Mentega Terbang – A Eye-Opening Contemplation About What’s Life After Death [Review]
Mentega Terbang is a fresh, local indie film with a stellar cast and top notch writing that will keep you thinking long after you leave the screening hall.
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No one truly understands the long quiet days after the passing of a loved one, and it’s not something that’s explainable to another person who has not gone through it themselves.
As someone who has experienced this, I could relate to the main character Aisyah (beautifully played by 16-year-old Syuma Salihin) in the local film Mentega Terbang.
Mentega Terbang is an indie film directed by Khairi Anwar and produced by Tan Meng Kheng. The film is written by Khairi Anwar, Arjun Thanaraju, Visshnu Varman and Ti Teng-Hui.
The film received praise from international audiences at the Jogja-NETPAC Asian Film Festival on 28 November 2021.
Unfortunately, this amazing film is only available in closed screenings.
It’s not available in our local cinemas because it has not received approval from the Film Censorship Board of Malaysia (LPF) for its sensitive content.
What’s the film about?
Aisyah, a high schooler, has a special project with her parents. Every night during dinner, they would discuss what’s life after death like for every major religion known in the world.
Some religions believe in the existence of a Heaven and Hell, while some religions believe in reincarnation.
This educational and contemplative family project indirectly served as a way for Aisyah to prepare for her mother’s impending death, who’s suffering from pancreatic cancer.
For Aisyah, it’s an important research to prolong her mother’s presence with her.
What I loved about the film?
The casting and the writing of the film were stellar. Each actor played their characters well and it felt very organic, like we were living in the same neighbourhood too.
I loved how Aisyah’s parents encouraged her to learn about other religions and how the family could hold productive discussions together (kudos to the scriptwriters!).
She was also fortunate to have a friend like Suresh (played by Arjun Thanaraju) and an aunt like Auntie Esther (played by Shymala Kandapper) who were open to guiding her.
The conversations she had were similar to the conversations my friends and I have whenever we get bored, and we learn new things about ourselves and the world each time.
The film also had its humorous and light moments to balance out the heavier topics.
One of the standout characters was the humorous Uncle Kasim (played by Khairunazwan Rodzy) simply because he embodied all the nosy and holier-than-thou aunties and uncles we know.
Watch or skip?
Should you watch this film (if you get to)? The film is definitely a good watch and it’s a film I would watch more than once.
That said, the film may not sit well with some people who are not ready for the topics covered in the movie.
Watch with an open and curious mind, and you’ll learn much more about living in a multiracial and multicultural world.
Mentega Terbang is bilingual. It’s in English with some dialogues in Bahasa Malaysia.
It’ll be showing until 19 December 2021. Check the list of private screening dates here.
Mentega Terbang will be showing on Viu from 19 January 2023 onwards.
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