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Monthly Archives: April 2005

SIFFest Journey – Wednesday, 20 April 2005

(Siffest is the time when you’ve got to make sacrifice of your social life. Provided that your cliques are not film-buff like you. But if they are? Be prepared to get bored! You see them every day, you bump into them on every screenings, c’est la vie.)

Seriously I don’t feel like updating today, for some reason that is non-SIFFest related.

So, you notice that my shoutmix box is gone, and there was my brief history of life. But come to think of it, change is good, change is refreshing, so I welcome shouthuns, thanks to the rotten, outdated blog of my housemate.

Anyway, back to business.

There will come a day during your journey when you can’t help feeling a little bit exhausted, yet the quest has to go on, simply because we already paid a good fortune for it.
Or it could be that you’re just too tired after a day’s work, and this one goes out to 9-to-6 desk-bound office slave who happens to be cinephiles, like me. We just can’t help yawning, and no matter how good the film is, tiredness remains. Add the breezing, comforting sound of air conditioner and darkened hall of cinema, chances of us dozing off is still high.

There’s no film to blame, for the film like Whisky deserves more attention from audience, worldwide perhaps.

Whisky

After all, the film does its reminiscence of human behavior at its best. You see, some of us here might lead a life with usual, boring routine, like we go to work in the morning, waiting for the owner of the factory to open the door, do routine check among employees, go home at night to find an empty bed. Or worse, empty house.
Throw in a surprise visit of our relatives whom we haven’t seen for quite some time, then we’ve got the urge to present the best in us, no matter how we’ve got to create fakeness in the life we’ve comfortably had.

The result? Unexpectedly subtle.

Through the silence, we can feel the two main characters’ chemistry that is about to burst anytime. Their understanding, or rather misunderstanding, is so beautifully constructed through their detailed, delicate gesture that takes our utmost concentration to see.
They might not do much, but what is not spoken reveals much of their longingness and loneliness.

And what is not spoken tells me that I should get enough of proper rest, so as to not fall asleep during the screening again.

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Posted by on 04/20/2005 in English, Film

 

SIFFest Journey – Tuesday, 19 April 2005

(Siffest means abundance of hidden treasure awaiting to be discovered upon going to the cinemas and watch them yourself. Post-watching feelings, which can range from being satisfied to dumbfounded, is subject to our own’s perception, and pretty much our current state of mind.)
And to think that Siffest never attempts to be glossy and glitzy is pretty much justified by this conversation:

Jer : “Sorry for not returning your call last time. What’s up?”
Nov : “Huh? When?”
J : “Think it was Saturday lor …”
N : “Ooohhh! Oh! Yes, yes! It was over anyway. Got this extra ticket for one screening last Saturday. Eastern Sugar.”
J : “Aiyah, I couldn’t make it anyway. I’m not gonna watch any films in Siffest this year.”
N : (puzzled) “Whhhyyyy?”
J : “The film selections are sucks, man! What a crap! Don’t feel like watching any. Not as good as last year’s one, rite?”
N : “Eerrr .. Not really, though. You’ve got to keep on digging to find out the good ones.” *grin*
J : “Haiyah, dunno leh. How’s the attendance, not as many as last year’s, rite?”
N : “Surprisingly some shows are still sold-out, mah. Just now also.” (gue tau Bahasa Inggris gue ancur dah dari 5 taun yang lalu, stralah!)
J : “…”
N : “…”

There goes Jeremy, another F-buddy of mine who bid his much-regretted goodbye at this year’s fest.
And he’s not the only one.
I myself couldn’t stop questioning this year’s fest committee over their choices of films. As if adding salt to the wound, the rise of the ticket price heightened the curiosity on the matter.

However, at the end of the day, film fest experience is like an adventure to an uncharted territory. You might be taken aback at what the map shows you for its full of uncertainties. Surely Godard is the master of avant-garde cinema, but is he still up to the hype? Garin Nugroho goes mainstream this time, is it any good?
Dare to make choices, that’s the key to lure yourself into the free-falling experience of film festival.
You may dismiss Mike Figgis’s Hotel last time, or you may joy over Since Otar Left, perhaps. Whatever your mixed-feelings tells you, you will not just experience either side of emotional state upon completing your whole journey.

It might be too early to tell, but tonight, I had the best of both extremes.

Let’s start from the low-side, being dumbfounded and puzzled in confusion, thanks to Primer.

