Winning team: (back row) Petronas external communication general manager Mohd Fitri Mydin, strategic communications division general manager Mohd Suhaimy Kamaruddin and film director Quek Shio Chuan posing for pictures with Young Hearts cast members (front row from left) Lim Ee Yoke, Lion Chong Bao Quan, Marisa Lim Cai Xuan and Ooi Gaik Lan.
KUALA LUMPUR: Touching and thought-provoking, Petronas’ latest web film Young Hearts is a roaring hit with Malaysians, garnering over 300,000 views within two days.
The film kicks off with a seemingly straightforward narrative of two children who are full of excitement on the eve of Chinese New Year, when families get together for the traditional reunion dinner.
The boy and girl cycle to town at the break of dawn and have a wonderful time preparing for the celebrations, including collecting a cheongsam for the girl and getting a haircut and a shave for the boy.
A nod to the Year of the Wooden Horse is given in a scene where they decide to buy a little wooden toy horse, while mandarin oranges, lion dance costumes and traditional red lanterns provide a festive air.
Malaysian elements are peppered throughout the film, with trishaw riders, an ice kacang and cendol vendor and an Indian barber shop.
Meanwhile, back home, the film shows the rest of the family hanging up Chinese New Year decorations and cooking up a storm for the important dinner.
The film, lasting around three and a half minutes, draws near to the end with the boy being forced to push their bicycle home after the bicycle chain snaps, while the girl lags behind.
When they finally reach home, they are still full of energy and enthusiasm.
The twist in the film comes when the boy and girl “transform” into an elderly couple, with the grandmother presenting the cheongsam to her granddaughter and the grandfather giving the wooden toy horse to his grandson.
As the family celebrates being together, the words, “Reflect on Yesterday. Live for Today. Hope for Tomorrow” appears on the screen as the film ends.
YouTube user Yee Suan Poo commented that the film reflects how young children often eagerly anticipate Chinese New Year but lose the feeling as they grow older.
“Therefore, the actions of the young couple are just a portrayal of the old couple’s young hearts, not a flashback to the old days when they were young,” she explained to some other viewers who were confused by the sudden twist.
Another viewer, Ailisa Essaid, said the young boy and girl had acted convincingly while the background music was a perfect soundtrack for the film.
“I love the scene. I pray I can get to an old age with my husband, being romantic and silly,” she said.
Petronas strategic communications division senior general manager Norliza Kamaruddin said the film was a great narrative to inspire Malaysians to hold true to their values and appreciate their rich culture and the importance of family ties.
“Through this film, we hope to convey a story that reminds us all to look at life with the same youthful enthusiasm and a sense of hope,” she said at the film’s launch on Thursday in a speech read by the division’s general manager Mohd Suhaimy Kamaruddin.
Norliza said Petronas would also be reaching out to the less privileged this Chinese New Year through its signature Sentuhan Kasih community programme.
She said a fund-raising campaign had been organised for Petronas staff and the proceeds would go to the National Kidney Foundation.
Blogger Audrey Ooi, of the website Four Feet Nine, said the film was “very well done”, adding that the theme touched her heart.
“Sometimes, people get caught up with everyday life and forget how to be a kid again. Petronas films are always very meaningful. They’re about love and family,” she said.
Besides the web film, two short versions of the film have begun airing as television commercials.
> Petronas developed Young Hearts in collaboration with Leo Burnett Malaysia and Reservoir Production, and the film can be viewed on Petronas’ official YouTube channel http://www.youtube.com/user/PETRONASOfficial.