Monthly Archives: May 2005

Janji Joni

Joko Anwar knows a thing or two about films, and for sure, he’s having a good time in it.

Why? Because to him, a film has to please himself, which eventually will lead to pleasing the audience.

Indeed, the joy was infectious in his directorial debut here, a film that enhances his liking and expertise about the film study itself. Yet, the premise seems fresh, for the film differs itself from any other film-about-film in terms of the angle it chooses to base the story on. This time, Joko cleverly avoids the usual overused story of film-making process and its chaotic madness surrounding it. Instead, Joko dares to narrate his film from one side we often overlook in our cinema-going experience: a film roll carrier.

We may cheer for the refreshing take on how rare the blue collar story being brought up to be the center of attention in a world often associated with glitz and glamour, yet the question that prevails is whether the presence of the film roll carrier has its own distinction to make this film different from any other films.

There can be no definite answer for the query as we follow the film and immediately be charmed by some strong premise of eye catching opening scenes and a few comical early scenes. The story then follows the adventure of Joni (played by the surprisingly beefy Nicholas Saputra), who works as the film roll carrier and on one eventful day, his bag containing the film roll is stolen. Strange and illogical as it may seem, this is the playful time of Joko in disobeying the rule of chronological order of time, instead filling the screen with larger-than-life experiences of Joni in meeting up with some distinguishable characters who often pose threats to steal the spotlight from the main character, Joni, himself.

But really, who cares?

Nicholas, who seems to be at ease playing the title role here, looks enjoying a good time to be surrounded by great number of more talented cast. If those actors have to be reduced to be having mediocre presence, then this has got to be something worth sacrificing in order to keep up the light atmosphere of the film. Particularly Rachel Maryam, one of the better actors in Indonesian film scene who is not given a chance to develop her character to be either likeable or be a villain. Instead, her presence suggests that this film has many disposable statures that provided being removed, the film would still go on well.

Janji Joni

All in all, the key to enjoy the film is to set aside the deafening soundtrack (something that Joko still needs to work on more), and to furthest extent, save the cynicism of endless debate on how an Indonesian film should be, Joko gives us something worth noting:

When was the last time we had a good, genuine laugh in cinema watching a film made in Indonesia by Indonesians?

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Posted by on 05/30/2005 in English, Film


truth is …

i miss you in every sense of missing the one i love.

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Posted by on 05/30/2005 in English


Do We Forget to Rest?

7 hari seminggu, 5 hari kerja, 2 hari istirahat.


Yang ada biasanya malah terlalu semangat ngerjain segala macem hal yang tertunda, yang udah jadi impian dari hari Senen.
Kurang istirahat lagi, capek lagi, males kerja lagi.

Let’s see.
Jumat malem kemaren saya udah buru-buru keluar dari kantor buat ngejar press screening nya “Eros”, film pendeknya Wong Kar Wai, Steven Soderbergh ama Michelangelo Antonioni, saking buru-burunya sampe harus berani resiko naek taksi di tengah jam macet orang pulang kerja. Kelar nonton, langsung pulang, cuci baju, nyetrika dan ngutak ngatik komputer baru sambil masih bingung ngutak ngatik komputer malem.

Sabtu pagi harus dimulai dengan lupa janji meeting karena musti nemenin adik kelas SMA yang dateng kesini, dan ini berarti nganterin jalan-jalan a la turis. Padahal malemnya masih ada latian IAF yang untungnya deket rumah, dan kalo dah latian ini, diakhiri dengan nongkrong di warung pojoknya kampung londo. Sialnya lagi, koq ya saya ga gampang tidur kalo dah kecapekan. Solusinya? Bersih-bersih kamar, rombak rak buku! Baru deh tidur, tapi masih kebayang kalo …

Minggu adalah hari upik abu! Kelar nyapu, ngepel, setrika, ngopi, langsung berangkat ke warehouse sale-nya MPH Bookstore nun jauh di Expo yang deket ama Changi Airport itu. Setelah leyeh-leyeh sejenak, trus langsung direcokin kabar,

“Nopal sayaaaannngg, aku punya kabar gembira untukmu” housemate saya senyum-senyum sambil megang wajan
“Apaaaaaaannn?” sambil masang sepatu siap pergi
“Minggu ini elo dapet kehormatan bersiin kamar mandi ama toilet yaaa”
“Maaaakkkk! Ntar maleeeemmmmm!”


Here I am, pulang dari kiasu ngantri beli buku, bersih2 kamar mandi, dan dalam sejam lagi, udah diajakin dinner Komang (minus Acay yang lagi mudik). Not to mention that I was trapped into temptation of borrowing 4 DVDs from Esplanade Library yesterday … I know, it is addictive, and I’ve been an addict since the library opened 3 years ago.

Kalo udah gini, ngga bisa ngeluh juga kan?