Primer

The first glance of its sephia-tone look revokes the memory of watching 70’s B-grade thriller, yet the premise turns in an unexpected way. The film tells about two engineers who work on (something) that will enable (the thing) to achieve (another thing).
The thing, that’s something I wasn’t able to figure out.

Yet, for a smart, slick thriller that is filled with too many scientific jargons, it is surprising to see how the film manages to keep its audience glued to the seat from the beginning to the very end. One or two old folks walked out, but that’s about it, and the rest of the audience, sadly that includes me, tried too hard to decipher the content of the film. Yet, in the end, I could only remember the look of the film, but nothing much. And that’s too much for an indie flick generating good buzz anywhere.

There’s nothing wrong with good buzz, though. Certainly the other film is worth every penny of good buzz it has currently enjoyed, and the enjoyment of this film (and in this film) is surely something that the whole audience will flock to see it over and over again.

Ladies and gentleman, the first film from the fest worth all the praises: Millions.

Millions

Imagine a colorful film filled with sharp-cutting editing, resulting in rich images similar to those you usually find in pop-up books.

Imagine a story drawn from the innocent child’s point of view, told with sincerity and honesty at their fullest.

Imagine a fairytale where imaginary characters come true in real life.

Imagine that being good in cynical world is still possible and rewarding.

And imagine.

The wholesome cuteness is a brain result from the direction of Danny Boyle who did, ahem, Trainspotting and 28 Days Later …, and the magical writing of Frank Cottrell Boyce who penned, ahem, 24 Hour Party People.

No matter how imaginative Millions might be, its charm appeals widely and strikes us, adults, who can’t help but crying in joyful over the lost innocence we have left long time ago.

Imagine, a film that leaves you feeling rich, as rich as Millions itself.

Millions by Danny Boyle

Imagine that such a treasured grace is found here in the dreary land of SIFFest.

 
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Posted by on 04/19/2005 in English, Film

 

SIFFest Journey – Mon, 18 April 2005

(Siffest means perfection, where lateness in the screening time does not happen and abrupt electrical failure is a big no-no during the screening.)

Oh really?

Tonite marked the rare occurence of sudden interruption due to the technical failure that happened exactly in the middle of the screening. Whereas such disturbance usually takes place in the beginning, luckily this jolt did not interrupt our viewing digestion.

You know exactly if this kind of thing is felt, then the film is surely something special to talk about.

Or perhaps we should personify this film as it carries the name that speaks of beauty and fragility.

Her name is Yasmin.

Yasmin

She is a Pakistani (Paki) woman, living a working-class life in UK whose self-esteem life was shaken to the core due to the unfortunate event of 9’11”. Her family is torn apart, her shelter of love life shatters, her breadwinning job dismisses her, and she begins questioning the faith she believes in.

So much of paranoia is shown vividly throughout the entire film, some might be a good dose of humor, at times turning this film to a dark comedy territory.
Yet, most of the time, the film speaks to the hearts of minorities everywhere, what it’s like to be seen and treated differently while what you’ve got, is only yourself to stand up tall and straight.

Simon Beaufoy‘s tight script allows the film to move flawlessly for us to see what it’s like to be a part of society being the object of hatred from the bigger cliques.
Kenneth Glenaan‘s marvellous direction swifts nicely for us to feel like being inside the film.
And carrying the titular role, Archie Panjabi couldn’t be more believable in portraying her well-drawn character.


The way she whisks her husband to obey her.

The way she surrenders to reality.

The way she laughs at hedonism.

Finally, a film that is worth standing ovation for its bravery and independent spirit in showing the real world as it is.

But, what about that failure disruption?

Well, what failure disruption?

 
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Posted by on 04/18/2005 in English, Film

 

SIFFest Journey – Sun, 17 Apr 2005

(Siffest is annual pilgrimage for film-enthusiasts in Singapore where suddenly Shaw Towers building feels alive, thanks to the flock of people who seem to have lack of choices except to roam around the almost-dead building while waiting for their screenings.)

It may be best to get yourself feeling full, but not bloated, after taking lunch, for it helps you survive through the afternoon-session of film screenings, be them for 2 pm or 4 pm show.

In fact, heavy lunch will not knock you down to sleep, you’ve got enough energy to sustain and to keep you awake throughout art-y flicks which are initially made solely based on ideas, without any intention for the makers to put themselves in audience’s shoes. Any audience intended, and that means their own group of niche market.

