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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The answer to the question in the title is probably the same as the opposite: how do you deal with living?
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
– 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
– 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!
“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. See you.”
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”?
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
4. LIFE ITSELF
5. GONE GIRL
See you next year!
“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.”
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.
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.
Some of you know that I just moved to a new house, this time I can call my own to be exact.
I can tell you that the excitement had already started as I listed down items to bring and to leave behind. It does not take a genius to know the items that I arranged the first is my collection of DVDs and Blu-Rays. While it looked easy to just pack ’em and go, I did not prepare for what actually lied ahead.
Guess what? I did not have that many original DVDs and Blu-Rays as I had initially believed!
… then read what I write here.
sometimes, i forget to love you.
not because i fall out of love. after all, how can i, when we once agreed on being in love, and not falling in love, because when you fall in, there’s a chance you can easily fall out?
and not because i have grown tired of you. well, there are days of yearning for absolute mindless freedom, but you know me as a man of mind, thus is it a likely occurrence of me taking such toll without thinking?
actually, i do. or rather, i did. and that’s how i love you.
and now, i forget that you need to be tingled with sweet, loving words.
i forget that you need more than my silent support of catching you from behind when you fall.
i forget that you need more than my quiet persistence of being someone that you come home to.
without asking, without probing, without questioning.
i forget that you need to go out sometimes, often at opposing times when i feel like talking to myself and the four still walls.
at such times, sometimes i forget to love you.
because i have started respecting you, hoping that you trust this union we’ve built.
because i have begun to honor you and your marvelous side of life that i may or may not be apt to fit in.
and still, if sometimes i forget to love you,
remind me again, please.
that’s how our life begins.
Someone to come home to.
Someone to travel with.
Someone to visit on weekend.
Someone to have meals together with.
Someone to greet the first thing in the morning and the last at night.
Someone to watch movies with.
Someone to yell at the hardest when one forgets another’s birthday.
Someone to cry on to when one feels like quitting job.
Someone to remind another to pick up laundry.
Someone to finish another’s sentences.
Someone to feel guilty of upon flirting with strangers.
Someone to call and text when one feels lonely because friends are busy.
Someone to forget when friends are around.
Someone to kiss with heart.
Someone to smile to.
Someone to laugh together with.
Someone to stay silent with and still be understood.
How can the person in us actually do these duties, and many more?
By loving someone else sincerely.
1: Hey, I need to talk to you later. Dinner?
2: But aren’t we talking right now?
1: We are, yeah.
2: So? What is it that you can’t talk about but you plan to talk to me about it later? I mean, what’s the difference if you talk to me right now, right here?
1: The time is different, the place is different …
2: … but the persons are the same …
1: … I figure you will say that …
2: … and what are you waiting for?
1: What I am waiting for? A lot. I am waiting, in fact, I have been waiting for that one … moment … to gather my strength and guts to say to you that for the past few months, nothing excites me more than seeing your name on my phone. Your unexpected calls, your laughter, your silly jokes, your nonsensical humor, your work stories that make me grateful for my crappy job, your hilarious self that have made my days and made me addicted for it. So yes, that’s the truth. I have enjoyed your company. But I can’t define this … enjoyment. I don’t know what that is. Is it a crush? I don’t know. I’m not sure what it is. But what I am sure of is that you, you … are one very kind person, and I want to stay spending time with you, until I figure out what the thing is. Only if you let me. There. I am sorry. Again. God knows how many times I said ‘sorry’ to you today.
2: I don’t know what to say …
1: … I don’t expect you to say anything …
2: … but I know what to do …
2: … because I am still here. And I will. I’ll stay. But, will you?
Tulisan iki mung iso diwoco ambek sing iso boso Jowo, terutama Jowo Timuran. Lebih mantep nek iso Suroboyoan. Sing isone boso Jowo alus, yo sepurane ae, cak, mbambong ae.
