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Monthly Archives: December 2004

This!

 
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Posted by on 12/30/2004 in Bahasa Indonesia

 

One. Some.



Kamu!



Ya, kamu!



Yang liat dan baca tulisan ini!



Kamu yang harusnya disini,

buat aku meraung-raung

di tengah segala penat, lelah, kesal dan …



Semua kebutekan dan kesumpekan yang udah memuncak!



Kapan kamu pernah hadir?



Capek dan bosan

Tiap malam hanya bantal guling empuk itu

Yang jadi sasaran tinjuku



Sesekali mau yang hidup layaknya kamu

Biar bisa kuucek-ucek rambut hitam itu

Sekedar kukecup kening dan pelipis

Melingkarkan tanganmu untuk mendekapku

Agar ketika ku terjaga dari mimpi-mimpi buruk itu

Ada kamu yang mengusap dan mengajak tidur lagi …



Dimana aku bisa ikut menangis melihat Aceh porak poranda

Dimana kamu bisa dengan semena-mena meminta

Agar aku gak pecicilan

Atau keganjenan



Emang pernah?!



I wish!



Kumaki, kucaci

Kutinju, kupeluk

Kudekap, kucium

Kucuekin, kutelpon

Kusuapin, kubiarin nunggu.



Aku egois.

— a season has walked on by / yet your shadow remains / traceable in every sense / to survive is to remember / that facial thing / linking all my pains —


 
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Posted by on 12/30/2004 in Bahasa Indonesia

 

Let’s Write!



Alhamdulillah buat para inventor blog ini, karena bisa cuap-cuap di tengah keramaian dunia maya.

Mau didengerin atau ngga, itu urusan belakangan, karena yang penting dengerin kata hati dulu tho?!

Tapi kalo kata hati berasa mati, apa yang mau ditulis?

Dan inilah yang menjadi kendala salah seorang blogger yang ngga mau disebutin nama dan blognya, karena ingin merahasiakan identitasnya sebagai seorang Batak asli Jakarta yang lancar ngomong bahasa Sunda dan lagi terpukau melihat kebohay-an dan kelumay-an aset tubuh beberapa rekan kerjanya yang selalu membuat dirinya tersenyum mesum di tengah siap-siap meeting (!!!), dimana dia ngerasa sudah mati hati ngga ada intuisi buat maenin keyboard sekedar orat-oret beberapa kata di papan putih blogspotnya.



Nah, padahal dari situ udah ada kan bahan tulisan yang bisa diumbar dan diungkapkan, sampe kadang di tengah hectic atmosphere of work namun pasang MSN Messenger masih jadi kewajiban ini perlu dikasih hint bahwa:

+ Lah, ini elo lagi ngobrol ama gue, elo kan MENULIS

– Tapi kan ngga sama, Pal

+ Haduh, elo cut paste aja lah omongan kita!

– Tetep laen rasanya



Untunglah dia udah mulai bangkit dari mati suri, apalagi Natal ini dia pulang ke ranah tempat sanak saudaranya di bilangan Jakarta Pusat, pasti banyak cerita, kalaupun ngga banyak, paling ngga saya akan tetep diem, apalagi kalo udah disogok pake setoples bawang goreng.



Bahkan Acay yang seatap rumah dengan saya pun sampai perlu nulis kuburan sendiri di blognya, kematian menulisnya sampe perlu dikeramatkan karena kematian menulisnya berarti sama matinya dengan tidak ada bacotan Jawa yang menghiasi indra pendengaran saya tiap harinya sambil rebutan jatah nyuci, tempat jemuran, giliran mandi …



Apa yang bikin kita susah nulis?



“Ngga ada bakat”.



Oh ya? Rasanya koq susah diterima akal, apalagi buat para kaum urban yang notabene menghabiskan waktu di tempat kerja, apapun itu, dengan menulis memo atau email yang berhubungan dengan kerjaan, mencatat pesanan, rumpi-rumpi berbumbu diskusi dan gosip di Yahoo Messenger, maupun sekedar nulis SMS buat janjian ketemu atau selingkuh.

Bukankah blog ini adalah lahan lapang punya kita dimana tempat kita bebas menuliskan apa pun yang kita mau? Apa pun itu, sampe ucapan terima kasih atas penulisan skripsi di blognya Barrie yang membuat saya pengen membujuk dia buat nulisin satu skripsi di blognya, lha wong saya ga pernah ngerasain nulis skripsi itu gimana!



“Ngga ada waktu”



Maklum lah kalo yang ini, kadang waktu 24 jam itu pengennya diulur jadi 26, 28, 30 … alah, ngga pernah puas ntar!Apalagi dengan gaya hidup orang kota seperti saya yang pulang kantor jarang sekali langsung pulang ke rumah kalo ngga inget ada utang setrikaan seminggu ato utang nonton DVD yang musti dikembaliin ke Esplanade Library kalo ngga mau kena denda $1/ hari.



Atau mungkin kesibukan kerja yang mengharuskan kerja romusha (in disguise lho!) seperti mas Rio yang sering dikira orang mirip anggota F4 walopun jiwa Soneta Group ini.

Sambil mencuri-curi waktu di tengah kerjaan numpuk, beberapa kali terungkap di tengah curhatan panjangnya (curhat panjang, sodara-sodara, ngakunya kerja! hihihihi) kalo dia udah punya banyak ide tulisan yang mau dia publikasiin di blognya yang jadi arena ngumpul sejuta umat bloggers di dunia ini, layaknya juga blog mas Wisa yang lebih terkenal sebagai tempat chatting daripada update-an postingan, sampe dia perlu ngerasa nutup si blog buat sementara waktu!



Tapi rasanya waktu pun menjadi sesuatu yang perlu dipertanyakan, setelah kemarin sore, dalam suatu kesempatan langka nan ajaib, ada user manggil saya di YM dengan nick Ve, si manusia sibuk di dunia perfilman, dimana pas saya buka blognya, oh la la! Sejuta postingan baru yang mempertegas daya kreatifnya, semuanya bukan tulisan sembarangan, namun udah ngelewatin proses mikir cukup dalem kayanya (kaya’nya lho, Ve! Hahahaha!), padahal sungguh-sungguh waktu luang sepertinya jadi barang antik buat dia.



Ngga seperti saya memang yang asal bacot nulis ga mikir pokoknya asal maenin jari-jari diatas keyboard sebagai pelampiasan ngga pernah bisa maen piano, sehingga kadang sim salabim! Lima menit sebelum berangkat interview kerja pun pernah terjadi suatu tulisan dengan kualitas yang patut dipertanyakan, hahahaha!



“Ngga punya komputer sendiri”



WARNET! INTERNET CYBER CAFE!



“Ngga ada ide”



Kebetulan alam lahiriah membentuk saya sebagai orang bacot dalam tulisan dan lisan dimana akhirnya sering terjadi konslet antara otak dan mulut (dan tangan) karena apa yang udah terbentuk di kepala harus ngantri panjang di syaraf sebelum keluar dari bibir ditandai dengan banyaknya filial words kaya’ “eeerrmmm” ato “eeerrr” ato “hmmmm” ato “eeeeeyyyy” ato pause lama.



Jadinya memang saya suka ngomentarin apa yang ada di sekitar penglihatan mata dan pendengaran, itulah kenapa meskipun ngiler tergoda ama barang-barang MP3 Player macem keluaran Creative ato iPod, tetep ngga bisa jadi barang yang harus saya beli, ngga biasa nutup kuping kalo pas lagi jalan, serasa terisolasi dari dunia luar, padahal saya seneng dengerin suara-suara lalu lintas ramai kalo lagi nyebrang deket City Hall, ataupun suasana konstruksi mesin di Nicoll Highway misalnya. Cukup lah saya mengisolasi diri dengan baca buku, majalah sampe leaflet kalo naek bis ato MRT sendiri.



