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”

Paradoxical / 時光 (2017) – BALINALE Review

Review: Taiwanese documentary filmmaker, Mu-Ming Tsai (Hanzi, Design & Thinking, Maker), spawns his first feature film, Paradoxical—a romance drama which goes hand in hand with a modest time travel chronicle. The result is an essay of love & time presented in a low-key, dialogue-driven cinema.

The film chronicles the blossoming relationship between an aspiring terrarium artist, Shi Jing (Helena Hsu, credited as Nai Han Hsu), with a cute geek, You Kong (Kenny Yen), whose job is related to a new time-travel technology called Time-lag. You Kong gets involved in a secret mission using Time-lag with a prodigy, Yuan Hai (Yuchen Ho); while Shi Jing begins to experience existential crisis as an artist. As their relationship grows, a thread of unrelated incidents around their lives starts to unravel a complicated connection between their past and their future. Continue reading “Paradoxical / 時光 (2017) – BALINALE Review”

The Big Sick (2017) – Review

Review: Love is a many-splendored thing again in The Big Sick, a highly relatable rom-com about multi-cultural relationship inspired by real-life story of its writers—Pakistani-American comedian, Kumail Nanjiani (Silicon Valley), and his wife, Emily V. Gordon.

This Judd Apatow-produced delight package grounds closely to reality and is utterly apprehensible in presenting a witty, sweet story. Some of the aspects are more digestible (also debatable) for people of Eastern culture than those of Western; but it’s never alienating. After all, this is a warm and honest cross-culture romance that attempts to bridge the differences. In short, it’s the kind of old loving-you-loving-your-family love story, which works in the heart of ‘modernity.’

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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”

Mars Met Venus: Part Cowo (2017): A chicken noodle parable at best

Review: In Mars Met Venus: Part Cowo, a boy and a girl in a relationship is analogized as water and oil that naturally cannot mix. However, both can somehow blend into perfection if mixed with noodle, spices, broth, vegetables, and minced chicken meat and made into chicken noodle soup. Good news is that blend is delicious. That kind of parable—that kind of absurd, wacky jive—is what distances Part Cowo from Part Cewe.

Nataya Bagya’s script still over-heightens stereotypes about gender roles in relationship. Yet, Part Cowo is presented in a more devil-may-care and more independent fashion, provoking an unpredictable sentimental moments. While Part Cewe feels a little restricted in portraying its gleeful, saccharine-heavy endeavor, Part Cowo breaks the romance boundary and, as the chicken noodle soup, calls out more elements in adorning Kelvin and Mila’s (Ge Pamungkas and Pamela Bowie) relationship. Continue reading “Mars Met Venus: Part Cowo (2017): A chicken noodle parable at best”