The War Zone (1999)


pos_thewarzoneThe War Zone
| General | for (implied) violence and family values |
Director:     Tim Roth
Writer:        Alexander Stuart, Stephen R. Pastore
Release:      1999
Duration:   1:34:45 (25.000 fps)
Language:  English
Country:    UK, Italy

Tom (Freddie Cunliffe) adalah remaja yang sedang sibuk menghadapi serangkaian perubahan dalam kesehariannya. Kepindahan keluarganya dari kota besar ke tempat terpencil membuatnya kehilangan semua temannya. Perhatian ibunya (Tilda Swinton) sedang fokus kepada calon anggota keluarga baru—bakal adik Tom yang sedang dikandungnya. Kakaknya (Lara Belmont) yang memasuki masa dewasa mulai tak asyik lagi sebagai teman bermain.

Saat mulai menikmati lingkungan barunya, secara tak sengaja Tom menemukan sesuatu yang membuat keseharian keluarganya yang damai terasa menyesakkan.

Tom (Freddie Cunliffe) is a teenage boy with a whole lot of changes happen all around him. His mom (Tilda Swinton) is expecting a baby. His blossoming elder sister (Lara Belmont) obviously starts having priorities of her own. Moving from some big city to the countryside, he loses all his friends.

While seemingly doing good adapting, Tom finds something that makes all the tranquility of his daily life a living hell.

Naked, beyond anything graphic

The makeup department is astonishing. And surely never by overdoing it. This is one of the (very) few movies in which we see ‘real’ people, not stage performers—who beneath their threadbare clothing somehow always manage to look being in good shape and fragranced (yes, this is a made-up word).

capt_thewarzone2Bro and sis play well, and dad is not disappointing either. But mom—in her own supporting role, is just perfect (nothing new, with this mom).

Nevertheless, the biggest credit might still duly go to the director (this is his directional debut) and the cinematographer, who succeed in making the ‘implied language’—telling suggestively, and not just dictating verbally (or visually). Some examples. Having a good time riding a bike? There’s no ‘yippee!’ or even a smile, but just a few (bike’s) shakes and clever camera works (early scene). Breast is erotic? Sure, but not when mom’s is out there in the open, it’s when we see Lucy right afterward instead—fully clothed. Violence? This movie has it, heavily. But not by exploiting gore or flooding the dialog with overused curses or blowing things up or beating people down into some hard to recognize mess—this movie is way beyond that. The horror is there, hanging in the air, suffocating all serenity. We just feel it, not by graphically seeing it, but by sensing—through the well maintained common courtesy, no-nonsense dialog, or even the chastity of a baby’s vulva.

This is simply beyond Hollywood, indeed.


Okuribito (2008)


pos_okuribitoOkuribito (Departures)
| General | (fading) culture | nokanshi |
Director:     Yōjirō Takita
Writer:        Kundô Koyama
Release:      2008
Duration:   2:10:22 (23.976 fps)
Language:   Japanese
Country:     Japan

Sesaat setelah orkestra tempatnya bernaung bubar, Daigo Kobayashi (Masahiro Motoki)—pemain celo yang tekun tetapi sepertinya agak medioker itu, memutuskan kembali ke kampung halaman bersama isterinya untuk memulai segala sesuatunya dari awal. Memenuhi panggilan iklan lowongan kerja dari sebuah ‘biro pemberangkatan’, ia mendapati itu tak lebih daripada pekerjaan mendandani mayat—sebelum akhirnya dibakar (dikremasi).

Meski secara sosial profesinya tidak terlalu dihargai, kesungguhan Daigo dalam menjalani segala apa yang dilakukannya lambat-laun membuat orang mau tak mau menaruh hormat—termasuk mereka yang dulu mencela pilihan pekerjaannya.

When the orchestra he plays disbands, the devoted yet somewhat mediocre cellist Daigo Kobayashi (Masahiro Motoki) decides to get back to his hometown with his wife to start things over. Responding to an ad about some ‘departure agency’, he finds it being none other than decorating dead bodies (that is, a farewell)—before being sent for cremation.

Daigo’s wholeheartedness on what he is doing finally gains him respect—from others who first despise his job, as well as from himself.

Cinta sang Petugas Pemberangkatan (spoilers!!)