Kebacotan ini juga yang bikin gawat karena mengakibatkan ketidaksabaran saya kalo bertemu dengan orang yang udah lama kenal dan akrab (bukan yang baru kenal lho!), dan terlibat percakapan seperti:



+ Eh gila, pa kabar elo?

– Gini-gini aja koq, ngga ada yang bisa diceritain

+ Duh, masa sih? Bukannya waktu itu elo pergi ke Langkawi pas long weekend? Gila, bukannya musim hujan gini loh, monsoon, bete dong elo di kamar hotel doang, bla bla bla …



(interupsi: barusan liat Sayid goyang ngebor udah cukup bikin gue feeling dizzy and distracted, kalo ngga mau dibilang, ilfil! hihihihi)



Terus terang Philips terang terus, balik lagi ke tujuan orang bikin blog.



Mau nulis apa?



Beberapa blog hasil temuan dari blog-hopping memang terlihat jelas, seperti blog puitis dari mbakyu Ken ini yang menorehkan kata-kata indah bermakna yang sering jadi acuan saya untuk coba-coba bikin puisi.

Atau sekedar celotehan jenaka dari si teteh Karmela yang udah kenal 3-4 taun tapi ngga pernah ketemu walopun sama-sama satu pulau, atau review album seperti blognya Eko, the walking encyclopedia of music, atau sekedar tulisan lirik lagu yang sempet bikin saya kecele karena dikira puisi di blognya Rivaldi, atau catatan perjalanan seperti Azmin si murah senyum dan juga petualangan Luigi di benua lain, atau sekedar jadi diary selayaknya yang dipunyai banyak bloggers.



Jadi, sebelum diprotes ama Endang yang sering mencak-mencak karena kepanjangan isi tulisan, lebih baek saya sudahi dulu meskipun masih banyak ide bermain on both sides of my tiny little brain.



Sekarang?



Buka dashboard blog.

Click Create New Post dong.



Jari-jari udah di atas keyboard?



Apa yang kamu liat?



Tembok putih?

Tembok putih.



Bersih?

Lumayan.



Koq lumayan?

Abis masih ada kotoran nempel.



Ih pasti yang punya warnet jarang bersiin!

Kayanya gitu sih, abis warnet ini kan buka 24 jam, udah gitu rame lagi, mana sempet yang jaga warnet bersiin, pasti dia juga harus jaga kasir, belum lagi kalo ada komputer rewel, dia musti benerin juga, gimana-gimana juga namanya warnet gitu loh, masalah dekor gimana urusan ngga penting lah, kita juga pengennya dapet komputer cepet, internet cepet, yah ga pa-pa juga sih kalo misalnya tempatnya bersihan, lebih nyaman aja ngeliatnya, walopun namanya orang pake komputer, fokus pertama juga ke komputer, lingkungan sekitar sih asal ngga ganggu juga ga terlalu masalah koq …



Met nulis ya! πŸ™‚

— dedicated to everyone, the thought of you all made seemingly bleak days of mine turn into colorful ones, the song I wish to present to you that I can think of now is … masih terngiang di telingaku/bisik cintamu/betapa lembut dan mesranya/aku terlena/terlena/ku terlena …

 
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Posted by on 12/28/2004 in Bahasa Indonesia

 

WherE?

There is a place

High above the highest shelter of the bright skies,

That goes by the name of

Redemption.

There,

People breeze past through the empty roads

While comforting troubled souls

Of their own.



In which I never deny its existence

For this journey would always lead to its

Destination.


Wherever it may be,

Whatever it has to sacrifice,

Whoever we will become.



Open wide pathways,

Leaves falling like scattered ashes,

Cars parked at their utmost ease,

Words spilled out along with the wind,

Dogs barking seductively to their mates,

Grass! Much too much to be rolled upon!



Space need not be conquered

Time watches its habitant walking on by

Through the unspoken stillness

Peace.

Comfort.



So non-urbanite!





— strolling along Portsdown Road and its branches on a windy Sunday morning, two kampung-spirited young men who go by the name of Cay and Nauval decide to surrender to the comfort of one fractured feeling: home —

 
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Posted by on 12/27/2004 in English

 



when Mother Nature has spoken,

at her utmost pitch,

not even Goliath, nor David, nor Adam,

can resist the tidal waves.



lives have lost.

souls have been swept away.



inna lillahi wa inna ilahi raji’un.



my deepest condolences.


 
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Posted by on 12/27/2004 in English

 

When.


I’ve to put the book down, while the journey was only halfway taken.
I’ve to lay my head down to the window that gives a shrill of breathtaking views.
I’ve to surrender my wandering thoughts.

Only to hum this:

When a man loves a woman,
Can’t keep his mind on nothin’ else,
He’d change the world for the good
Things he’s found.

If she is bad, he can’t see it,
She can do no wrong,
Turn his back on his best friend
If he put her down.

When a man loves a woman,
He’ll spend his very last dime
Tryin’ to hold on to what he needs.
He’d give up all his comforts
And sleep out in the rain,

If she said that’s the way it ought to be
Well, this man loves you, woman.
I gave you everything I have,
Tryin’ to hold on to your hot blood
Long.
Baby, please don’t treat me bad.

When a man loves a woman,
Down deep in his soul,
She can bring him such misery.

If she is playin’ him for a fool,
He’s the last one to know.
Lovin’ eyes can never see.
When a man loves a woman,
He can do her no wrong,
He can never hug some other girl.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

(in a world where gender-biased would be an outdated opinion, just change, alter, or do whatever you readers feel like doing with sexes)

Does being in an upheaval feeling mean stopping the logic to work in its own way?
Does being in ecstatic ride mean being blind?
Does being in one mean to refuse what other angles may bring?
Does that mean I have to stop questioning?

In a crowded world where people and their chatterings may see you differently, where the time has politely persuaded me in bringing my amazement to the extent what you may become, where innocent assumption could only clash to bitter-sweet reality, you remain as these things to me.

Wise.
Calm.
Independent.
Mature.
Caring.
Loving.
Patient.
Planner.
Leader.

In all dreamy qualities one can ask for, I stick to that particular imagery of your silhouette.
As well as to let you go.

 
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Posted by on 12/25/2004 in English

 

Mein Name ist …

Ijinkan saya bernarsis ria sedikit di hari Natal mulia ini, sambil tak lupa menghaturkan rasa hormat kepada mereka yang merayakan, berikut menunduk rasa dalam duka cita kepada para keluarga korban kecelakaan helikopter TNI Angkatan Udara (AU) di Jawa Tengah kemarin (courtesy of Liputan 6 SCTV).

Mungkinkah suasana Desember penghujung akhir tahun dimana orang berlomba untuk mempercantik diri dengan belanja dan refleksi mempengaruhi tulisan ini nanti? Sangat! Karena pada akhirnya saya ingin membuka suatu rahasia yang sebenernya bagi orang laen dianggep, “Duh, ga penting banget deh ih!”

Memang ngga penting, tapi apa daya, kalau hasrat menulis sudah di depan ujung kelingking, sayang rasanya kalau laptop yang sudah menyala semaleman nungguin download mp3 dianggurin gitu ajah tho? Jadilah ditemani Joss Stone, Mick Jagger dan Dave Stewart yang lagi bengok-bengok di WinAmp ini saya pengen menulis tentang …

Now. Far.

Ayo sodara-sodari, diucapin berulang-ulang dalem hati ato keras-keras juga boleh selama ngga sampe didatengin penjaga warnet buat diusir ya ngga papa. Baca nama blog saya itu sambil selang-seling sama nama yang punya blog ini, yaitu …

Nauval.