Yet, there is still quite a number of audience who are willing to take the risk of bracing themselves in fronting these self-ego work of arts. The ocean of 12 people in Singapore History Museum this afternoon who gathered to see Faozan Rizal‘s labor of love film, Aries, is the pool of people with different background united in the spirit of Zen: peacefulness.

Which translates nicely into dozing off.

Aries

Whether these audience had a big lunch like what I had had is beyond my knowledge, but their ability to stay throughout the real surrealist film amazed me, eventhough it had to be paid off with missing a few scenes, thanks to the sleep.

On the other hand, having too much of your meal for dinner did not serve well if you watch Notre Musique afterwards. The latest from one of the icons in French New-Wave movement, Jean-Luc Godard, the film starts with horrifying images of living in the world as one helluva hell on earth. Move forward, we begin to unravel the film as interrogative proclamation on bridging endless philosophic question of life/death, hell/heaven, and subtly, freedom/restriction.

Notre Musique

Gone was the signatural off-beat and hip style of Godard, certainly the major reason among most of the audience why they chose to attend this screening instead of more popular Tarnation. Depending on how one sees this part-documentary, part-narrative film, I find Godard sings his film a little off-key, and the false note might be a little too much for some audience who decided to walk out when the film has not even reached its half point.

Just like one’s feeling after eating what he craves for, so much of the anticipation yet you don’t get enough satisfaction.

 
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Posted by on 04/17/2005 in English, Film

 

SIFFest Journey – Sat, 16 Apr 2005

(Siffest stands for Singapore International Film Festival which turns 18 this year. A little above being under-age, but can’t be considered mature enough. Nice!)

This year supposed to be my, what, fifth or sixth year of experiencing Siffest? Yet there’s one thing keeps being repeated every year and you may accuse me of being ignorant or never learned from the past mistake:

extra rest or enough sleep for the next day’s 11 am show.

Because staying up late the night before would only result in waking up late the next day, and you’ve got to rush to the inaccessible Shaw Towers which takes about 30-45 minutes to reach from your place of stay. Add the mulling of Aki’s inability to find anyone up to the extra ticket he had, an anxiety over being late, the unforgivably dark cinema hall of Jade 2 that made us have to head almost blindly in searching for our seats, my first film of the fest this year turned out to be quite a mediocre, not as bad as last year’s bumpy start of Little Men though, if we talk about ‘watchable’.

Eastern Sugar (Szezon), the entry from Hungary, is being placed under time schedule that surely left its intended audience scratching their heads. An R21 (only 21 years old and above are permitted) film shown at the hour when most adults are still on the bed having hangover from the euphoria of Friday nite’s out? And the question is justified by the presence of its impossibly gorgeous cast of actors that seem to be taken out directly from any porn films.
Yet, those quality prevail in making people still turn their head and glued to the film until the end, although the film may have nothing much to boast about, except the overtly done homo-erotic tones which overlaps its half-baked story.

Szezon

On the other hand, a film with quite an apparent corny title like When Beckham Met Owen made a delightful passing time activity.
Shot in digital format, the film presents an unpolished look of suburban life in Hong Kong, and this time it centers around rite passage of manhood from two school boys who embark on the quest of figuring out their sexual orientation, effortlessly.
Throw in the usual element of a girl in between the two, harsh life of lower-middle class neighborhood, the film has its charms as shown through many inside jokes that never fail to crack the audiences up. Too many of the jokes may seem to fill in the screntime of the film, leaving a forgettable abrupt ending that does not serve to be in synch with the comic potential of the film.

When Beckham Met Owen

Still a great start after all, a fabulous encounter with an old friend who is truly a survivor of the region’s film festivals, and he’s none other than Zefri, my F-buddy whom I’m sure we’ll get to see each other more often the next days onwards.

That’s just one, more to come.

 
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Posted by on 04/16/2005 in English, Film

 

Behind the Scenes

The woman: Are you ready to be the one behind the screen?
Myself: (
shocked, but continued slicing the pizza) Hmmm … I don’t know.

How is one supposed to know?

For what we tend to see is the surface, the out-est look (if such a term exists!) of whatever or whoever we wish to see. From the glamour misleading images in glossy magazines to Hollywood trashy flicks that only lunatic minds would bother watching Son of the Mask or Uptown Girls, we only get to see the image-representatives. It’s fun to watch Paris Hilton mulling around, but do we ever get to see her secretary or manager frantically try to launch her projected persona?
Raise hands if you are aware that E.T. would never work well without John Williams‘s score.

