Review: Rizal Mantovani & Jose Purnomo’s sleeper hit Jelangkung (2001) was an integral part of Indonesian film resurrection. This harrowing story—about ancient ritual of summoning spirit using wooden avatar called ‘jelangkung’—was highly phenomenal that it spawned two sequels and cleared the path for other Indonesian ghouls to silver screen.
Sixteen years later, the winning team, Mantovani & Purnomo, is reunited with their winning formula into making a reboot titled Jailangkung. While their 2001 hit is a lo-fi production, this one is completely the opposite. With new target audiences, Jailangkung repackages itself with younger and fresher look; but, was it worth the scare? Continue reading Jailangkung (2017): Embodiment of style-over-substance horror
Svetlana Dea’s directorial debut, Mantan (trans. ex-lover) is quite an oddball. It’s a dialogue-heavy romcom, which grounds between a social satire and a pure reconciliation game, but never really ends up being any of them. Sometimes it can be very convincing; but some other times, you’ll wish there would be some footnotes to help you understand anything. By the time you finally get an insight, the film abruptly ends its 75-minute run.
In Mantan, a young bachelor, Adi (Gandhi Fernando), is about to become a married man. Yet, before he becomes one, he needs to have a sense of self-fulfillment. He goes on a quest to fly up 5 different cities to encounter his exes, clear the air between them and find out if one of them might be his godknowswhy soul mate. Continue reading Mantan (2017): A Reconciliation Game
Review: BW Purba Negara’s debut feature Ziarah could’ve been made into a faux-documentary about love and reconciliation, tailing fictitious Mbah Sri (Ponco Sutiyem), a 95-year-old widow in stint to find her late husband’s tomb. However, it after all is presented as a pure fiction, juxtaposing two stories at once, while retaining the cinéma vérité style and keeping it as grounded as possible.
The word ‘ziarah’ itself means pilgrimage; and this Ziarah is a story about that pilgrimage to a grave unbeknownst to the pilgrim. The final result is pretentious but delightful and homey. Continue reading Ziarah (2017): Between discourse and pilgrimage
Review: With a title referring to an aviation term, critical eleven – three minutes after taking off and eight minutes before landing, where a plane is at the highest risk of crashing – Critical Eleven is not an actual film about flights; instead, it is a romantic manifestation of those critical minutes in a relationship.
According to the film (adapted from Ika Natassa’s bestseller of the same title), the same term is applicable to a meet cute as well; first three minutes of crafting impression, and final eight of leaving impression. And yet, the very same term is also applicable to enjoying this story, too. If the first three minutes (not exactly) gets you enthralled, you’ll desperately need to get prepared for the final eight minutes. Continue reading Critical Eleven (2017): An Anti-Romance Romance Film
Review: Technically, Satria Heroes: Revenge of Darkness has all the potentials to introduce audiences who aren’t familiar with Indonesian tokusatsu, Bima Satria Garuda and the sequel, Bima-X, to the saga; but, it tends to have fun with itself. In fact, it opts to be a (literally) simple, blatant, campy Kamen Rider-inspired bonanza, which might get you cringed and entertained at once.
Satria Heroes narrative is pretty simple – following up three-act structure with an additional backstory stuffed right before the mid act. It splits the focus to two key figures – Ray and an iron-masked antagonist – and presents it in three interrelated episodes. Ray and Iron Mask respectively get the focus in the first two episodes before finally they clash in the third episode ‘Revenge of Darkness.’ Continue reading Satria Heroes: Revenge of Darkness (2017): ‘Kay, Man. Right thurr.
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