Nah! Ketauan sekarang kenapa saya namain blog ini dengan dua kata sifat itu. Kalo mo dianalisa pake ilmu linguistik berinterpretasi psikologis, monggo lho, kadang-kadang saya juga suka maen analisa tingkah laku orang koq, walaupun tujuan asalnya, biar kedengeran sama dengan nama saya, yang matur nuwun kalo ada yang bilang eksotis, unik, bahkan suka dipelesetin jadi Bopal, Empal, Gopal, asal jangan Ovaltine aja karena dari dulu direcokinnya pake Milo!

Tapi, se-eksotis ato se-unik apapun, tetep kesel kan kalo ngga ada orang yang bener-bener bisa nyebut nama itu dengan baek sesuai ejaan yang diinginkan bapak ibu saya? Dan itulah yang terjadi dari saya menginjakkan kaki di bumi Singapura taun 1999 sampe sekarang ini, NGGAK ADA yang bisa nyebut namaku ini dengan pas, benar, ga mlintat-mlintut! *menghela napas dalam sekalian ngurusin perut buncit*

Nova? Novel? Noufe? Nafa? Naval?

Nauval! /na:w – fa:l/

“Sorry, how to spell your name ah?”

“en-ei-yu-vi-ei-el”

“N A U V A L”

“Correct”

“Wah, so unique your name ah!” (Ga berani nyoba-nyoba pronounce!)

“Thank you, auntie.”

Ato misalnya:

“Good afternoon! May I speak to … eermm .. Nowfel? Nofa? Nowal?”

(sambil menghela napas lagi pokoknya kedengeran hurup N, F ato V, dan L)

“Yes, it’s Nauval here speaking”

Dan disuatu penghujung taun 2003 pas kerja bantu pementasan Bibik Goes Broadway, setelah berulang kali si Stage Manager bingung manggil saya gimana, akhirnya saya jelasin:

“It’s just like you say the words “NOW” and “FAR”, only add ‘l’ sound at the end of the latter.”

“Oh I see!”

(trus kurang ajarnya manggil para kru laen)

“Everyone! His name is NOW (sambil pake gaya tangan nunjuk kebawah) FAAARRR (sambil pake gaya tangan nunjuk ke arah yang jauh).”

Semua orang manggut-manggut sementara saya cuman senyum mesem nahan malu pengen getokin si Stage Manager dodol!

Akhirnya rekan-rekan kerja saya suka dengan seenak udelnya nyuruh ganti nama kalo pas berhadapan ama klien ato customer biar mereka gampang manggilnya. Biasanya nyuruh ganti nama ke Noel.

Maaf yang punya nama ini, nama bagus lho, bahkan dulu pengennya kalo punya keponakan cowok mau dinamain ini. Tapi lha wong nama saya ini udah susah-susah nyarinya, bahkan tiap pulang kampung pun, bapak saya suka ngajak saya sungkem sama satu orang ustadz sepuh yang dulu ngasih ide ke bapak buat ngasih saya nama bagus ini.

Jadi saya tetep keukeuh ga mau ganti nama, apalagi kalo nama saya sampe NAFA! Haiyah!

Lha koq sama kaya satu selebriti yang jijay bajay itu?!?!?

Jadinya inget dulu pas pertama kali masuk sini, jaman orientasi, disuruh ngapalin nama-nama Cina yang bacanya ngga sama ama tulisannya itu! Saya, Ayu, Onel, Rika, Nyile, Randy yang sama-sama anak Indo dan kebetulan satu group plus tinggal di satu blok sampe ngabisin satu malem khusus buat belajar nyebut nama-nama ini, sambil tetep saya ga habis pikir:

“Namanya kan Kum Chuen, tulisannya kaya gitu, koq bacanya Kam Cun sih, bukan Kum Chuen?”

Gubrak!

Mungkin kalo seperti housemate saya Acay, meskipun nama asli Cahyadi tapi by default dia selalu ngenalin ke orang-orang sebagai Cay, enak gitu ngomongnya, langsung meluncur kaya Cap Cay.

Atau seperti teteh Karmela yang panggilan singkatnya Mel, ngga tau dia ngenalin dirinya gimana, orang sini keplintir-plintir ga mbak kalo nyebut lengkap Karmela?

Soalnya meskipun udah dipersingkat jadi “NOV” (seperti layaknya orang rumah manggil saya), orang sini pun masih keplintat-plintut manggil “Naf? Nor?”

Duh!

 
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Posted by on 12/25/2004 in Bahasa Indonesia

 

Not. Just …

Kamu pernah hadir.

Tapi tolong!

Kamu sudah pergi.

Jangan kembali.



Aku tidak pernah sekali atau dua

Mendatangkanmu.

Jadi biarlah apa yang dulu ada

Mengapung.



Sudahlah!

Kibasan ini ngga perlu ditepiskan

Atas nama segala rasa hormat

Percaya

Kebaikan

Kesejahteraan

dan segala bentuk Kehidupan

berikut Kepercayaan

sudah cukup yang dulu itu.



Terimakasih kalau aku memang pernah berarti,

Terimakasih kalau aku memang pernah tersakiti,

Terimakasih kalau aku memang pernah di ujung langit,

Terimakasih semua untuk sosok penampakanmu.



Tapi inilah yang terjadi.

Tolong jangan kembali.

Sekali lagi.





— sejuta lagu cengeng dalam putaran otak —

 
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Posted by on 12/21/2004 in Bahasa Indonesia

 

10 DVDs in 2004



Notice how I insist in not using ‘Top 10’? Why does it have to be ‘top’, suggesting that these 10 DVDs would be on ‘top’ of any other DVDs, while we can’t help championing what many people have been campaigning: arts should not be put in competition. Again, this debate will drag on another issue how films have to be treated separately from ‘arts’, or have films achieved a special place in arts, it will just nicely serve the endless mind-boggling discussion while the ship has sailed away far from the intended destination …

No ratings given (if your curiosity is really that freakingly high, ask me personally about the ratings I gave to these films) as I believe that such an intangible, fragile works have to be appreciated with an open mind and objective point of view, which will exclude any existence of numbers and figures.

No ranking orders either as they are scatteredly placed to avoid any preference, the fairness of arrangement that I can think of lies on the date of viewing itself.

These are 10 DVDs which gave me a thrill and pleasant film-watching experience that I personally will be more than excited to revisit and relive the experience:





Central Station (1998, Brazil)





What appears on the surface as a typical sappy flick of how a sudden appearance of a stranger in a woman’s life would change her character and life altogether proves to be completely wrong.

Fernanda Montenegro in her worthy Oscar-nominated role shines in a chilling, uncompromising portrayal of an anti-heroine facing a tough life every second and minute of her life in the slums of Rio de Janeiro, only to be confronted with an innocent presence of a young kid hopelessly searching for his father, the journey taken together would be a trip their lives have been unknowingly prepared.

Walter Salles has all the good qualities in his hands, a tight, well-written script enhanced with a breathtaking, gorgeous snap shots of Brazilian panoramic view that only adds this already beautiful film an additional magic.

Touching, without being a tear-jerker.

Inspiring, without being preachy.

And finding oneself, without compromising honesty.





400 Blows (1959, France)

Anyone citing any films on growing-up-is-hard-to-go-through story would definitely have to include this psychologically brutal film mirroring reality in a convincing manner. An autobiographical of Francois Truffaut? Well, what is not autobiographical whenever we surrender ourselves to immerse in our works? A certain influence contributed in it would be marked in a certain extent, resulting how ‘personal’ your works turn out to be.

Which is what makes 400 Blows compelling to watch, something you can’t even find in the future Antoine Doinel series as Truffaut may had been trapped into the dangerous territory of sequel-making. A continous threat, indeed.





Days of Wine and Roses (1962, USA)

To date, at the time of writing, a mere mention of the title, just the title, still gives me a shudder and a certain degree of … fear. Fear of being one, an alcoholic. An acute alcoholic who worships the majesty atmosphere in being taken to a seemingly realm world of blunt and illusion. An acute alcoholic who seems to be unable to kneel down picking up the shattering life broken into puzzling pieces. An acute alcoholic who drowns himself, willingly and unwillingly at the same time, to a place of longingness and loneliness.

