Reversi

World Premiere | In Competition

 

Guest stars:
Adrian TEH, director
Beto KUSYAIRY, actor
Shiqin KAMAL, actress

 

What would you give to travel back in time? What regrets do you have, and what changes would you make? To most, such questions might seem like silly childhood games, but no one can deny they’re questions we’ve all asked ourselves before. Interestingly for Akid, these questions hit true. Akid looks like an ordinary 40-year-old man who works as a police negotiator, but there is a secret about him that not many know. Akid learns at the age of 18 that he can travel back in time thanks to a hereditary ability. Upon finding out this magical news, his father warns him of the consequences that will follow with using the power. Every time Akid returns, it will be at the expense of his lifespan. At first, the new-found ability seems to turn him into a superhero, until many years later when his wife and son get involved in a tragic accident and Akid is faced with the impossible mission to save them.

Time-travelling stories have always piqued our interest. It might be because they allow us to imagine the impossible. Through the characters in such stories, we’re able to envision and relive all the what-could’ve-beens. Such an ability might be considered a gift in foresight, but Akid learns to remain cautious after hearing his father’s warning. As a loveable and righteous protagonist, he never abuses his ability throughout his life. He considers in depth whether going back is the right thing to do, and when he does travel back, it’s to help the individuals in need of consolation. This in turn makes his choices valid and they’re seen as actions of humility. He’s helping others in exchange for his life.

But when his peaceful life flips upside down, Akid abuses his power, carving away at his own lifespan. Because of his good track record, we’re led to believe that his reckless action derives from his great love for his family. His desperation to save his wife and son deepens over the duration of the film, and in fact, each trip he makes becomes more unbearable to watch. It’s not just Akid’s lifespan that gets eaten away, but also hope.

Beto Kusyairy’s superb acting plays a crucial role in heightening the desperate situation while building the character’s personality. As his multiple attempts turn futile, Akid leaves the audience no choice but to feel sympathy. As his wise father once said, you can’t stop a flower from wilting and some things are fated to be. Having the power seems like a gift, but by the end, we realize it’s a curse. After living the impossible through Akid’s life, the bitter ending somehow comforts and persuades us that what’s in the past is the past and that moving on is the best solution.

Malaysian films have been hitting it off with FEFF audiences in recent years. Jin Ong’s Abang Adik (2023) was the first title in the history of the festival to win three major awards at once, and Teh’s The Assistant, a stylish action thriller, was screened at the festival in 2022 to much positive response. The Assistant coincidentally also tells the story of a man who loses his wife and child, but the two films of Teh’s are extremely different in nature. As a versatile and experienced filmmaker who ventured into all spectrums of film genres, he successfully tackles the fantasy domain with Reversi, further diversifying his already outstanding filmography.

June Kim
Film director: Adrian TEH
Year: 2024
Running time: 135'
Country: Malaysia
02/05 - 2:30 PM
Teatro Nuovo Giovanni da Udine
02-05-2024 14:30 01-05-2024 16:45Europe/Rome Reversi Far East Film Festival Teatro Nuovo Giovanni da UdineCEC Udine cec@cecudine.org

Photogallery