Who’s John Williams?

Nevermind.

But I do care about him, so much so that I prevented him winning at this year’s Academy Awards as his works in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban is a mere light of dust compared to the winner, Jan A.P. Kaczmarek‘s take on Finding Neverland.
I care about Anne V. Coates‘s quick-cut editing style in Out of Sight, for it heightens the slick, cool look Steven Soderbergh wishes to convey.

And you all have read my previous entry ‘On Faithful Characters’. How I admire those roles of supportive characters standing proudly next to their partners, husbands, wives, lovers, and they put their utmost parts of heart and soul to, willingly, stay behind and be a strong pillar who stabilize and balance the relationship they embark.

Do they do it instantly? Don’t they ever wish secretly to steal the spotlight and have the center attention of the world fall on them?

For God sake, I can assure you they do!

Once in a while, when the world seems to hinder from them all the time, when tangible achievement matters most, when the world unfairly shifts to embrace the beauty of outside, the ones staying behind do not react.
Why?

Indeed. Why? Why bother?

Why bother of self-proclaimed achievement if at the end of the day, Winona Ryder still serves Daniel-Day Lewis faithfully in The Age of Innocence? And she does it with smile, a proud smile that goes unrecognizable at times, sinking behind the overflowing praise of her successful husband?

Why bother for Tommy Lee Jones in Coal Miner’s Daughter to show-off himself when you know that it is more relieving to see Sissy Spacek as Loretta Lynn started to taking the world by storm?

Why bother of one’s own happiness when you are happy to see your girlfriend smiling? Your boyfriend laughing? Your wife’s pride of you?

The woman: One of the biggest achievements in my life is when I got married to him.
Myself: (
wandering sight) I see. (looking at her directly, wide smile) I can see that.


– Delifrance, West Mall 21/03/05 –

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Posted by on 04/12/2005 in English

 

A Day that was …

11 April 2005.

The day was Monday, and as the number creeping up to 26 years of age (which also means creeping down to the grave sooner), the following is 26 ways of surviving your birthday, provided if you were born in 1979.

Read, and let our signatural song of “1979” from Smashing Pumpkins fill in the air!

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1) Clear up the Inbox space of your mobile or cellular phone as you may expect flood of SMS-es, from a mere of “Happy Birthday, Nopal” to a long poem.

2) Get a late-nite/early-morning sleep on the eve of your birthday. No matter how you may wish to make people understand that actually you were born at 1 pm, the concept of “i’m-the-first-one-to-greet-you” has become something to be proud of.

Oh well, come to think of it, by midnight of the same day 26 years ago, my mum might be in hospital and waiting for the operation the next day.

3) Turn on all the chatting softwares your computer has, eventhough you have not used them for quite significant amount of time. People may just knock on your username to say something like “oh, dear! this is your last nite of being 25!”

4) And if you are not comfortable with your age, stick to the age you are most at ease being in.
I’m forever 21, enough said.

5) Arian loves surprises, be it as a doer or a recipient. In this case, I salute Dody for dedicating a precious slot in his popularly populated (goodie gawd!) blog to extend a birthday greeting to me.

Aaawwwww! Thank you, Dod!

Utmost thank will be given if only my picture there is, ahem … well .. urm … Oh God, you just ruin my chance to be a celebrity!

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6) Be patient in dealing with people who are “not good at remembering birthdays” (Eko dear, you’re included!), so chances are you might be prompted with questions you have to swallow painfully like, “It’s tonite, right?”

7) Referring to the point above, remember that when you fall, do it gracefully. When you are caught forgetting one’s birthday, the last thing that you may say is something like,
“Oh, well, I think I have to cross the road now, talk to you later!” (courtesy of a sleeping-but-not-beauty girl).

8) You’ve gotta have a soundtrack of your birthday! And the song might be something that you incidentally stumble into. So don’t deny if it has to be from Manis Manja Group or Meggy Z. Whew …
Luckily, I’ve never encountered such a mishap. This year, mine happens to be I String Along With You from Diana Krall.

9) Of course, play that song over and over again, to make your short sleep into a peaceful sleep, leaving a smile on your face. Regardless the continuous buzz on your cellphone next to you, the birthday sleep should be one sleep you remember most.

