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How Do You Deal With Death?

The answer to the question in the title is probably the same as the opposite: how do you deal with living?
You don’t deal with it.
You just do. Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted by on 03/27/2016 in Blog, English, Personal, Uncategorized

 

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Guess the Oscar! (Like You Know and Watch All the Nominated Films!) – 2016

It’s that time of the year again.

The film equivalent of Super Bowl, Championship League, or other annual events in different field, but carries similar traits. The one where its fans follow and obsess very closely. The one that attracts worldwide attention. The one where, for non fans alike, they pretend to know.

Even for fans outside the US or other major film markets in the world, where most nominated films are properly screened on respective cinemas, we are not immune to the hype.

Every year, we follow news around Oscar closely. If the films are not screened in cinemas, we flock to nearby pirated DVD seller. Or do illegal download.
Thanks, or no thanks, to the availability of Oscar screeners easily copied, within minutes those screeners are ready within minutes worldwide.

But this year, controversy aside, the small-screen force-viewing could be minimized. Unless you really choose to do so.

Three out of 8 Best Picture nominees were released before November last year. One strong contender was even a blockbuster hit last summer. Four nominees have already hit big screen since a few weeks ago, and will likely continue doing so. At least for the next few days after the big party.

This year, I managed to watch 7 out of 8 Best Picture nominees on big screen, before the Oscar week, without having to travel to year-end film festivals to do that. It’s a personal record, I admit.

And it’s true that the window between big screen and small screen is getting smaller. Probably soon there will be no window at all for every film, as it is already happening now in some.

So, if you could watch Oscar nominees on big screen, consider yourself having a treat. It soon may be a thing of nostalgic memory that no longer exists.

That also makes your journey of following Oscar hype as a something special.

On to the predictions now:

– Best Picture: Spotlight
(but if you want to make a good return out of your bet, go for The Revenant. I’m just sticking to the film that hits, moves, and touches me the most, right in the heart.)
– Best Director: George Miller – Mad Max: Fury Road

– Lead Actor: Leonardo DiCaprio – The Revenant
– Lead Actress: Brie Larson – Room
– Supporting Actor: Sylvester Stallone – Creed
– Supporting Actress: Alicia Vikander – The Danish Girl

– Adapted Screenplay: The Big Short – screenplay by Charles Randolph and Adam McKay
– Original Screenplay: Spotlight – screenplay by Tom McCarthy and Josh Singer

Ave Maria

Ave Maria

– Cinematography: John Seale – Mad Max: Fury Road
– Costum Design: Jeanny Beavan – Mad Max: Fury Road

– Production Design: Colin Gibson and Lisa Thompson – Mad Max: Fury Road
– Editing: Margaret Sixel – Mad Max: Fury Road

– Original Score: Ennio Morricone – The Hateful Eight
– Original Song: “Til It Happens to You” (from The Hunting Ground, music & lyrics by Lady Gaga, Diane Warren)

– Sound Editing: Mark A. Mangini and David White – Mad Max: Fury Road
– Sound Mixing: Chris Jenkins, Gregg Rudloff, and Ben Osmo – Mad Max: Fury Road

– Make Up & Hair Styling: Lesley Vanderwalt, Elka Wardega, and Damian Martin – Mad Max: Fury Road
– Visual Effects: Chris Corbould, Roger Guyett, Paul Kavanagh, and Neal Scanlan – Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Body Team 12

Body Team 12

– Animated Feature: Inside Out
– Foreign Language Film: Son of Saul (Hungary)
– Documentary Feature: Amy

And here comes the annual shameless plug:
You can watch 2 of the Oscar nominated short films in the upcoming XXI Short Film Festival!
And why not?
It’s free, and it’s on big screen. Only in Epicentrum XXI on March 16-20, 2016.
You know the drill: just follow Twitter @21shortfilm for more information.
I’ll be there, and I’ll be more than happy to guide you through the rest of the festival.
Alright, before the plugging goes deeper, I mean, further:

– Animated Short: World of Tomorrow
– Documentary Short: Body Team 12
– Live Action Short: Ave Maria

Alright, less than a day away to the Oscar!