Paling-paling kecapekan, or make it ekstra kecapekan, karena saya dan beberapa orang temen yang saya tau pun bukanlah tipe orang-orang yang bisa dengan enak tidur cukup selama weeknites. Let alone sleeping, lha wong pulang kantor aja musti ngeluyur dulu, even if that means going to … supermarket alone! Hihihihihi … Ngga banget yah?

Dan kecapekan ini kadang-kadang yang ngga terlalu kita perhatiin, baru kerasa kalo misalnya lagi trekking di Tioman kaya Acay minggu kemaren. Ngaku nya sih ga capek, tapi kalo pas ngumpul-ngumpul, ngumpet di pojokan tidur yah? Hahahahah!

Anyway, ini emang postingan ga penting, tapi cuman heran aja, apa iya kita terlalu sibuk grabbing as many things as possible, and doing it so much so to the extent that we often neglect the importance of REST?

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Posted by on 05/29/2005 in Bahasa Indonesia


one’s perspective.

how do we begin to realize that we are fully committed to a relationship of ours?

when we start seeing our world from our partner’s point of view, unknowingly.

(billie holiday – you don’t know what love is/until you’ve learned the meaning of the blues/until you’ve loved a love you’ve had to lose/you don’t know what love is …)

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Posted by on 05/27/2005 in English


suddenly …

… i remember,
once your presence mattered.

how are you?

you were there on that foggy sunday
existence may differ, yet the jolt still blew me away

from gestures to smiles
from glances to laughs
from whisks to mirks

how are you?

i haven’t gotten a chance to tell the truth
of how often i forget you

not because it wasn’t pure
it’s just because i can’t have you.

cheesy as it might be
i can’t seem to stop whispering in a glee,

how are you?

how are you?

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Posted by on 05/26/2005 in English


Take a Break.

Dear bloggers,

So many stories to tell, so much feeling to share.

But then, as blogging is dependent on the existence of PERSONAL computer, therefore allow me to withdraw myself for a while, secara …


Nauval’s Toshiba Satellite. RIP. 1999-2005.

Too early to be buried, too late to be taken care of.

However, kalo ada yang tau proses data recovery, then let’s hope that my life is not going six-feet under with it.


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Posted by on 05/25/2005 in Bahasa Indonesia


(and i can’t think of any titles, i’m too thrilled!)

alright, here i am again. i can’t keep my excitement inside very well …

Give me a chance to catch my breath
Cause I’m in a state of awe
Guess miracles do never cease
For we’re back together now

Pardon me please if I pinch myself
So to know this is not a dream
As I reminisce the love we shared
And the pain there was between

Look at the clouds in the sky
They seem so happy now
Look at the sun, feel its rays
With such a smiling face
Maybe we can’t but maybe we can
With the love that we’re feeling inside
Share it with all the world and see each heart
Kiss lonely good-bye

let the countdown begins. it’s just a moment away …

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Posted by on 05/20/2005 in English


Summer Storm

When something considered as ‘unusual’ is brought up, and that ‘unusuality’ strikes our attention, we may forget the flaws it may bring.

I can’t help comparing the film above to this particular documentary film called Capturing the Friedmans, although upon first impression, you may ask:

“How can you compare a gay-themed drama to a raw documentary on pedophilia?”

Without any doubt the two films differ greatly from one another in terms of content, but if we look carefully towards the latter, we will see how the documentary has been unbelievably polished and carefully staged to soften otherwise disturbing theme on one particular sexual behavior. There is no a clear stand on the film maker’s point of view which may prompt the audience to be sided with certain perspective, the disturbing theme is presented as a matter-of-fact manner, with a little touch-up on dramatic movements.

Such a fashion also propels Arisan to stardom of popularity among its niche market, and now, the similar path is also followed by Summer Storm.

Summer Storm

Definitely made to please its own intended audience, the film relies heavily on visual presence of its actors who manage to force us in our seat until the credit rolls out. Apart from that, the story of coming-out-as-gay-trapped-in-a-straight-man-world slids nicely like a taste of lollipop melting in our mouth, without leaving any impression or remembrance.

Yet, like the sweet lollipop who enthralls us with its eye-catching colorful wrap, so does the film in turning itself into one predictable set-up. A guy falls in love with his fellow teammate who wants to embark on a sexual encounter with his girlfriend, and the whole journey of sexual discovery seems to be disposable at any given time by the gorgeous parade of good looking Caucasian actors basking under the sun during the summer season.

And when the summer ends, characters have transformed themselves to be more contented individuals, the life-changing problems are left behind easily as mere dust in the wind, we finish watching one watchable film, we can only wonder:

an ordinary theme presented differently, or an unusual story brought up plainly?

Summer Storm

What a waste to the latter.