Mind you, this is a Hollywood film, the one that goes beyond a manufactured norm of censors, the one that was painstakingly created to give a chilling effect thanks to the superb performances from Jack Lemmon and Lee Remick who amazingly step into their character’s skins, so much so that you can’t help wondering, do they, or don’t they? They might be doing the torture of themselves, which translated into an amazing showcase of pain and disgracefulness of alcoholism.

No smile, no laughter, no flirtatious look, no usual cracks of nice, sweet Lemmon.

No glance of beauty of those enviable blond hair of Remmick.

If you think Blake Edwards only does his best at Pink Panther series, think again. Think of how a master in slapstick, physical comedy will do in his darkest hour yet.

Repeated viewing? Think again.





Jules et Jim (1962, France)

How nice it is to see two entries from Francois Truffaut here, considering that I often detest his works made in 1970s to be exact, but along with 400 Blows, Jules et Jim marked his entry as an auteur in an era of what they refer as French New Wave cinema, a ‘little’ breakthrough in the history of filmmaking, unconventional, rebellious, yet you can’t help reeling for more.

And who wouldn’t fall in love, condemn, and empathy with Jeanne Moreau as she began to wane in the tragedy set by herself?

Being an audience of modern cinema myself, I can’t help trying to trace how this film would evoke a sense of sentimentalism in a relationship-of-three going to make the companies overwhelmed by the outburst of emotional feelings a la Neil Jordan’s The End of the Affair, or in a little shift of pace, Alfonso Cuaron’s Y Tu Mama Tambien





His Girl Friday (1940, USA)

Even when I just began typing the title, I found myself smiling widely while staring at this notebook, rekindling the good memory still lingers on my mind when I remember how jolly it was watching this film, enjoying every single minute, and I mean every second of chattiness, witty lines and everything that makes this cleverly written film as a towering landmark of screwball comedy.

Not even today, way past of Tom Hanks-Meg Ryan era or at the hype of Before Sunset and such, can romantic, comedy, or combination of both make a good use of punchlines which are skilfully crafted and catered at a great speed that wouldn’t leave you a hiss of chance to catch your breath from laughing.

Cary Grant, being an actor named Cary Grant himself, may be only doing what he does best as usual: suave, charming, a gentleman’s gentleman who dares risking himself as an object of ridicule while still maintaining his charisma that will surely sweep off every ladies’ feet and be envied by other guys in the room, but in doing so, he couldn’t be any better here under the masterful direction of Howard Hawks, whom I have to tip my hat off in being one of the few directors who defined romantic comedy itself along with the likes of Ernst Lubitsch and such.

Of course, in an era of tough woman, Rosalind Russell bares and blends herself whole-heartedly in her Hildy Johnson character, a smart, sassy, independent, smart journalist Hollywood can only dream of, which would forever be carried over to her other performances, notably those she did superbly in Auntie Mame and Gypsy.

Not even just a filler for your rainy Saturday afternoon, I can see myself going to put it highly on my library …





Zelig (1983, USA)

I was fooled!

Oh dear good old Woody Allen‘s films, how you never fail to amaze me, to the state of glee!

If you think that this time around Woody Allen still sticks his nose to usual theme of psychological problems of modern human beings in their own paranoia, narcissm, insecurities and longingness, all I can say is that you can be right, but you can be wrong as well. The subject, Mr. Zelig himself, no matter how you may analyze and interpret him as having a mentally-challenged mind, he lives and breathes himself like a chameleon. At least we’ve got one thing clear, but a mere narration of this story would only bury this film deep down underneath his other great works.

This time around, he made a documentary. Or shall I say, a ‘documentary’? You watch it yourself, you decide, because I can’t stop giggling now, a few months later, that …

I was fooled! In a much delightful way!





Breathless (1960, France)

Jean Paul Belmondo in his dress-to-the-nine suit, that hat, that cigarette at the corner of his mouth, taking a stroll along a pedestrian corner in Paris, humming, only to be interrupted by the lovely sound of …

“New York Herald Tribune!”

Jean Seberg in her tight T-shirt, short hair that strengthens her sassiness instead of being boyish, appearing from the right side, walking slightly brisky, and turning herself around Belmondo to begin their short, sweet, murderous affair …

Those indelible images that captured and melted hearts of many filmgoers at that time, and until now, I am sitting here casting my mind back in one hot Thursday afternoon watching the two rascals indulging themselves in their own time that seems to stand still.

How I was transported to their world of dangerously addictive crime of passion without even realizing that a certain presence of a director did mastermind this all, and certainly the world would always welcome Jean-Luc Godard as the most prominent director, the most reliable and knowledgeable film scholars-cum-film critics the world of cinema would always be able to rely on for all his outsanding works that speak for one thing: a film can be unflinchingly cool.

Now I know why Bernardo Bertolucci was in despair of making a tribute by presenting this annoying film called The Dreamers





Young Frankenstein (1974, USA)

Not just a little giggle, I am now laughing!

Such a zany, insane yet brilliant this ‘mad’ man who goes by the name of Mel Brooks, master of parody whom Wayans brothers and other aspiring cheap comedy directors should take a lesson or two that parody itself need not be grossed out to generate good laughs. It all lies on the writings, that’s what this madcap film trying to say, and how to make it comical at the same time.

One can only wonder what went on in Brook’s mind when he directed the film, or rather, what were
Gene Wilder and Brooks thinking?

A genius, a superb film indeed!

And do consider this trivia: The cast and especially Mel Brooks had so much fun and were so upset when principal photography was almost completed, that Mel added scenes to continue shooting.

See? I can’t even give my proper comment here, hahaha! Ask me, just ask me personally! πŸ™‚





Black Orpheus (1959, France/Brazil/Italy)

A Greek tale of Orpheus and Eurydice gets a Samba treatment that helps to launch and refine a new genre of Latin jazz as what we see today. Surprisingly faithful to the core of the original story, this film is as blatant as it can be in portraying the real low-life of Rio de Janeiro, completed with innocent, naive romances that would seem to go nowhere as their fate could only be destined and shattered by the Death, in a presence that seem to make a good joke of Ingmar Bergman’s Seventh Seal. Still, with maddening and deafening projected images of that (in)famous Rio carnaval serve as a platform of the story, watching the film seems like surrounding yourself with a pulsating beats of laid-back jazz while sipping a fuzzy warm of chocolate coffee in one hot Saturday afternoon, yet you feel distance away from the reality as you position yourself under the shower of fabricated air.



Addictive.

Darling (1965, UK)

Many people would be quick to point out Midnight Cowboy should be considered as John Schlesinger‘s main breakthrough in presenting a gay character explicitly.

I place that notion to this film, on top of other sexual freedom wraps the film in a cold, unpretentious manner which greatly helped make the film stands the test of time, no matter how it is considered ‘mild’ by today’s standard … of what? Bare-it-all sex? Isn’t it better to have it subdued?

And isn’t it better to have it suited and tailored perfectly fitted to the era where the characters breathe their lives in?



Watching Julie Christie transforming herself on the mask of many characters we seem to be unable to trace the roots would only enhance my admiration to her terribly believable persona that she holds until today, a glowing innerself she projected out to the character she embodies well, and witnessing her breakdowns was one of the very few difficult times I had to bear throughout countless film-watching experience.



How can one envy of all the willingness to rebel in an era of being opressed while keeping the good elements of both sides …

 
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Posted by on 12/19/2004 in English, Film

 

Afraid?



Tuhan,

ternyata lebih menyenangkan memakai logika

yang selama ini tersimpan rapi di seberang meja setrikaan

karena saya lebih memilih rasa jiwa yang membungkusi nafsu

menuruti apa yang orang anggap sebagai ‘kata hati’

tapi nyatanya tak tersambung dengan akal pikiran yang jelas

letaknya paling atas menutupi ubun-ubun.