Mad Max: The Fury Road

Mad Max: The Fury Road

 
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Posted by on 02/28/2016 in Uncategorized

 

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Muted

“Hey. How is it going? Did you just arrive?”
“Hey. Nah. I arrived at 5 pm, around that. Just went back to get my bag. Did you just come in?”
“Yeah. Traffic was bad.”
“True. But that’s kinda normal, I guess. From work?”
“Yes. What a week. How’s your work?”
“Well, like that. Endless things to do.”
“Work never ends. You always came here?”
“Most of the time. I mean, I’ve tried other places. But most of the time, I come here. What about you?”
“Just here. Other places are definitely out of reach for me.”
“Rule of thumb: gotta find place to exercise either closer to your work or your home.”
“Agree. Your work place is quite nearby, I assume?”
“Okay. I ride, so it’s quite bearable.”
“That explains your jacket on weekdays.”
“Yeah. And all the bags.”
“Do you have to carry those everyday?”
“I don’t have any other options.”
“And you still manage to come here everyday?”
“I try to make it everyday. And I guess you come every other day?”
“Close enough. Two days or three days in a row, then a day break, then another two to three. Gotta listen to what your body says.”
“After a while, you know your body rhythm.”
“Yeah. Are you with your trainer today?”
“Today? Nah. Not today. I’ll just run on my own.”
“Me, too. I mean, I just run.”
“I … Well, I notice that.”
“Right. Yeah. Okay. This is my spot.”
“Alright.”
“Alright. See you.”
“Yes.”
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
All the conversations that could’ve happened. All the imagination that only exists in mind. Instead, the words are replaced by distant gazes. Mere gazes. The sights seen at great length that they mute words and voices. The eyes that see only with miraculous hope that the object will feel being seen and return the glances. Alas, it remains a wishful thinking.
How is it that one word with two letters can carry infinite possibilities?
How is it that one word with two letters be the hardest word to say?
How does one start saying … “Hi”?

IMG_0460

 
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Posted by on 09/20/2015 in Uncategorized

 

Top Cinema Going Experiences of 2014

I’ve gotta tell you something: I love short movies.
In fact, I love our local short movies.

Having sat through around 500 short films to watch every year for the past 3 years now, there is nothing more exciting to finally see short films now made with big screen viewing in mind. Sure, I’ve worked to grow 21 Short with all its might. But beyond that, short films create a long lasting impression, extended beyond their limited duration.

However, this annual note celebrates feature film as seen on big screen. The above number of short films to assess often gets in the way to enable me writing the note. That, and the endless temptation of American TV series. Goodness, these series keep getting better and better, don’t they? The best dramatic plots for the past 3 years have been found in our living room, or wherever you watch TV series.

Hours will go by easily as we hook on the series. But once in a while, we need to breathe fresh air. A walk to nearby cinema is needed to see other people, strangers, friends, or anyone. It’s good to dress up a bit, even in T-shirt and sneakers just to go to cinema. After all, cinema still matters.

And these films matter to me this year.

In alphabetical order:

1. CAHAYA DARI TIMUR

Date of watching: June 19, 2014

Movie magic does not come very often in Indonesian film. But this film, particularly in the penultimate scenes involving mosques and churches, come very, very close to being a defining one. It still gives me chills as I am typing this while recalling those scenes.

2. CHEF

Date of watching: October 28, 2014

The film proves and shows that heart and passion about anything you love will eventually be reflected in whatever you make. “Chef” Jon Favreau loves good food. He loves people. He loves seeing the good in people, or rather characters, he creates. The result is perhaps the warmest feeling we had in cinema-going experience this year.

3. THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL

Date of watching: April 16, 2014

I could not hold back overflowing emotion that the first Wes Anderson’s film I can see on big screen is his most well-rounded yet. This is his most accessible film so far, and it is easy to see why: the characters feel very human.

4. INTERSTELLAR

Date of watching: November 6, 2014

Love it or loathe it, Christopher Nolan knows how to succumb both his fans and haters together to his world. The film is unmissable. The technical wizardry is used to accommodate his ideas that he is willing to toy with his audiences, something we, as mentioned earlier, either like or be uncomfortable with. But let’s agree on one thing: his film always, and always, deserves a cinematic viewing.

Interstellar (Courtesy of hastagstudios.com)

Interstellar (Courtesy of hastagstudios.com)

5. JALANAN

Date of watching: March 28, 2014

Perhaps this is the most heartfelt tribute to Jakarta on big screen yet. What others fail to capture is the essence of struggle, something the film is proud to wear on its sleeves with genuine laughter and tears. I watched it again in regular screening after the full-house preview, and it held up. A tight editing and a carefully written screenplay allow greater freedom for Daniel Ziv, amazing first time director, to explore the emotions of the three main character we cannot help but love.

6. LOCKE

Date of watching: April 24, 2014

A film like Buried or this one makes a terrific cinema-going experience. We are forced to sit through the entire duration of 90 minutes with one person in real time. Tom Hardy delivers the impossible with crazy intensity, and we cannot help but marvelling at the highly discipline of filmmaking in creating this film. To put it simply, it is unforgettable.

