Malaysia had only one excellent film-maker. Only one. No diplomacy from me this time, I am going to be blatantly honest. That is as much as I could give to Yasmin Ahmad as she passed away yesterday night. Of course, the country does have few more credible film-makers, but if any of our film-makers were going to travel abroad to larger and more demanding film industries and make their cut there, the only person who will make that cut is Yasmin. Hollywood calling? She could even manage that pressure. Thats how good she was.
Yasmin epitomized and easily revolutionized the Malaysian cinema scene in a way no other film maker has done before locally. She epitomized the spirit of essential Malaysian cinema and threw out of the window the idea of a secular Malay, Tamil or Chinese film, which had been the trend up to then. She was someone to look up to. Yasmin was something special not just for her films but she was indeed an inspiration for bidding Malaysian movie makers like me; because she proved that all is not lost in Malaysian cinema, that the industry is not as crappy as people make it out to be, that despite the limited resources, you could still make a world-class film (e.g. Sepet, Gubra, Muallaf).
Any person who has studied films and worth their salt in this industry and knows quality when he/she sees one would readily admit that Yasmin possesed qualities that would impress not only in Malaysia, but qualities but would take Malaysian cinema to larger global canvas, something that other film-makers in this country have dired to achieve. One breeze through the amount of international awards her films have won are a great proof about her abilities.
Malaysia has lost its finest film-maker. How will the industry cope with this?
Yasmin wasn’t only a fine film-maker, her life had its own story to tell. Many have judged her for changing her gender by choice, but she took all that criticism on her stride and kept going. Today, she is fondly remembered for the fine female film-maker that she was, and she has indeed travelled a long way in order to achieve that. A true inspiration for fighting against the odds and setting the trend.
But nevertheless, I am still saddened with the fact that many Malaysians are still ignorant about who Yasmin Ahmad was. Any Malaysian who do watch movies regularly, of any industry at all, should mourn the loss of this piece of jewel which was atop the Malaysian film industry frame. You deserved more appreciation that you received, Yasmin.
This is a funeral commercial directed by Yasmin, what I perceive to be her best commercial work, and nothing fits more than this video to pay tribute to her departure.
Thanks for everything.
Yasmin Ahmad (1958-2009)