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Quadrophenia (1979)


| General | generation gap | British youths | mods-rockers | folk devils |
Director:     Franc Roddam
Writer:        Dave Humphries, Franc Roddam, Martin Stellman, Pete Townshend
Release:      1979
Duration:   1:54:32 (29.970 fps)
Language:   English
Country:     UK

Mengambil nama dari album/konser The Who tahun 1973 dengan judul sama, film ini berkisah tentang sebuah era—dengan setting Inggris pertengahan tahun 1960-an, melalui kacamata Jimmy (Phil Daniels).

Jimmy adalah seorang mod (modernist—suatu sub-kultur yang sempat beberapa kali populer di Inggris yang identik dengan penampilan modis, mengkonsumsi musik tertentu, serta skuter). Dan seperti banyak dari mereka pula, baik di rumah atau secara sosial, ia bermasalah. Tetapi cepat atau lambat, semua orang pada akhirnya (mau tak mau) harus belajar, meski menerima kenyataan tidak selalu merupakan pekerjaan yang mudah.

Film ini diwarnai pertikaian antara para mods dengan seteru mereka rockers pada tahun 1964, yang membuat keduanya diberi cap folk devils.

Taking the name from The Who’s 1973n consert/album, this movie tells about an era (England 1960’s), through the eyes of Jimmy (Phil Daniels).

Being a mod, Jimmy always seeks solutions for his domestic or societal problems in the community. But then again, it might just be that answers are not what he is looking for, maybe all he wants is just a getaway. Everybody learns—sooner or later, in one way or another. And some people just have hard time swallowing.

This movie also depicts the fight between mods and their rival, rockers, in 1964. Earning them the label folk devils.

Kegalauan sebuah generasi (spoilers!!)

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A Time to Kill (1996)


pos_atimetokillA Time to Kill
| General | racism | for racism |
Director:     Joel Schumacher
Writer:        Akiva Goldsman
Release:      1996
Duration:   2:23:30 (25.000 fps)
Language:  English
Country:    USA

Seorang kulit hitam, Carl Lee Hailey (Samuel L. Jackson), menghadapi tuntutan hukuman mati karena membunuh dua orang warga kulit putih, yang telah memperkosa dan kemudian membunuh anaknya.

Dengan hakim dan tim juri yang semuanya kulit putih dan tampak ingin segera dirinya dieksekusi, serta dengan tokoh-tokoh dari kalangan kulit hitam sendiri yang tak lebih dari orang-orang korup yang justru berusaha menggunakan kasusnya sebagai sarana mencari keuntungan pribadi, nasib Carl Lee Hailey benar-benar ditentukan oleh tim pembelanya yang terdiri dari: seorang pengacara yang sedang tidak begitu percaya diri (Matthew McConaughey), rekan kerjanya yang sulit konsentrasi jika ada wanita menarik, seorang asisten cantik yang belum berpengalaman dan masih kolokan, serta seorang mentor yang lebih sering mabuk—yang semuanya kulit putih.

A black man, Carl Lee Hailey (Samuel L. Jackson), is facing a death sentence for killing two [white] people, who have raped and murdered his daughter.

With the judge and jury (all white) seem having an itch to have him executed and the (so-called) prominent figures among the black people seem eager to use his case to furnish their own interests, Hailey’s last stand seems to be in the hands of a very limited people: a lawyer who is having a confidence problems (Matthew McConaughey), his coworker who gets distracted easily by women, an inexperienced-pretty-young daddy’s-girl assistant, and a drunk mentor—all white.

Keadilan, seperti kebenaran, ada di dalam pikiran

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Lisztomania (1975)


| General | art house | musical | no subtitle | █ for phallus and sheer insanity |
Director:     Ken Russell
Writer:        Ken Russell
Release:      1975
Duration:   1:41:15 (25.000 fps)
Language:   English
Country:     UK

Lisztomania (istilah ini awalnya dikemukakan oleh Heinrich Heine, tokoh literatur Jerman, untuk merujuk kepada ‘kegilaan’ audiens–utamanya kaum hawa, pada konser-konser Franz Liszt, seorang bintang pop-klasik) adalah film art house tentang Liszt (Roger Daltrey): hingar-bingar panggung, kehidupan pribadi, kejeniusan, juga ketakutan-ketakutannya. Diawali dengan hal-hal yang wajar (atau agak wajar), cerita semakin lama semakin ramai dengan hiruk-pikuk ‘kegilaan’.

Untuk sebagian orang, beberapa bagian film ini mungkin akan terasa ofensif.

