Knowing that the film is submitted to some international film festivals, I joked with my friend about how they might translate the film into English. Will it be “Purple Violet” or perhaps “Violet, Violet”? Such a redundancy, in fact, since there’s no character by the name of Violet in the film, unlike “Eliana, Eliana”, aptly titled as the story revolves around the girl by the name of Eliana.
Considering the fact that I’ve been living away from Indonesia most of the time, I have to settle seeing the film as distributed by a Malaysian film distributor, and that means I have to compromise my patience not to bitch about the “suitable” Malay subtitle shown throughout the film. By any means, English subtitle is a must for a film like this to avoid any confusion in matching the dialogues and the written words, and I believe any Malaysian films imported to Indonesia (like there’s any, though), should be having English subtitle as well, so as to not getting bitched about by audience well-conversed in the similar two languages.
Now, you might be wondering that this is not my habit of spending two paragraphs talking about anything but the film itself. Not that the film itself is a trash material. In fact, the film has some standout scenes that work well to present good quality on being a melodrama movie. Particularly, those scenes belong to most of the time Dian Sastro and Rima Melati act together. The former girl has injected much of herself in the character, an assumption made from the fact that Dian is indeed a model, and one of the brands in which she is the spokesperson of is featured in the dialogues, thus seeing her comfortably bringing out her character is a pleasant to watch. The latter actress is a senior actress who has mastered her dramatic skill never deters along with the passage of time, and on her final scene with Dian where they talk over the phone yet they do not reveal many words, is indeed heartbreaking. Rima successfully shows us a master class of conveying a convincing act without uttering, or worse, screaming words, but rather, inhibit them, and projecting the intended meaning to the outer facial expression.
Sadly, the same cannot be said to the leading actor, Rizky Hanggono. In his leading role debut here along with two more established performers, Rizky seems trying hard to catch up while maintaining his supposedly cool looks, which unfortunately translates as blank, incompetent looks on the screen. If he thinks that his words help him carrying the role, he could not be more wrong, as his words were kept to minimum in this visually generous (yet less gorgeous) film.
Emphasizing more on Rizky, I partly blame his failure to the director, Rako Prijanto (am I having a Freudian slip to type wrongly, that the directorial credit belongs to Rudi Sudjarwo? It feels like Rudi’s film all over the place, though).
Rako should have known the limitations on Rizky’s ability in donning his lack of dramatic acting skills, and the fact that Rizky was given lesser dialogues, quantity and quality wise, is perfectly acceptable. Yet, during Rizky’s scene with blink-and-you-miss presence of the always reliable Niniek L. Karim, when the camera zooms in on his non-expressive look and forcing him to shift within seconds to project extremely different feelings from laughing silly to drastically becomes sobbing uncontrollably, Rizky simply fails to nail it down. The effect was laughable throughout, and worse when the scene was shown for more than three seconds, immediately registering to this writer’s memory as the one scene that brings the whole movie down.
Not even the lush cinematography seems to be rip-offs from any Christopher Doyle’s shots found in any Wong Kar Wai’s films matter to me most. Not even I mind lack of variety on background music scores created by Piyu from Padi. Not even I bother about the repetitive deus-ex-machina concept overtly used in most dramatic Indonesian films and TV series to bring the story to the end.