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Posted by on 05/18/2005 in English, Film


Hiroshima, Mon Amour

The question is:
How not to fall in love with this film?

From its spellbinding story that solely focuses on the subject of romance itself, we are taken to the world of Hiroshima in 1950s, fresh from its still-open wound due to the unapologetic bombing.
Such a captivating backdrop would deem unthinkable by any conventional norms of making a regular love story, and in fact, it only suits for the making of documentary on world-peace.

This is when Alain Resnais does his playful duty at its best.

Transforming a work of art that was initially conceived as a documentary and turning it into a fictional narrative drama would be a no easy feat. The gritty look of real life is hard to justify to match the aloof look of drama, yet, as magic as the film itself, the two are juxtaposed nicely so as to give the romance theme a stronger, more harsh look, yet it is still based on the lovelorn story of unrequited relationship.

Subtle and demanding our full attention, the film follows the story of a French actress who embarks on a brief affair with a Japanese architect during filming of her latest film in Hiroshima. Both are happily married with their own spouses, yet as the time draws near for the woman’s flight to return to her native land, the lovebirds have to face that one question clouding over their heads: who’s to stay and who’s to leave?

After the anonymosity of name and time, never before such a simple, one word answer, would be so captivating.

Hiroshima, Mon Amour

Why do we love this film?

Because “… you have such an abundance desire to love“.

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Posted by on 05/14/2005 in English, Film


Welcome to ‘Kingdom of Heaven’, and please, be Politically Correct, or else …

… you won’t be able to enjoy and accept the film wholeheartedly.

Put the mild controversy on historical content aside, Ridley Scott gives us an important lesson: how to make a satisfying epic?

Simply by making the epic as something to enrich the mind, without forgetting to create a crisp cinematography look that will enthrall us to our seats. And by enriching the mind, the epic needs to tackle something as sensitive as religious matters and handle the subject in such a way that it tries to please a wide range of people.

The result will inescapably be something considered as ‘politically-correct’, but for once, in the midst of big-bang epic that dwells on glorifying gory scenes, Kingdom of Heaven leaves us believing, once again, that peace is as sacred as religion itself. An overrated theme as it may be, but peacefulness, according to Scott, goes beyond understandings of religions.

And this is what the film manages to capture.

Yet, perhaps Orlando Bloom‘s blundered performance that fails to carry the film on his shoulder may disrupt the intensity of the film, and we choose to rely on the strong ensemble of supporting cast. Set aside this unfortunate fact, then Scott’s bait for Oscar next year may be considered as one of his under-appreciated works, following the trail of Matchstick Men and others.

For once, being polite seems to be a distance in the increasingly brainless crowd.

Kingdom of Heaven

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Posted by on 05/13/2005 in English, Film


some egoism.

what is it like, to see yourself inside other people’s being?

when you’re supposed to acknowledge their existence, yet your egoism draws you back, only to think of your own being’s benefits?

or actually the need to see yourself clearly and truthfully begins to emerge, so much so that it actually needs to be triggered from other people’s journey?

how can you be strong when you are required to be so in the first place, rather than start questioning hoop of holes circling around your life?

whoever says that they are never taken aback by other people’s misfortune, is it as pure as a lie or a mere coincidence?

or those who shamelessly rips off the good sides of the unfortunate events and apply them to themselves, who are we to judge and to condemn?

where does it go from here? to a long-lasting thoughtful thinking process.

why does it have to happen? to ensure that life still goes on.

and tonight my dear free-spirited one,
your dearly beloved soul may spin your life around.

but tomorrow and the day after,
your angelic strokes,
your twisted moves,
your trembling chords,
they prevail until the end.


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Posted by on 05/08/2005 in English


post-SIFFest: capsule reviews

bloated, in a certain way.

some common symptoms occur when a journey has been completed, and if it is film-related, then there’ll be no better cure than basking ourselves in watching any films which are not part of a film festival.

as much as rejuvenation is needed, i cannot help noting that there are quite a number of ‘smaller’ scale film-festivals around at the moment, exactly entailing siffest.
i know that getting a slot time for exhibiting films under an umbrella of a film festival is quite a challenging task here in singapore, for the insufficient number of cinema screens available to accomodate such events.
but then, dear organizers, if you really wanted your intended niche-market audience to attend the festivals, then give us a little time to catch our breath. it doesn’t take long to settle ourselves, a mere week or two will do.

and isn’t it time to indulge in summer blockbusters?

coming soon! meanwhile, i settled myself with the following selections below, which may not be a total redemption of self-fulfillment, instead, some of them turn out to be a burder. let’s see …

on tentang dia:

i can’t believe that my intelligence was insulted. enough said.

on the interpreter:

if it’s meant to be an old-fashioned, mild hollywood political thriller, then it serves its purpose well. although to achieve that particular intention, sydney pollack certainly wasted a lot of resources, particularly the set itself.