7. THE LOOK OF SILENCE (SENYAP)

Date of watching: November 10, 2014

While The Act of Killing jolts us in shock and surprise, its follow up chooses a different path. The tender and often quiet treatment results in one thing: the film stabs us gently, and before we know, we weep in silence.

8. PK

Date of watching: December 21, 2014

It is not easy to surpass 3 Idiots in terms of being a message movie that is still likeable and entertaining. But the film achieves the impossible feet by choosing risky theme, and present the time as blatantly as possible. Forget subtlety. Banal religious issues, being as it is, should be presented with images and lines that often show the extreme. And it works. And it stays in our mind long after. And it provokes discussion. And it works!

PK (Courtesy of bollywood.celebden.com)

PK (Courtesy of bollywood.celebden.com)

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And for many reasons that the following films are not available in cinemas, either by the time it was shown on big screen I was out of town, or they were not picked by local cinemas for various reasons, they still make impressive viewing memory in me.

Thus, my top films, non-cinema wise, in 2014 are (in alphabetical order):

1. THE LUNCHBOX — my favorite film of the year.

2. THEY CAME TOGETHER

3. DANS LA MAISON

4. LIFE ITSELF

5. GONE GIRL

Gone Girl

Gone Girl

See you next year!

 
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Posted by on 12/29/2014 in Uncategorized

 

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Leaving Before Leaving

“Wish me luck.”

“Wish you … Luck? For what.”

“Wish me luck to find the one, the next one, to wish me “safe flight!” as I’m about to board, or say “goodbye” without quitting. Wish me luck to find the one I can come home to. Wish me luck to find your replacement.”

“Good luck.”

 
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Posted by on 08/27/2014 in Uncategorized

 

A Much Treasured eX

Cinemas come and go, but sometimes, there is one among those that holds the most memory in us as a filmgoer.

For me, the place is Studio XXI eX in Jakarta.

 

The four-hall cineplex was the most luxurious cinema when I was in the middle of my permanent shift to town around 9 years ago. I was mesmerized. Never before had I seen high end materials adorning spacious, bright cinema lobby, and I was even more amazed with the seats. Those big, comfortable red seats with wide leg room, so big that we just threw ourselves easily and comfortably as our back rubbed against the soft fabric of the chair.

 

However, beyond the plush experience, it was the moments that make the memories.

 

As I joined Jakarta International Film Festival (JIFFest) a year after I stepped in the eX cinema for the first time, I realized that the year’s festival was actually to be held in the cinema.

We heard complains, we heard praises for the move. Suddenly the festival reached out unassuming mall visitors in addition to regular patrons. The festival that year was one of the most attended editions, and the most fun one for us to organize.

 

The festival began my attachment to the cinema.

As I lived nearby to eX the shopping centre, I always made a point to watch latest films here. Be it on weekday or weekend, be it alone, with friends, or with my then partner, the cinema was the to-go destination. 

Most of the time, I came to the cinema to watch on Saturday night for midnight shows. I remember watching Juno with friends; Dreamgirls, on which we clapped after Jennifer Hudson’s big number; The Tree of Life with a friend on a date, which I’m sure the date was ruined by the absurdity of the film, and many others.

There were some film launching events or premieres, most of the titles I couldn’t remember anymore, but I did recall watching Kala there.

 

This is the cinema where I applied for my first local credit card, the one that comes with buy-1-get-1-free ticket, which is obviously the reason I applied on the first place. It only made more sense then that this is also the cinema where I used the card most often.

 

This is also the cinema where I hardly had any problem with the crowd. Most people may be overtly dressed up to watch films on regular screenings, but be them in casual sneakers or gown, audience were hardly annoying. I don’t remember shushing noisy audience here. Even if I did, they came very few in between.

 

For almost a decade, coming here has become a regular habit. 

 

Then came the news of the cinema closure.

Image.

 

When I read the news yesterday, I could only stare at my phone in silence and disbelief. Another cinema gone, but this time, it’s not an ordinary cinema. 

For the cinema itself, it started as the pioneer of other luxury cinemas in town.

For others, it started the experience of comfort in watching films on big screen.

For me, it started the cinema-going habit in then a new town.

 

I always love cinema, and it always hits me the hardest whenever a cinema is closing down for good.

 

Cinemas come and go, and soon enough, they may be forgotten. 

But sometimes, there is one you will remember the most.

That is a much treasured eX.

 
 
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Posted by on 06/15/2014 in Uncategorized

 

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Word Limit

Word Limit

You cannot make me saying this I can’t say yet.
You cannot even persuade me saying “I want you” or “I need you”, as I can’t let my tongue roll in to say those words.
You cannot force me to say words I am not ready to say.

But if you ask me to stay, I will.

 
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Posted by on 06/03/2014 in Uncategorized

 

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