Tapi Tuhan,

kenapa sih Kamu bermain-main dengan nasib dan jatuh bangun manusia-Mu?

pelatihan mental sih bener,

tapi ketika saya tercampakkan di dalamnya,

waduh!

pertama seneng,

terus dah biasa,

terakhir malah pengen cepet-cepet menyudahi,

tapi beneran, masih bersyukur koq!

malahan,



aku kepengen lagi.

merasa apa yang dirasa dengan segenap-genapnya jiwa

yang berapa pun itu jumlahnya,

jiwa koq dihitung!

kalo dihitung berarti ada indikasi korban

sementara saya,

*menelan ludah*

tak mau (terlalu) berkorban untuk

mempunyai perasaan itu.



Tuhan,

sungguh yang Maha Adil!

menciptakan suatu keberanian yang kemudian

berbalik arah menjadi ketakutan karena rasa tidak percaya diri

karena penampakan yang Engkau anugerahi ini

ternyata masih ada yang memuji.

basa-basi.

maupun setulus hati.



Ah!

Tuhan,

let me play the fool again.

but don’t let me be one.



Terima kasih karena yang ini telah datang,

Tuhan!

Meski meskipun masih mempertanyakan

Kenapa harus begini lagi?

Ah!



“I’m afraid to fall in love again.”

“Or are you afraid to get hurt?”

“There’s always the possibility, rite?”

“Two sides of a coin, remember that”



Oh Tuhan,

jangan biarkan Minnie Driver nyanyi lagi,

suaranya pas-pasan!

Tapi dasar manusia tukang kritik yah,

akhirnya saya malah humming lagu ini sepanjang malam …

Mungkin, ya mungkin,

Belajar untuk sendiri, meski selama ini kesendirian lah yang membuat hidup lebih berisi …



Child of the wilderness / Born into emptiness /

Learn to be lonely / Learn to find your way in darkness

Who will be there for you / Comfort and care for you /

Learn to be lonely / Learn to be your one companion

Never dreamed out in the world / There are arms to hold you /

You’ve always known / Your hope is on its own

So laugh in your loneliness / Child of the wilderness /

Learn to be lonely / Learn how to love

Life that is lived alone



— alam kembara pikiran lah tempat dimana eksistensimu masih dan akan selalu meraja —

 
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Posted by on 12/18/2004 in Bahasa Indonesia

 

Scattered Words. 1

(Coffee Club Raffles City – sinful indulgence!)

P : I dunno, feel like being a girl means being like a Christmas

N : Eerrr .. I dun gedit

P : Aiyah, you know, like Christmas shopping lah! 21’s getting interesting, 22’s getting more …

N : Ahahahahaha! 23’s the peak rite?!

P : 24’s sudden rush! panic time! 25 … burst out!

N : Hiehieehahahahahahaha ! 26 overbloated already!

P : Hahaha, got it?

N : Ya lah, no need to worry, dear!


 
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Posted by on 12/15/2004 in English

 

At the Movies with …


+ Dingiiiiinnnnn!

– Iiiiyyyaaa … Jaket gue cungkring gini, duh serasa nonton di
Cine deh!


+ Hihihi, diubunginnya ama pelem terus! Elo demen nonton pelem banget sih!

– Ehehehehe … Everyone has their own indulgences, darling, elo juga suka nonton pelem gitu loh!


+ Beda ama elo kali babe, di analisa, di review, di komentarin satu-satu, di data my goodness sake sumpah deh kebiasaan elo satu ini yaaaa …

– Yah kan biar gampang gue inget-inget kapan gue nonton pelem ini, dimana, ama siapa, ada kejadian apa, tapi yang paling penting sih bacotan gue tentang pelem itu, ga bisa diem gue abis nonton pelem, at least on my mind.


+ Hihihihi, kirain elo bakal ngoceh-ngoceh sendiri pas elo nonton sendirian, kali gituh!

– Wakakakakakaka, giling! Eh tapi inget ga minggu lalu Dendry yang nanya kapan terakhir ketemu ama kalian-kalian, trus dia bilang “Kaya’nya baru minggu lalu kalian ketemu dah kangen-kangenan gini”, trus elo bilang “Seminggu itu lama, you know!”, dan gue nyambung “Iye, yang kita nonton ber-7 itu, tanggal 28 November di Lido, yang kita kepisah gara-gara ada yang last minute request dadakan yeee, dah tau masuk websitenya
Shaw naujubile susahnya mo book tiket!”, trus Dendry cuman bengong “Ya ampun, elo inget?” dan gue cuman senyum-senyum nyengir, “Yee, susah kali, tiap kali nonton gue catetin kapan dimana nyah!” Hihihihih!


+ Sial siul, nguik elo ye! Eh tapi pertama kali kita nonton bareng kapan yah?

– Jamdul banget jaman kuliah jaman gue masih ga ganteng, hihihi! Yang kalo nonton ber-10 ato ber-15, trus yang milihin pelem kalo ga si Aki, si Awong, sumpah selera pelemnya ga ada yang bener!


+ Muahahahaha, yo’eh! Apa aja tuh, “
The Ninth Gate“, trus “Mystery Men“, eh elo pernah salah milih “Random Hearts” super ngantukin!

– Maap ama yang terakhir, gue pikir
Sydney Pollack, can do no wrong! Tapi jazz score nya ngena tuh di gue, walopun sumpah itu pelem kaya udah di remove sendiri ama si sutradaranya. Si ‘Mystery’ gue ga nonton, kalo ‘Ninth Gate’ benernya OK koq, underrated gara-gara mereka sok bikin trailer yg bilang kalo ini pelem horror, jadinya orang ngarepin itu!


+ Yang bikin itu si sutradaranya
The Pianist kan?

– He eh, bapak
Roman Polanski.

(buzz! New message)

+ Eh tapi elo penonton teater juga gitu loh …

– Haduh, frekuensi ga sesering pelem kali, cinta pertama gue gitu loh!



+ Doh sampe segitunya! Tapi iya sih, gue kalo pacaran juga nonton pelem lah, standar …

– Hihihi, dudul, gue malah dari dulu ga pernah nonton ama pacar! Kuakakakaka … Pacaran mana pernah nonton bareng gue, sedih, ga ada kenangan “gue dulu pernah nonton bareng pelem ini ama dia”, yang ada malah pacar-pacar gue pada nanya “di sini lagi maen A B C D, ada yang elo rekomendasiin?” dan biasanya gue cuman jawab basa-basi “yah kalo elo suka action, mungkin elo consider B, kalo mo komedi, nonton si C”, duh, ama pacar sendiri sok politically correct coba! Hihihihi … Padahal dalem ati gue cuman bisa “najesh, pacar gue nontonnya pelem ginian?” Huahahahaha!


+ Ember! Duh untung gue ngerti elo ye, mana mau elo gue ajak nonton pelem-pelem model “
Dude, Where’s My Car?”

– Wakakakakaka! Si Copper dan pelem tolol paporitnya itu, sampe pasang poster di kamarnya! Kuakakakakaka ..


+ Huhuhuhu, emang nasib tuh anak dah garing, tontonan parah! Eh tapi elo demen “
Scary Movie” ..

– Nyang pertama doang! Benernya gue suka juga pelem-pelem silly, selama mereka serius juga bikin silly nya! Duh, ga gampang kali bikin pelem komedi, kalo elo tau
Billy Wilder ..


+ Sape lagi?

– Sutradara terkenal taun 50-an, dia sutradara hebat yang bisa bikin semua jenis pelem, nah, dia tuh bikin slapstick comedy “
Some Like It Hot“, ato komedi cerdas kaya “The Apartment“, ato yang ga terlalu terkenal juga kaya “Irma La Douce” juga masih smart, witty …


+ Smart? Witty? Kita lagi ngomongin pelem ato tipe pacar elo sih?!? Hahahahah!

