Magazine article Screen International

Yasmine

Magazine article Screen International

Yasmine

Article excerpt

Dir: Siti Kamaluddin. Brunei. 2014. 90mins

Much of Yasmine may well be very familiar to those who have seen family-orientated martial arts films (or any of the Karate Kid films for that matter), but what makes Yasmine stand out is that it is one of the first films to emerge from Brunei, offering a rare glimpse into the culture of a country rarely seen on film. The fact that it is about a teen girl learning the martial art of silat - which has been given much profile thanks to Gareth Evans' The Raid films - could also help pique interest.

The film's real find is the vibrant Liyana Yus, whose personality goes a long way to carrying the film.

It is only the second commercially produced feature film to come from the South-East Asian sovereign state, and while it offers nothing original in terms of story or direction, it is given a feisty heart thanks to the charming lead performance by Liyana Yus, while the fact that action scenes are directed by regular Jackie Chan collaborator Chan Man Ching from Hong Kong will mean it could well be taken a little more seriously by film fight fans. The film screened at the PiFan and Fantasia Film Festivals.

In truth it owes much to the Karate Kid films (with a little old-fashioned high school coming-of-age schtick for good measure) as it follows the misadventures of sweet-natured and irrepressibly enthusiastic Yasmine (Yus). She had been happily planning high school with her friends (matching jackets etc), but her father Fahri (Reza Rahadian) tells her he can't afford the school she wants to go and enrolls her in a modest but strict Muslim school where her red headscarf means she rather stands out.

She joins the school's rather inept silat after-school class with loner Ali (Roy Songkono) and chunky Nadiah (Nadiah Wahid), who just wants to lose weight. But this is against the wishes of her father and he signs her up with after school Koran classes. …

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