Sa’jane iki lho kerjaane Cita, aku mek nyebarno ae. Cita iki koncoku, rek, dikenalno ambek Hendri, jarene “kalian sama-sama Arema”. Awal-awal sek jaim, yo. Eh mari ngono, wis ambrol kabeh koyo bendungan buanjir! Jan kene nek nggedabrus ndhek BBM iso ngomong sembarang kalir. Iku BBM nek ceblok opo dicolong, wasalam ae reputasine kene nek didelok BBM Chat-e. Nggilani yo, Cit?
Nah salah satu kerjaane Cita nek lagek horny iki yo ngirimi humor-humor sing luwih nggilani soko iki. Tapi percoyo koen, sing paling top markotop yo Suroboyo Airlines iki! Pas pertama nrimo, aku wis arep ngomong, “jianciiiik!” sampe ngguyu kemekelen. Mung sadar yo pas meeting, arep dipentung be’e!
Bar tak woco bolak-bolak, cuk, wuasu tenan joke iki, sek iso gawe ngakak sampe saiki!
Wis wocoen ae. Thanks a lot, Cita! *lah, sek keminggris*
More than any other time in my life, as long as I can remember, last year seemed to be the time I was drawn to filmgoing experience the most.
I can’t explain why. Perhaps it was the constant worry on the dearth of cinema during our ‘cinema-blackout’ period, which I had repeatedly written, the latest being my kaleidoscopic article here.
But beyond the unfortunate incident, somehow it has always been “planted” in me that the best medium to watch film is in cinema.
There is something magical about sitting in a darkened hall, waiting for flickering lights to turn into escapism world of images and words, where we surrender ourselves and reality surround us for a good two hour or so.
If you find those words familiar, that’s because most of the entries in the blog revolve around the topic. In fact, my life does, too. Or so I made it to be.
When I spent my year-end holiday in my hometown, I watched Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol in nearby cinema. It was a full-house session, despite no advanced sound system. Yet, the packed crowd shrieked and clenched their fists on their seats altogether when Tom Cruise climbed Burj Khalifa, holding their breaths anticipating the suspense and the thrill of that scene. As I sat on top rows, I could see clearly the collective movement, and it was such a joy, such an unbelievable sight at this time!
I still could not believe my eyes even when I reached home.
And as I looked around my room, tons of VCDs I collected when I was in college were stacked on shelves, collecting thick dust and zero care.
Having nothing to do during the holiday, and being thankful for relatively smooth Internet connection, I thought of VCDs giveaway via Twitter. One cannot live without twitting, right?
Thus, on the last day of 2011, either most people at their utmost relaxing mood or busy preparing for parties later, I asked my timeline:
“Do you remember the very first film you watched in cinema?”
Using hash-tag #movieandme suddenly answers started pouring in. What supposed to be film title turned out to be recollection of memories: when they watched the film, where (and many cinemas that are no longer present), and with whom they watched the film.
These answers still strike my emotions as I am re-reading them now.
What intrigues me most from this collective memory is how our childhood revolved around cinema, one part or another. Many of us were either going with parents, friends from school or relatives, and the choices, as you can see below, are mind-blowing!
Who would’ve thought that our past cinematic treasure could be this rich?
And look at how diverse the location is! Wherever you spent your childhood, cinema was around to lure you in, and good time was abound.
Guess a saying that goes “everybody must have a certain memory about cinema” is true.
While reading these #movieandme entries, can I ask you: what’s your very first film you watch in cinema?
How’s your day?
Today I met my friend who is currently battling cancer, but there is more to that.
Read the rest of this entry »
Have you seen my childhood?
Unless you’re born in a small town in East Java at the end of 1970s, went to the same kindergarten with me, please don’t try answering the question. You may continue singing, though.
Since most of my kindergarten friends are not active in social media network, I guess I am free to tell you my version of my own childhood story. If they appear to ratify, verify or accuse me of false story, the first thing they’ll encounter is my blank stare of, “Sorry, who are you again?” I don’t remember any one of them. At all.