(blush!)

+ So, tipe pelem bagus menurut elo apa sih?

– Haiyah! Nanya spesifik dong ah, bagus yang gimana?



+ Heh kebanyakan bacot elo ah, dah tau gue bukan film freak macem elo!

– Huhuhuhu, sorry deeehhh! Pelem bagus? Well, indikasi gampangnya nih, gue jadi pengen terlibat di pelem itu, hahaahaha! Gue pengen maen, jadi salah satu karakter, bayangin kehidupan gue kaya di pelem itu, hahahaha … Geuleuh super deh gue! Misalnya nih kaya “
Eliana, Eliana“, gue bisa relate banget ama karakter-karakter disitu, karakter orang kota besar yang udah ga punya identitas kultural kan? Ato kalo ngga ya pelem yang bisa bikin gue tercengang, duh tercengang, ya yang bisa bikin gue melongo, speechless and stunned, soalnya pelem itu unik, endingnya biasanya yang bikin gue kaget, bisa jadi karena sesuai dugaan gue yang selalu gue mikir “kalo endingnya dibikin gantung, pelem ini jadi bagus!” which to certain films that kind of thing applies, dan yang norak lagi, gue tepuk tangan kalo pelem itu bagus! Hihihihihi …


+ Boneng elo! Duh punya temen kaya elo berasa nonton layar tancep kelurahan jamdul!

– Situ anaknya pak Lurah yah yang suka muter pelem perjuangan kalo dah 17-an di lapangan bola? Hihihihi … Eh iya, gue ga nyadar kebiasaan tepuk tangan ini, dulu nonton “
L.A. Confidential” gue tepuk tangan, si Curtis Hanson emang gila bisa bikin film noir sebagus itu! Ato “Hable con Ella” nya Pedro Almodovar yang kaya lagi di tepi aliran sungai yang mengalun tenang, riak-riak kecilnya ga ngeganggu …


+ Huaaa! Musti nonton neh gue!

– Banget! Oh tema pelem yang gue suka juga ini nih, berkisar ke reminiscence of glorious old days in cinema!


+ Erm, maksud elo?

– Pelem tentang pelem. Ato ttg kejayaan pelem jaman dulu. Kaya “
Cinema Paradiso” yang indah itu, bahkan gue punya certain weakness buat “The Majestic” nya Jim Carrey, mungkin karena gue pas kecil banget dulu pernah ngerasain satu gedung khusus buat bioskop dimana semua orang dateng emang buat nonton pelem itu, ngga kaya sekarang yang cineplex di dalem mall, ga dapet tiket ya shopping! Ga fokus dong ah! Gue suka nonton pelem di bioskop karena elo lebih terfokus perhatian elo, being in a darkened room gitu loh, immerse yourself for 2 hours or more, glued to the screen, staring at the magical world of films, kalo di kamar, yang entar elo nelpon gue lah, ato “Oooii! Matiin aer!”, ato “Cucian sapa neeehh!”, ato SMS, ato ada yang ketok-ketok di Yahoo, ga dapet soul-nya, apalagi nonton pelem di tipi, kepotong iklan!

(buuzzzz! Incoming calls)

– Satpam kali pacar elo, heran, dah tau elo jalan ama gue ngga bakal ngapa-ngapain!

+ Hahahaha, ya gitu deh, namanya juga cemburu ini, eh by the way, pernah ga ngalamin kejadian aneh-aneh pas nonton pelem?



– Kaya nungguin elo yang telat gituh?

+ Huahahahha, siyal! Ya ga kale, itu mah biasa, gue gitu loh, seleb …


– Najesh! Hmmm … Oh akhir taun lalu nih, gue ngebet banget ngejar nonton pelemnya
Sean Penn gituh deh di Malaysia …

+ Pelem apa?


– Ah jangan kesebut dulu dong! Gue mo bikin list Movies of the Year ntar!

+ Centil! Ya su, lanjut!


– Iye, tuh pelem maen lebih dulu daripada di sini, kiasu dong gue pagi-pagi kesana, pelem maen jam 11, gara-gara imigrasi laknat itu ngantrinya jam-jaman, gue nyampe sana … 11.40! Asli deh gue langsung jutek seharian, Jer ama Val kaya dah capek nyenengin gue, gue dibawa ke Giant lah, maen bowling, gue teteup keukeuh berjutek! Sampe akhirnya pelem itu masuk sini bulan Februari, gue nonton ama si Jer dia cuman melotot sambil, “Puas elo?!” Hihihihi … Tapi ga rugi kan gue, pelem nya bagus!


+ Huhuhuhuh … Elo tuh yee, eh tapi denger-denger pas Singapur pelem festival kemaren ada cerita tuh …


– Hah? Aaaahhhh, ciiisss! Koq elo tau seehhh?

+ Huhuhuhu … Giling sih elo, waktu itu sama si (*sensor!*)


– Yo’eh, kan malemnya (*sensor!*)

+ Haaahhh? Jadi itu?? Iiihhhh, nistaaa, kan gue (*sensor!*)


– Huhuhu, dan besoknya gue nonton 4 pelem sajah! Jam 11 nonton pelem Spanyol, artisnya dateng padahal tapi dasar pelem gatot, teteup gatot, ga jelas, sok mau kaya
Robert Altman! trus jam 2 nonton pelem Israel, then jam 4.30 kan nonton PELEM KITA BANGET itu lho, gue datengnya sembunyi-sembunyi lagi, kuakakakak …


+ Hooaaa, PELEM KITA BERSAMA ituh, ah kayanya juga itu pelem semua orang yang kaya kita kali, kaya elo terutama! Hihihihi …


– Ember! Terakhir sih jam 7 nonton pelem dokumenter mantan menteri luar negeri Amrik, ini bagus banget!

+ Masuk list elo taun ini dong?


– Liat aja nanti!

+ Deu dasar, eh by the way, heheheh … Bayarin dulu dong … Hohoho ..
– Eh dodol, gue belom gajiaaann … Ggrrgghhhh …

 
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Posted by on 12/14/2004 in Film

 

Here. Now. Far.

– a little break from continuation of DVDs posting –



Towards the end of the year when you start questioning, reviewing, caleidoscope-ing what has happened in a year we are about to leave, I put mine in a bigger scope.



It’s been 5 years stranded on a tiny island.



How do I describe?



Kent Ridge Hall. YIH. LT 13. Seaview. Library, level 2. Shuttle bus. Extension A. PGP. Projects. Film Studies. Lighting Design. Production. PJ. Jac. Cluster Leader. Waiter. Clown. Airport Counter. Overweight, Underpaid. Festival Assistant. Extend. Toshiba DVD Player. Esplanade Library. GV Marina. SFS. Cineleisure. 106. Borders. That CD Shop. Gramophone. Far East Plaza. China Square. Maxwell Food Court. Es Teler. Al Azhar. Abang. Wild Rice. Checkpoint. JB. Bachelor of Arts. Bintan. Tanjong Pagar. IKEA. Joo Chiat. East Coast. Changi Airport. Victoria Theatre. PINUS. Holland Village. Bukit Batok. Clementi. HMV. Al Falah. Alexandra. Geylang. Come Out. Taboo. Deception. Starhub. Auction. Bambang. Sight & Sound. Lido. Tanglin. Warung Nasir. Mos Burger. Kampong Glam. NUH. Mango Longan. Space. Expo. Bussorah Street. Warehouse. Fort Canning. Embassy. Cavanagh Bridge. Arts House.



Friends.



In three words : My Comfort Zone.