on forgotten silver (from new zealand film festival):

i wish i had not known earlier about the surprise of the film! peter jackson is one lunatic film-maker who always has fun in making all of his films.

on two cars, one night (from new zealand film festival):

the almost-impossibly gorgeous black-and-white cinematography done in quick-cut editing does the film’s Academy Award nomination more than a justice. its 11-minute duration seems to short for, ahem, a short film worth repeated viewings.

on in my father’s den (from new zealand film festival):

what started as seemingly a promo-material for ‘visit new zealand campaign’ or the likes of it, thanks to the country’s breathtaking scenery perfectly captured in the film, turned out to be a powerful drama with smart plot twists that makes the audience glued to the seat until the credit ends.
a nuanced film with a right dose of emotional punches shown in the actors’ performances, the film carried us deeper into examining a family’s life that leaves us thinking, this is not just another dsyfunctional families as shown in any other films.

In My Father's Den

the only one that is worth watching for the past week.

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Posted by on 05/08/2005 in English, Film


Pusing-Pusing di Malaysia

harap maklum.
gue harus dan amat sangat wajib nulis postingan berikut dalam bahasa indonesia, karena menyangkut kecacatan pemakaian bahasa kita versus bahasa negeri tetangga yang entah kenapa ngaku nya dari rumpun yang sama, tapi kenyataannya … eerrr … mending baca dulu deh ya.

dan Az, sorry ye, kali ini elo harus agak-agak maklum! *sambil nyodorin sebungkus sampoerna buat bekep mulut*

jadi begini lho.
di hari minggu awal mei kemaren, setengah lusin pemuda ganteng yang terdiri dari gue, acay, donatus, dono, sus-bay ama hani, berbondong-bondong menuju tanah johor bahru di negeri seberang buat nonton pelem ‘tentang dia’.

setelah mengalami kemaluan besar-besaran gara-gara disuruh diem dalam bis ama si supir saking ributnya kami (ini juga masalah ama orang sini, ga tau yah kalo orang indonesia dah dikumpulin 3 orang lebih tuh bakal bacot semua! – red.), tibalah kami di negeri tetangga yang ga disiplinnya membuat kami kangen kampung halaman. mirip abis!

nah, setelah puas makan kenyang bayar murah berikut jalan2, tibalah kami sampai di depan bioskop, dengan merelakan dono yang udah nonton pelem itu, jadi kepisah sendirian nonton guess who.

to cut the story short deh (excluding bau kaki plus nonton ama donatus yang berarti neraka dunia – red.), akhirnya tembang dari melly goeslaw mengalun mengiringi pembukaan pelem tentang dia.

kapan-kapan aja gue mo ceritain pelem jelek nan ancur ini, yang bikin gue mo nabok sutradara ama penulis skenarionya.
yang penting, bayangkan lah nonton pelem indonesia di malaysia tuh sama dengan menyaksikan pelem itu …

ber-subtitle bahasa melayu!

dan parahnya lagi, subtitle alias terjemahan ini yang bikin gue semakin memaki-maki pelem ini.
kalo emang itu bahasa slang kita yang perlu diterjemahin buat penonton malaysia, boleh-boleh aja dong, misalnya:

X: … dibilang pinter, masih pinteran elo juga!
(terjemahan: … dikatakan pandai, lebih pandai kau pula!)
Y: ember!
(terjemahan: memang!)

tapi bayangkan kalo ada teks seperti ini, waktu karakter yang bernama Rudi diajak ngomong:

X: aku ngga mau kamu pergi, Di
(terjemahan: aku tak mau kamu pergi, Rud)

eits, tapi itu belum seberapa yah.
menjelang akhir kehancuran pelem ini, ada satu dialog yang krusial banget buat cerita pelem, dan lebih baek diliat sendiri subtitlenya:

X: … dia sudah kabur dari rumah waktu masih muda
(terjemahan: … dia sudah pergi dari rumah ketika berusia 15 tahun) !!!!!

aduh tolong ye pakcik makcik yang bagian ngetik terjemahan! emang Didi Petet buka mulut bilang “liiiimmaaaaa belllaasss” ato “masssiihhhh mmuuddaaa” yah!
trus ukuran ‘masih muda’ emang lima belas taun yah, padahal jelas-jelas di layar lebar depan muka keliatan kalo anaknya juga masih es-de ato primary school!

tapi “untung”nya, tulisan terjemahan itu pada pake warna putih semua, jadi kita-kita ngga keganggu ama kalimat-kalimat sesat itu, tinggal penonton malaysia aja pada pusing bacanya.

malaysia emang bikin pusing! 😀

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Posted by on 05/06/2005 in Uncategorized


Off, Literally.

i’m on a training for a week.



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Posted by on 05/03/2005 in English