Thursday, March 24, 2005

Le Grand Prix du Jury.

The Jury's citations were announced in French throughout the evening.

Having hoped to win some small Audience Award, or Press Award, or some Special Mention, I saw all of those awards go to other films, one by one.

I was not in the least bit surprised, mind. They were mighty films. There was one from a Salvadorean American director who already had an Oscar nomination in her bag. One from China whose film was chosen to open last year's Venice Film Festival. There was a Sundance Film Festival winner somewhere. And a string of seriously good films which had already won big in their respective countries. From Brazil, Denmark, Spain, the United Kingdom, Russia, and even a joint production between Turkey, Germany, Greece and France. And amongst all these giants, was little 'Sepet' - a film partly shredded by the censorship board at home, and often shat upon by a couple of angry Melayus on Kakiseni.

My mind had already begun to wander off in all directions by then. I was resting my head on my husband's shoulder, and was yawning every 15 seconds...

Now if I had known a little bit more French than the smattering that I had picked up at university in England, I would have known that the Citation (the translation of which I later procured from the translator) went like this:

"The theme for this year's festival is 'Differences'. There was passionate debate leading up to the final decision of this year's winner, because the ten beautiful films competing had such diverse contents. However, the panel unanimously fell in love with the sensibility that went into the making of 'Sepet' - the originality, the humour, and the wonderful interpretation of the actors - and the sensitive approach that was taken to deliver its message that Love could overcome all Differences. 'Sepet' from Malaisie has come a long way to be with us here. May it go even further to the rest of the world."

I looked up questioningly to the head of the jury who was on stage. "Did she say 'Sepet'?" I muttered under my breath.

The director of the festival, Jackie Buet, was furiously beckoning me to get up on stage. As soon as I had reached them, I shouted above the thunder of the applause, "What did I win?!" "You won le Grand Prix du Jury!" replied Jackie. "Is that a good prize?" I enquired, like the kampung Muar idiot that I was. "It is the first prize, you crazy woman! Bravo!"

The rest, as they say, is sejarah. Alhamdulillah.

Amidst all that jubilation, I saw my mum and my dad waving like crazy from the audience. Mum was crying I think.