Hujan Bulan Juni (2017) – Review: A less-narrative visual poetry

Review: Hujan Bulan Juni (literally ‘June’s Rain), an adaptation of Sapardi Djoko Damono’s poetic novel, presents a complicated yet colorful romance thread between two lecturers. There are lots more than modest love story and exchanging of poems in the plot; however, this adaptation decides to present it more like a visual poem than a narrative apparatus.

It’s a grown-up love story about hesitation and love in the intersection of past and future. Pingkan (Veloxe Vexia), a Japanese Literature lecturer, will go to Japan for further studies; yet, before leaving, Sarwono (Adipati Dolken), an Anthropology lecturer and her lover, asks her to accompany him for the university affairs in Manado, Pingkan’s hometown. Unbeknownst to them, fear of Pingkan’s intersecting past and future engulfs Sarwono. Through poems, Sarwono attempts to warn his lover; and through poems, Pingkan attempts to convince her lover. Continue reading “Hujan Bulan Juni (2017) – Review: A less-narrative visual poetry”

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Posesif (2017) – Review: A juggernaut of teenage romance

Review: This is Lala’s first love; yet, Yudhis wants it to be their forever. That’s how Posesif abridges its powerful content. It’s a high-school meet-cute that blossoms, escalates, grows as quickly as it spirals out of control. It’s a portrayal of how love is addressed as a tool to possess and how immaturity is outdoing the typical puppy love tropes and ending up in a chain of abusive relationship.

Even in his most mainstream tenure, Edwin (Blind Pigs Who Wants to Fly, Postcards from Zoo) can still channel his arthouse virtuoso and turn a sub-genre considered as ‘cheesy’ to a poignant, insightful observation of toxic teenage relationship. Under his direction upon Gina S. Noer’s script, coming-of-age relationship is depicted as an acrimonious force, which haunts both parties, in the name of love. Continue reading “Posesif (2017) – Review: A juggernaut of teenage romance”

Pengabdi Setan / Satan’s Slave (2017) – Review: A phantasmal love-letter

Review: As an avid fan of Siswono Gautama Putra’s 1980 cult classic Pengabdi Setan (a.k.a. Satan’s Slave), Indonesia’s most versatile director Joko Anwar crafts a highly inventive yet highly respectful remake—a nightmarish love-letter to a nightmare­—in his own version of Pengabdi Setan.

Mr. Anwar reinterprets the original phantasm, reconstructs the core elements and injects his cinematic virtue to create a déjà vu experience over his fresh concepts of nightmare. Some core elements from the 1980 film are reimagined to fit Anwar’s concept; a completely new backstories are added into the foray; but the whole terror remains there. Even, at some points, this remake appears to be more compelling and terrifying than the original. Continue reading “Pengabdi Setan / Satan’s Slave (2017) – Review: A phantasmal love-letter”

Gerbang Neraka (2017): Genre-defying mess

Review: Gerbang Neraka a.k.a. Firegate (literally ‘Hell Gate’) combines an urban legend about Gunung Padang in West Java with sci-fi bravura and horror apparition into making a rare genre-bending Indonesian film. The film focuses on an excavation process of the allegedly oldest pyramid structure in the world (said to be older than Giza in Egypt and Mayan in Mexico), which lies underneath a mountain. Like in other ‘pyramid films’, the excavation was plagued from beginning to end, with body counts start to rise from day to day.

There came the film’s trinity: a young archeologist who believes in no supernatural power, Arni (Julie Estelle), a struggling heresy-laden tabloid reporter, Tomo (Reza Rahadian), and a celebrity ‘demon hunter’ Guntur Samudera (Dwi Sasono). Intertwined by their own ambition in regards to Gunung Padang pyramid, those three protagonists began to intersect each other’s life and unravel a hideous secret about the mega-structure. Continue reading “Gerbang Neraka (2017): Genre-defying mess”

Warkop DKI Reborn: Jangkrik Boss! Part 2 (2017) – Review

Review: Warkop DKI Reborn: Jangkrik Boss! Part 2 picks up where Part 1 a.k.a. Indonesia blockbuster record-breaker left. After some short disastrous tenure with CHiPS, Dono (Abimana Aryasatya), Kasino (Vino G. Bastian) and Indro (Tora Sudiro) were gravely indebted; and the only way to pay the debt, they needed to find a hidden treasure. Along with Sophie (Hannah Al Rashid), they flight to Malaysia, the place where the treasure is allegedly hidden, only to accidentally swap their bag with a Malaysian researcher’s bag. There’s where Part 1 ended.

Part 2 revolves around the trio’s ludicrous treasure-hunt in a foreign country. With the assistance from Nadia (Nur Fazura), the researcher they stumbled into, Dono, Kasino and Indro wander into a haunted island where they encounter ‘the real story’ of Warkop DKI Reborn and get drowned in an adventure as bizarre and as absurd as in Part 1. Continue reading “Warkop DKI Reborn: Jangkrik Boss! Part 2 (2017) – Review”

A: Aku, Benci & Cinta (2017): Far from straight A

Review: A: Aku, Benci & Cinta—an adaptation of Wulanfadi’s best-selling novel of the same title, attempts to match up high school romance with circumstantial comedy and many layers of conflict at one. To carry the plan, Rizki Balki’s film features Indonesia’s most prominent teenage actors ranging from Jefri Nichol, Amanda Rawles to Indah Permatasari.

In the core of A, Anggia (Permatasari), a boyish girl and school’s second most popular guy, is in deep feud with Alvaro (Nichol), school’s most notorious popular guy, who keeps annoying her with any possible mean. The more Anggia resents Alvaro, the more they become close to each other by one chance or two. As predictable as it might be, there’s actually some spark of affection between them, but it takes some time before that feeling blooms. Continue reading “A: Aku, Benci & Cinta (2017): Far from straight A”