What I do remember is the joyous, carefree life I had. Living in the early 1980s means being confined to one TV channel that started broadcasting at 4 p.m. Being faraway from the glitz of metropolitan madness means spending most of the time playing outside, or simply taking up extra curricular activities in school.
Thus, I spent most of my time playing with my elder sister. Sometimes we rode a bike together, tried to make our own kite that only flew from the front door to our house gate. Achievement? If you think 10-meter distance is one, thank you very much. There was also one time we played host to a Canadian family with a boy of my age, and he fitted the image of Western family we saw on mediocre TV series: blond.
Being raised in a family where education matters most, I also spent my time taking a few extra private lessons. Math, English, religious lessons, you name them, and none of which felt like a burden. Well, maybe when one of those teachers gave me invoice to give to my mother, which at that time I didn’t know what it was. Just some numbers. And due dates. And no idea that I would do the same when I was adult.
In school, I wasn’t one of those bright students, academic wise. Alright, did more than average, but what I remembered most is the time I spent outside the classroom. There was a kolintang class (ha! I bet you have to Google it to find out what it is!), which to date, I am still proud of having taken the course once.
And then there was boy scout.
Truth is, I’ve never been a fan of the boy scout. Morse code is too complex to remember, all those ropes that we have to tangle to form a life support system (is it too hyperbolic?), and the uniform I despise. Ugh. Guess back then I knew brown is not good for my complexion. Hello, style-freak.
But what I cherished most from boy scout is its outdoor activities. Yes, I experienced my first outdoor camp when I was in elementary school with other boy scout members. Still recalled the first time I encountered paraffin and its use to prevent us from hunger, how to set up tent, how to stay up late at night just to chit chat with friends (nobody told us it is a bad habit), and queueing for taking a bath. Or not at all.
At the end of the camp, we had to hike. It’s a very rare thing to do, but I knew I fell in love with hiking. Guess at that time I started developing my love for long walks.
Tired? No. The fresh, clean air, the sound of bird chirping and laughter from friends redeemed all the supposed hardship.
Then we reached the destination, where we were treated to beautiful views of waterfall. Of course, when you put kids in front of waterfall, they go crazy, and so did we. This was followed by photo session, the result of which we had to wait a week or two, or never if they were never being developed. Digital camera? What’s that?
Back to school, I decided not to pursue further level of boy scout. I am forever stuck to the curb level. In fact, I was glad that further in high school, I didn’t have to wear the brown uniform unlike my juniors.
The idea of boy scout was hardly existent in my life, until a few years later in the present time, I had to handle this film: Lima Elang (Five Eagles).
When I came across the film prior to be on board for it, I thought, “Alright, another children adventure film. A kid is forced to be friends those he initially did not want to be friend with, stuck in a situation he cannot get out of, rediscover his good behavior, change of heart, and everybody’s happy.”
Little did I know that after two screenings, I was in for a treat, way beyond my salary.
A treat of memory of those precious time I spent outdoor. A treat of beautiful views of nature as seen on big screen in lush cinematic color, and seeing those kids in their characters happily running around their camp area and spacious forest, I smiled throughout the film.
Arrogantly, I smiled because I’m glad I had those moments for real when I was a kid. Also I smiled, because those child actors clearly enjoy their time there, maybe because they need fresh, clean break, out of concrete jungle and traffic jam that bring nothing but the worst in us everyday.
Accuse, judge, and sue me for being a terrible salesman, because really, it’s hard not to smile in wishful thinking looking at the kids having a good time.
Then, I don’t have children on my own. Want to, but with who? I realize it is not fair to keep pestering them with our memory. I guess when we can, we need to make time to introduce them beyond the comfort of house, air-con building, and maybe internet. Oh wait, are you still reading?
Time to end this rambling note now. Let’s try to find our own spot of nature.
Because nature shapes our characters. That is where we can see our childhood, be it only in memory.
(the picture is courtesy of The Telegraph UK. To the kind souls uploading that, thanks! I owe you one)