The movie was the brainchild of Ah Niu (Tan Kheng Seong), who probably put all his wealth and resources into the movie as he wrote, acted and directed the film.
The cast was a veritable list of Malaysian singers who made it big in Taiwan, Singapore, HK and Malaysia. For a Malaysian singing in Chinese, you had to break through the Taiwan market first before even gaining acceptance in Malaysia and Singapore. Taiwanese are so open to genuine talent.
He managed to rope in the combustible Gary Chaw, the "prodigal" Eric Moo (who still insists he is Singaporean when he grew up in Kampar), the likable Victor Wong, the very charming Fish Leong, and of course the delectable Lee Sinje. There were even cameos by Penny Tai, Nicholas Teo.
Amazingly, the cast acted extremely well and natural. There were some "over" by Gary and Eric, but still pretty good.
The storyline is nostalgic, the lensing was 110% beautiful, it lovingly captures the images. Its a very Malaysian story, I heard that many of the audience were multi racial and they enjoyed the film just as much. Despite the numerous cast members, the story unfleshed itself very well, you felt for each individual character, their persuasions, their fears and motivations.
The story was set in a small town near Ipoh and later in Penang, capturing the small town feeling of old. Veteran actor Angela Chan and Chan Kwok Kwan were splendid.
Its 1 hour 45 minutes but you will be engrossed by the movie. Thankfully the movie did very well in local theatres grossing RM4m before meeting even greater success in Taiwan and Singapore.
I think Ah Niu has deep film making talent. I am glad he risked it all and got more than that in return. You should go and buy the DVD (not the pirated ones please) and you will be pleasantly surprised.
Its bittersweet, its web of relations were genuine and sincere in execution even though its more of a coming of age movie. The film's pacing, framing and story telling were superb. It is top class because there is a tendency to be too explicit, the film was restrained to allow for the audience to reflect and feel with the characters.
Unfortunately the movie will not enjoy entertainment tax rebate as it has been classified as a foreign movie. OMG!!! The reasoning given was that it does not meet the criteria for a 20% rebate as less than 60% of the movie script was in Bahasa Malaysia. The Federation of Chinese Associations of Malaysia president Tan Sri Pheng Yin Huah as saying that the Treasury Department should waive the tax. Sigh ...
Anyways, its a brilliant effort! Don't let the film title put you off, it will be the best movie you have watched in a long while.