10) OK, you are still struggling with your financial condition, you barely make enough saving at the end of the month, so strictly from the beginning you’ve gotta state that : Ngga Ada Traktiran Yaaa …
Thou shalt not fall unto temptation and pleas from other people begging for that.

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11) Twinnie!

12) Having someone to celebrate your birthday with is more than what you can ask for, but having someone whose birthday is the same as yours, that’s a sinful indulgence which by any means is legal to indulge yourself into.

13) Keep that thought, for no matter how the actual day went by, reeling on to the thought helps easing your hectic day.

14) Which could have been avoided easily by: Never Going to Work on Your Birthday! This applies if you do a) job that you dislike, b) inconducive workplace where no one cares about you, c) combination of both.

15) It’s your birthday, you are at work, your work volume is way down, how you should treat yourself? Break all the rules! Login to your YM and MSN way early, and you’d never know how you may end up into!
Usual greetings aside, you may find yourself in a curhat-session with the icon of “Desperate Housewives” and Kartini’s Day-born Kathy, but there can be no more fun than indulging in a bitching session over Zhang Ziyi with that Kartini-follower and half pair of the white-pants couple.

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16) Love the fact that people are trying hard to accomodate your needs, regardless how illogical it may be. I mean, when else you can ask bakal calon artis wannabe not to wear black on your birthday dinner?

17) In addition, going to a crowded mall like Jurong Point to spend some leisure time over light meals is hardly logical, and surely this resulted from the messed up of mind over the thought “it’s your birthday, pamper yourself!“.
So thank you my housemate, my sleeping-but-not-beauty friend and my long lost friend Rika over the companion.

18) You might be facing the reality that today’s not exclusively for you and your beloved one. Apparently, some people came up to me and saying that the day also happened to be their friend/relative/uncle/colleague’s birthday.
So, Twinnie, I guess our April 11-blog will see its daylight very soon.

19) Be insecure: your parents ask you to gain some weight.

20) Old-fashioned birthday card sent via express delivery has to be higlighted here as it took some painstaking effort to present that. Grab the spotlight, Ray Bona!

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21) The garing-est sms:

Met ultah pal! Buset dah lewat 1/4 abad. Hahaha. Untung dah dapet kado kesuksesan nulis di jakarta post. Koran org kaya. Huhu lgs dapet ‘upah’ iMac.

(courtesy of a guy best asked to go out at the last minute before he bombarded you with questions like: “ntar mo kemana?” – “sama siapa?” – “naek apa?” – “pake baju apa?” – “pake sepatu ato sendal?” etc., and closed with “gue ngga ikut deh!”)


22) The fab-est sms:

Happy birthday dear. Mg2 all ur wishes come true, tambah mature, ktemu pacar yg tepat and tambah ganteng kaleee. Hehehehe

(and I responded immediately: Yang dua terakhir udah 101% keturutan kaleeeee!)


23) The underlook sms of this year:

Dear Cinta, hope u feel very, very, very happy on ur bday … because u’re very, very, very loved! =D *pluk cium kamu bareng Bambang* jd jgn bete2 di ktr a nanti. Lembur pas bday udah jd hak paten gue! Huhu…

(courtesy of my Cinta who gave a lovely spoil of my birthday present, so sweettttt!)


24) The clueless-turned-thoughtful sms of this year:

Jeng jeng, gw udah ngantuk bgt ney, maunya nunggu persis teng-nya tgl 11.. Tp disana udah kan? So, i really wish you a happy birthday! Gw yakin, the existence of your tweenie (spelling! -ed.) would make this bday memorably great. Kamu smoga sukses ya, in love and life. Pasaran bgtkah, bday wishesny? Hehe. But i do sincerely wish you so. Salam bday buat your twinnie jg ya. Met hepi2 di bday keliyan.. Muach!! Ps: slain tiket ke sing/jkt, ada bday wishlist? 🙂

(courtesy of the bride-to-be who amazed me with her ability to type such a long msg! ok Fin, grab that iBook and iPod for me please, along with the return ticket of sing-barcelona-ankara-barcelona-sing! huahahah!)

25) Yeah, I know, you must be curious of THE ONE sms. Remember, tacky corny silly utterances prove to spice up your relationship:

i was born to love you / with every single day of my life / i was born to take care of you / with every single beat of my heart …

(ok deeeehhhh, i’m speechless, hueheheheheh!)

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26)

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Thank you.


Lots of love,


Nauval.

 
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Posted by on 04/11/2005 in English