Tagline: One Chinese boy, one Malay girl, one unforgettable love story
Sepet is an old-fashioned theme of cross cultural love and the story is a common and modern one. SEPET follows the story of two youngsters, a young Malay Student called Orked (Sharifah Amani) and a Malaysian Chinese male called Jason (Choo Seong Ng). The film is set in Ipoh, Malaysia; Ipoh has one of the largest Chinese communities in Malaysia. You can tell the ethnic blend of the film via the number of languages involved, Bahasa, English, Mandarin, and Cantonese………..
From meeting in a market where Orked (A Malay) purchases her favourite film, Chung King Express, from Jason (Malaysian Chinese), love blossoms as well as the issues that stem from their different cultural backgrounds. As Sepet progresses, it shows that young love is the same the world over; unexpected, forgiving with many challenges to overcome with external pressures which are beyond the two main character’s control.
The main themes of the film are of course cross cultural love but the film also subtlety discusses Malaysian society as a whole. The main characters are metaphors for their own people’s and the way they conduct their relationship can be viewed as the way the two communities have interacted through the years. Despite its rich blend of ethnicities (Malay, Chinese and Indians), Malaysia has cultural and racial problems that are never too far from the surface. Malaysian government policies which seemingly favour the majority Bumiputras (Sons of the land or ethnic Malays) are a bone of contention for the minority Chinese and Indians.
The film’s focus is the love story but is also a love letter to the nation itself and its people’s many identities. It also allows viewers to learn more about the Malaysian Chinese community whom through the generations have come to call Malaysia home yet are still sometimes on the outside looking in. The film is sympathetic to all sides. Many Malaysian Chinese, Indians and Malays have moved to the US, Canada, UK and Australia to build new lives yet as with all immigrants, there is always a yearning for home and the feeling that if things improve, they could always return to assist in the development of Malaysia. Dreams are sometimes left as dreams in the face of reality………
Sepet is both touching and funny and highlights Malaysian society in a new light. It is highly recommended and just a good way to learn more about Malaysia.