Tag Archives: Asia

Stip & Pensil (2017): Slumdogs & Millionaires

Review: In my bare thought, Stip & Pensil – eraser and pencil – might be A Copy of My Mind v2.0 written but not directed by Joko Anwar. Helmed by Ardy Octaviand, this film is projecting the writer’s exasperation towards suburban sh*ts in metropolitan – from blooming population, social gap, education awareness et al – in a lighter mode, making it more urban than Mr. Anwar’s political-heavy feature. It’s no surprise if this story feels timely and relevant to today’s situation through and through.

In presenting its serious theme, Stip & Pensil points out that the core of those suburban problems is: illiteracy – literally and figuratively. Illiteracy leads to low education and poverty, which force children to work instead of studying. People are unaware of these unfortunate chains, resulting in tremendous social gap. At the opposite edge, educated wealthy people are judged to have been prone to exclusiveness, promoting larger gaps. Mr. Anwar’s script proposes a thought, a different perception as a tool to mend the gap. Continue reading Stip & Pensil (2017): Slumdogs & Millionaires


Kartini (2017): A timely, exquisite story about women

Review: While Raden Ajeng Kartini, hailed as the symbol of women emancipation and empowerment in Indonesia, has always been a timeless subject; Hanung Bramantyo’s Kartini surprisingly comes at the most relevant moment – when feminism movement is on the wild run; when rift between the conservative and the progressive is on the edge; when discrimination and patriarchal superiority suddenly awaken from their dormant state – clinching its factual relevance to modern day audiences as more than just a ‘glorified depiction’ of a real-life figure.

Kartini revolves around specific period of the titular character’s life: during her ‘pingitan’ or glorified seclusion. Kartini (Dian Sastrowardoyo), an aristocrat by birth, is bound to be a ‘raden ayu’ – glorified wife/concubine of aristocrats – when she has grown enough. To become one, she must enter ‘pingitan’ ever since her coming of age; she must get secluded from outside world to prepare her to be a perfect woman.  Continue reading Kartini (2017): A timely, exquisite story about women

Sweet Bean (2015) – JAFF Jogja 2016 Review

Review: Sweet Bean observes a sweet, subtle chemistry between a desperate man with an elderly woman through the making of sweet bean paste for Japanese-classic pancake, dorayaki. Here, sweet bean paste becomes a symbolic connection of present and paste in a frame of troubled people, living in alienation and barely having life. Continue reading Sweet Bean (2015) – JAFF Jogja 2016 Review

Train to Busan (2016) – Review

Review: It was all rooting to a satire towards consumerism, as proclaimed by George Romero, zombie sub-genre has evolved to become an opposite phenomenon: a box office digger. World War Z is a fine example of such phenomenon; and what happened to South Korean zombie apocalypse hit shows a similar symptom.  Apparently, director Yeon Sang-ho delivers a claustrophobic zombie apocalypse drama in a train to this year’s top of domestic highest grossing movie list.

Since the opening, Train to Busan never attempts to appear exuberant nor to refute its status as Korean mainstream movie. As a zombie movie, this doesn’t deliver new innovation except the setting and one-place dynamics which might remind you to Bong Joon-ho’s Snowpiercer. Yet, such modesty is what actually makes this movie emotionally strong – with tendency to become  melodrama. Continue reading Train to Busan (2016) – Review

Train to Busan (2016): Serangan zombie Korea yang doyan makan hati

Review Train to Busan: Berawal dari sindiran terhadap sifat konsumerisme, seperti diproklamirkan George Romero; sub-genre zombie telah menjelma menjadi fenomena yang justru sebaliknya: pengeruk keuntungan box office. Lihat saja pencapaian World War Z! Dan kini fenomena yang sama terjadi di Korea Selatan. Sutradara Yeon Sang-ho menghadirkan zombie apocalypse klaustrofobik di dalam sebuah kereta menuju puncak box office domestik.

Sejak dari opening film, Train to Busan tak pernah berusaha tampil jumawa; ia pun tak memungkiri statusnya sebagai film mainstream Korea. Sebagai film zombie pun, film ini tak banyak memberi terobosan baru kecuali setting dan dinamika satu tempat yang mengingatkan pada Snowpiercer karya sutradara Korea lain, Bong Joon-ho. Namun, justru kerendahan hatiannya itulah yang menjadikan film ini kuat secara emosional, meskipun sering jatuh ke ranah melodramatis (sekedar referensi, lihat saja filmografi Gong Yoo, sang pemeran utamanya). Continue reading Train to Busan (2016): Serangan zombie Korea yang doyan makan hati

The Handmaiden (2016): Tamparan kinky untuk memuaskan fetish-mu pada Park Chan-wook

Review The HandmaidenPark Chan-wook kembali menyutradarai film berbahasa Korea, pasca debut Hollywood-nya lewat Stoker, dengan sebuah kisah erotis yang tak hanya brilian namun juga kontroversial: The Handmaiden (a.k.a Ahgassi).

Mengadopsi (instead of sekedar “mengadaptasi”) novel ero-thriller Sarah Waters, Fingersmith, film ini berkisah tentang seorang gadis pencopet yang menyamar menjadi pembantu seorang ahgassi (lady). Semua trademark Chan-wook yang dinanti-nanti tumpah ruah di sini – mulai dari fetish-nya terhadap darah, keseksian visualnya, hingga tumpukan twist-nya – menjadikannya karya Chan-wook terkompleks dan tersegar,  so far. Continue reading The Handmaiden (2016): Tamparan kinky untuk memuaskan fetish-mu pada Park Chan-wook