— if i had to recall / the drop dead smile of yours / my mind cast back to the longing days / should it be forgotten / the smooth jokes from that tiny mouth / time would surely stand still / it has never come to any possession / walking thru numbered days / not just a seemingly real dream of ours … —

 
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Posted by on 12/12/2004 in English

 

2004 – A Year in DVDs



55 films over 365 days.

Not many, don’t you think?

Yet, it can be perfectly described as a struggle, to truly watch and examine those 55 films in a year, when immersing oneself to a world of imagery and dreams has become a luxury I always look forward to.

Whenever my fingers tip-toed along the shelves of Esplanade Library on a certain day or night, whenever any 30-minute would be well-spent spoiling myself over fabulous collection of DVDs and video cassettes, whenever a sudden additional load of a few pounds filled in my bag, I made sure that those films were meant to be appreciated, just like any finer things in life.

Mistakes, errors, disappointment encountered, a few of them indeed, for no matter how hard you keep your standard up, stumbling upon undesired ones might make us regard the counterparts deeper, and more honest.

I may not equip myself with a good excuse over the horrible selection on the films like The Big Bus which shows that a spoof flick may work hazardously to the film itself, or some promising works that only work best at the surface, at the mere concept or ideas turned horribly wrong like Scenes from A Mall or films that could knock everyone off yet unclear in the direction taken, like Searching for Debra Winger.

In a spirit of the late Frank Sinatra during the holiday spirit, melancholy season towards the end of the year, I can only mutter:

“Regrets/I have a few/But then again/To few to mention …”

I present to you my list of DVDs I have seen from the period of 1 December 2003 – 30 November 2004. They are worth your time, your piece of mind, your laughter, your tears, your anger, your joy, your bitches, your word-of-mouth, and your repeated viewings.

HONORABLE MENTIONS

Tears of the Black Tiger (Thailand, 2000)

How should one revive a dying genre when the audience seem to be contaminated with formulaic films? Apparently, Wisit Sasanatieng was daring enough to blend the spaghetti-Western theme with your below-average soap-opera story of love lost, and found, and shattered. The result was beyond expectation. A visual feast enhanced by dazzling images and imaginative settings, in a lush colors that spark vibrancy of what would be a mere dramatic cliche.

If you are familiar with Visa advertisement card, look out for scene stealing turn from the taxi driver guy on the ad!

Brief Encounter (UK, 1945)

Long time ago, I always thought that this film dealt with theme of outer space, alien, extraordinary creatures, hey don’t point your fingers, we do encounter them briefly as suggester by those B-grade sci-fi flicks πŸ™‚

Yet, this is David Lean in his pre-Doctor Zhivago or Lawrence of Arabia days, those Hollywood glamour days. This is David Lean at his utmost frankness layered and covered with emotional restraints perfectly conceived by Celia Johnson and Trevor Howard who went to their extreme in baring their souls upon this tale of unrequited love. After all, Lean placed a remark to the filn industry that never looked back ever since: infidelity is a grandeur.

Truly Madly Deeply (UK, 1991)

Can’t help noticing the pattern that right after David Lean’s film, the next on the list is the film from a director widely regarded as the modern Lean due to his magnificent magic in adapting impossibly-adaptable literary works. And like Lean himself, Minghella’s first work actually allows us to see another side of his sensitivity towards domestic matter, wrapped in a feel-good humor and ability in transcending dreams into reality.

Sadly, the film was not widely known for its time release coincided with another similar film, no matter how sappy and over-the-top melodramatized the latter is, but no actress can pull it greater than Juliet Stevenson in portraying a widow in grief over her husband’s death while her emotional mind still clinging on to him. More than just a pleasant romantic comedy, the film’s surprise twists throughout will surely leave you hooked and long for more.

Bullets Over Broadway (USA, 1994)

Any devotees of Woody Allen’s films would be quick to note that this film is commonly treated as his last good work over the last decade, which I can’t agree more (ok, I still marvel his Sweet and Lowdown). Any film of Woody Allen set in his homeland, New York, with a set of characters showing the diversity of the city’s vibrant and dynamic pulse of life would only show his excellence in understanding the depth of filmmaking, and surely would enhance his penchant on lingering over old-school jazz. Broadway at its peak on ’20s, how can you go wrong from that?

How can you go wrong when your usual list of cast always boast a superb ensemble of A-list actors?

In brief, quoting Dianne Wiest in her Oscar-winning role as an aging diva Helen Sinclair here: “No. Don’t speak.”

They Shoot Horses, Don’t They (USA, 1969)



The dance scene, no, the derby sequence, wait, no, the whole film itself would be forever immortalized in numerous episodes of any television series or films trying to depict the turbulent times of Depression era. A young Sydney Pollack, full of idealism, brought Horace McCoy novel into an uncomprising film which might be painful to sit through in some parts, not to mention that the unbelievable turns from every single cast would enhance the effect of grim. Little the director himself knew, that this film would be highly regarded as part of 70s filmmaking movement, daring, anti-establishment, and honesty on storytelling.



A Man and A Woman (France, 1966)



When you find yourself in love, when you indulge yourself over the feeling of longingness, when you relive every single second of the rollercoaster ride of upheaval emotion, your mind start wandering freely, your gaze will reflect your desire, your gasp will sound like a relieving breeze soothening the chaotic heart. Claude Lelouch masterfully captured those senses and skilfully crafted this film by relying on an amazing presence of Anouk Aimee who ignited sparks in every turn she made, in every stare she tells directly to the camera, and at her intimate scene with Jean-Louis Trintignant, she defines how sex scene in films should be created: passion and desire that comes from within.



Same Time, Next Year (USA, 1978)



An affair that has lasted for more than a quarter of a century. From a naive, newly-married woman to a megalomaniac. From a paranoia husband to a man of freedom. From a constant set to wonderful changes of character-development seen in the very front of your eyes. Here’s another look at infidelity shown in a feel-good manner and wittiness over bantering clever punchlines, yet the vivid portrayal of characters caught haplessly in the changing of times that span from a naive 50s to rebellious 70s make us wishing how we could become them. One of the most indelible turns from Ellen Burstyn, she conceived her role (or roles, I would say) perfectly, as if she herself breathes on it.

The film that I would always wish to adapt myself.



Band of Outsiders (France, 1964)



This film would mark the height of New Wave French cinema, as afterwards, with the world heavily focused itself on wars, somehow the coolness and style derived from everyday life has never been resurrected. Jean-Luc Godard played along with the gangster genre, injected the film with a straight narrative plot and voila! Anna Karina, Sami Frey, and Claude Brasseur formed a ‘two’s a company, three’s a crime’ presence that would take almost four decades later for Bernardo Bertolucci to pay a tribute in his The Dreamers. I can’t extend my comment as my mind’s filled with one word to sum this film : FUN!



La Promesse (Belgium, 1996)



I picked this film by coincidence, not knowing what film should I chose to meet my quota of 4 films that I can borrow for a week from the library, and I came across its cover which filled in the critics’ comments. Yeah, those so-called artwork designs really got me this time!

Yet, hardly I regret seeing this. In fact, watching this Belgian film exploring the tough life of its (mostly) illegal immigrants proved to be one of the few occurences in film watching where I had to applause over its decision to leave the film open-ended. Think of a good growing-up film combines with a darker version of Dirty Pretty Things, what you’ll get is an unforgettable ride in a fast pace of thrills in reality.



Manhattan (USA, 1979)



Like you, I also put Annie Hall as one of my favourite films. Like you, I also find Woody Allen is at his utmost peak of creative sharpness during this era. But to me, Manhattan tops it all with his more comprehend understanding on mature, adult, heterosexual relationship in a much more complicated yet endearing manner. Woody Allen may not be able to play any other character than himself, Diane Keaton may not completely shake off her Annie Hall persona yet, Meryl Streep may not be given enough exposure in her character’s lesbianism, the film itself may lack of quirkiness in which Annie Hall is more favorable, but Allen excels in his exploration of The Big Apple and its longing for stability in love, marking Manhattan, to me, a must-see for everyone wishes to understand essentiality of emotional fulfillment in a relationship.



