Jamaliah is my alter ego. I used her as my main character and I was the supporting role. No one could better fit the role of that alter ego other than my real mom lol
My idea is to portray this character as someone systematic, in-charge, confident, within her role as being a domesticated housewife. A little about this character – my mother works full time in a hospital, raised 5 kids, oldest among her siblings and has been with her husband for almost 3 decades. Hence, my mother’s upbringing and her overall mindset best fit the lter ego character.
The movie “Ilo Ilo” was my first Asian movie I’ve ever watched. I really liked how the character of the Mother, happens to be domesticated by her household duties at home, but yet she’s the leader of the pack. From the way she always outs her hands on her hips, her stern voice, her stoic nature, her talking down on her husband after he lost his job and etc etc. It resembled the traits of my alter ego, so that was interesting.
As much as she’s known to be bossy and likes to snap the wits out her own husband,son and maid, it was most likely her way of dealing with them. And I thought I tried to incorporate that in a subtle way through “Jamaliah”, the alter ego.
Potential character: Mother
Dress: Baju Batik ( Batik dress)
– Pounding sounds of stone mortar, batu lesung
– Baju batik
– Hand motions
– Sounds of sizzling oil on wok
– Close up shots of eyes
– Naj asks to help out with wok
– Naj pounding of batu lesung
– Mother pushes hand away and pounds ( transition from my hand-mama’s hand)
“Da ma nak gi kerje skrg malam, nanti da lambat ni. Tolong mama tutup srika dgn gas”.
Translation: ” Ok, I need to leave for night shift. I’m gonna be late. Help me switch off iron and turn off gas”
– Give Salam, “Bye”
– Mama closes door and gas pipe
– Washes batu lesung and carries it
Speed: Fast motion
The one above was my initial plan. But I was short of time and manpower. The lead actor was also working full time so it was necessary to do things as fast as possible. So instead, I just filmed scenes in kitchen.
I named the clip “Batu Lesung“. It means stone mortar in Malay. It’s seomthing you use to pound little ingredients like garlic, anchovies and onions together before you stir fry them. Nowadays, modern people use the eletric blender but there’s something special about this “batu lesung”. It best describes the character , from the concrete material, it’s heaviness, the sound it makes, and its function in today’s modern day living.