1

Trailer 2