DISCOVERY MENTION

Kal Ho Naa Ho (India, 2003)

I can sense a lot of smirks in the air.



“What a crap!”

“Aaarrggghhh … Bollywood!”

“Nehi nehi!”

“Goodness! What are you thinking?”



Do you want to know what I truly think?

I think this film was blessed with its well-thought setting in New York, allowing the atmosphere of the whole film to roam freely, not necessarily bound by the cliche, overused and poorly conceived stage set in Bombay. Yet, the director, Nikhil Advani (in his remarkable directorial debut here) manages within the limited space of The Big Apple to capture the feel of New Yorker and the city’s immigrants as reflected on the characterization of his actors here, at times silly, at times taking life as it is, at times struggling with their cultural identities.

It may still be artificial as any other Bollywood formulaic products, thankfully, perhaps taking a lesson or two from Douglas Sirks during his glorious days, Nikhil Advani believes that you can still deliver a knock-out film that will sweep off the audience and the critics’ feet over its believability, its superb editing, and its well-conceived direction.

For the first time, I applaud Shah Rukh Khan for having understood enough not to let his usual over-the-top dramatic presence hinders us from appreciating his character, his low-key performance proves good for him in showing that he can truly act, well, although I prefer for the top billing to be given to Preity Zinta as she manages to carry her role with her charismatic ingenue. However, my salute goes to two supporting actors.

Saif Ali Khan, despite his other-worldly handsome look which may work against him, does a surprising job gradually rising from a mere sidekick to be an inseparable element of the story, while maintaining his comic timing that never seems to get off-key. There’s a sense of relief for everytime he appears on the screen, be it a comical scene or a serious one, he’s never caught offguard, completely blend himself into his role in such a relaxing manner one can only wonder if it is his true persona or a mere acting.

In contrast, Jaya Bachchan delivers an understated, terrific performance as a mother burdened with a guilt and seeking redemption in her religion and detachment from her own root. Perhaps, she feels more freedom whenever she doesn’t have to act along her partner that will always surely overshadow any actor acted alongside him: Amitabh Bachchan.



Yes, I can’t believe I could give such a lengthy comment on a Bollywood film, but I speak honestly as I could remember even when I finished watching Kabhi Kushi Kabhie Gham, I did question terribly amount of flaws in the film.

The same experience did not occur with this film, in fact, it’s the other way around.

— Wait! It’s not over yet! Look out for THE 10 DVDs of The Year, coming up next! —

 
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Posted by on 12/12/2004 in English, Film

 

On Being Me.

Semalam aku tersentak ngeliat blognya mas Wisa.

Bukan karena dia mau nutup blognya.

Bukan karena shoutbox nya dia selalu jadi tempat nangkring dan nongkrong jutaan bloggers.

Tapi sedikit banyak tentang komentar dia tentang blog gue, dan blog orang-orang lain.

Mas Wisa udah berbuat apa yang selama ini masih jarang aku kerjain: nguwongke wong. Memanusiakan manusia. To humanize human beings. Dengan cara yang terbuka dan jujur, sesuai dengan kapasitas orang-orang yang disebut tersebut, to some extent until making some people blush with gladness.

Dan semua dilakukan dengan cara yang apa adanya selayaknya seorang manusia yang kebetulan berdarah Jawa.

Aha! Menjadi seorang Jawa.

Aku sendiri lahir tumbuh besar dilingkungan Jawa, walaupun penampakan fisik lebih diwarisi dari sisi bapak yang bukan Jawa. Dari kota dimana interaksi harian menggunakan bahasa Jawa yang banyak orang bilang “kasar!” itu, aku bermain, belajar, ngobrol, misuh-misuh pun pake bahasa Jawa! Ah, siapa sih yang ngga pernah misuh meskipun dalam hati? πŸ™‚

Ibu ku pun berasal dari satu kota di Jawa Tengah yang terkenal dengan kehalusan tata-krama, yang tentu aja berusaha diwariskan ke anak-anaknya dengan cara-cara halus, termasuk persiapan diri kala Lebaran mudik ke kota ini, bertingkah laku teramat hati-hati dengan sanak saudara yang laen.

Sebatas itukah ke-Jawa-an saya?

Sayangnya, iya.

Sampai akhirnya pernah dikala kuliah dulu aku belajar Modern Indonesian Literature, salah satu buku yang beruntung aku dapatkan adalah Para Priyayi-nya Umar Kayam.

Deg!

Buku ini berhasil membuat gue tercengang dan malu, sebagai orang yang ngakunya wong Jowo, tapi dalam tindak-tanduk, kelakuan dan proses pemikiran ngga mencerminkan kebaikan sifat-sifat ke-Jawa-an ini. Dengan bahasa yang indah, mudah dicerna dan mengalir bak riak sungai yang tenang, Umar Kayam membuka mataku tentang kekuatan seorang Jawa menghadapi hidup yang selalu berubah di sekelilingnya, namun dengan ketenangan yang diterjemahkan sebagai kekuatan diri menghadapi segala sesuatunya dengan pasrah dan nrimo namun mampu menempatkan diri di alam dunia ini lah yang membuat gue cuman menunduk, mempertanyakan ke-Jawa-an gue.

Tuh liat, udah mulai “gue” lagi πŸ™‚ Duh makasih deh buat para penggebrak sistem ‘global-village-concept’ dimana semua orang udah ga punya identification on distinctive culture yah, ngomong Jowo koq ono’ gue-elo! :p

Dan tentang kehilangan identitas ini juga yang gue rasakan ama jeng lincah belakangan ini, yang nick chat-nya selalu ber”wanita jawa”. Jadi inget, Anggun si penyanyi kita pernah bilang ke suatu majalah, “I’m proud to be a Javanese woman, she’s the utmost kind of woman above all kinds.”

Diskusi gue ama Imesh tentang wanita Jawa selalu berkisar pada suatu rumusan kalo wanita Jawa berarti wanita penyabar yang dengan segala kelemahlembutannya mampu meluluhlantakkan egoisme pria-pria, mampu mempengaruhi keputusan penting yang diambil oleh siapa pun, dengan segala kewanitaannya, dia menunjukkan sosok diri yang mandiri, kuat menghadapi naek turunnya hidup.

Berat!

Aku lihat ibuku sendiri, ibu rumah tangga yang juga punya usaha kecil-kecilan, pintar, ngga kenal kata capek, pulang pergi dari satu propinsi ke propinsi laen bisa dalam seminggu, tapi tetep merhatiin anak-anaknya dengan baek, ngajarin semua yang perlu diajarin, seorang pengemudi yang baik dan sangat cepat, hahahaha, seorang yang menekankan perlunya sekolah bener dan rajin beribadah, seorang partner buat bapakku yang setia dan sayang.

Bundaku. Meskipun logat Jawa nya tak sehalus kala dia tinggal bersama almarhum nenek dulu karena kelamaan gedein kita semua, tapi dia seorang wanita Jawa yang aku kagumi.

Kalo baca ini Mam, kacang pedes yang terakhir enak, soalnya lebih garing πŸ™‚



Seperti semua tulisanku yang menggantung dan tak pernah terselesaikan, begitulah kali ini.

Aku tetep seorang pria Jawa yang berusaha menggali dan mendalami sisi ke-Jawa-anku.

Cay, Onel, matur nuwun udah jadi sparing partner ngomong Jowo tiap hari di rumah, bikin rumah kita serasa di tanah air beneran.



— maunya nulis diiringi gending Jawa, tapi adanya cuman Carole King yang ‘Will You Love Me Tomorrow’, yo wis lah, daripada ga ada πŸ™‚ —


 
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Posted by on 12/08/2004 in Bahasa Indonesia