Lisztomania (coined by Heinrich Heine, a German literary figure, to depict audience insanity toward Franz Liszt’s deft fingers on the piano) is a story about Liszt (Roger Daltrey): his on/off stage life, his brilliance, and his fears. Starting with some pretty common (in a way) things, the movie then keeps shifting—from one madness to another.

This movie is not for everybody. Definitely.

Bahasa Kegilaan para Jenius (heavy spoilers!!)

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Houdini (1998, TV)


| General | TV | biography | no subtitle |
Director:     Pen Densham
Writer:        Pen Densham
Release:      1998
Duration:   1:34:20 (23.976 fps)
Language:  English
Country:    USA

Sebuah film televisi tentang pesulap legendaris Harry Houdini (Johnathon Schaech). Dikisahkan bagaimana Eric dan Theo Weiss, dua pemuda kakak beradik dari keluarga migran miskin di New York, mengawali karir di dunia ilusi dengan bermodalkan sebuah buku sulap karangan seorang pesulap Perancis bernama Robert Houdin (yang namanya kemudian mereka gunakan sebagai trademark karena dianggap lebih menjual).

Dengan cara flashback, film ini bercerita tentang Eric (yang kemudian dikenal sebagai Harry Houdini): perjalanan karir sulapnya, kerenggangannya dengan Theo sang adik, juga ikatan batinnya dengan sang isteri  Bess Houdini (Stacy Edwards).

A TV movie about Harry Houdini (Johnathon Schaech). Having read a book by Robert Houdin (a French magician), two poor migrant brothers—Eric (Schaech) and Theo Weiss, embark on a new journey as magicians, using the name Houdini (from the French magician), considering it being more commercially promising.

With flashbacks, this flick tells about Eric (later known as Harry Houdini): his magician career, his relationship with his brother Theo, and his bound with his wife Bess (Stacy Edwards).

Ilusi yang menghibur, bukan menipu

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Opera Jawa (2006)


pos_ojOpera Jawa (Requiem from Java)
| General | art house | culture | musical | ethnic dance
Director:     Garin Nugroho
Writers:      Armantono, Garin Nugroho
Release:      2006 (Yogya)
Duration:   1:55:27 (25.000 fps)
Language:  Indonesian
Country:    Indonesia / Austria

Setyo (Martinus Miroto) dan Siti (Artika Sari Devi) adalah pasangan suami-istri muda pengrajin/pengusaha gerabah di ambang bangkrut dengan problem rumah-tangga yang klasik: komunikasi. Sikap penuh tanggung jawab Setyo sebagai pencari nafkah justru sering membuat Siti merasa terabaikan. Singkatnya, Siti kesepian. Alienasi antar keduanya diperparah dengan hadirnya Ludiro (Eko Supriyanto), sosok manja dari keluarga saudagar yang segala keinginannya biasa terturuti.

Disajikan dalam paduan bahasa gerak yang eksotis dan tembang Jawa serta tebaran seni instalasi kontemporer di sana-sini, film musikal dengan warna kultural yang kental ini mengisahkan upaya Setyo dan Ludiro dalam memperebutkan cinta Siti.

Karya art house dengan visual yang colorful ini diperkuat oleh karakterisasi yang mengena dari para pendukung utamanya:

  • Sukesi (Retno Maruti), ibu Ludiro
  • Sura ( I Nyoman Sura), orang kepercayaan Setyo untuk urusan ‘dalam negeri’
  • Anom (Jecko Siompo Pui), sosok kepercayaan Setyo untuk urusan ‘luar negeri’, dan
  • figur penyampai kisah yang anonim (Slamet Gundono)

Setyo (Martinus Miroto) and Siti (Artika Sari Dewi) are young married couple with a classic domestic issue: communication. With their earthenware business comes close to going bankrupt, Setyo’s ever deter-
mined efforts to make ends meet often make Siti feels lonely. Their alienation to each other is worsened by the presence of Ludiro (Eko Supriyanto), a spoiled char-
acter from the local wealthy family who is used to having all his wishes granted.

In the spirit of the (Javanese) Ramayana epic, the story tells about what it takes to win Siti’s heart.
(This storyline has been sent to under an alias)

Supporting artists:

– Sukesi (Retno Maruti), Ludior’s mother
– Sura (I Nyoman Sura), Setyo’s man
– Anom (Jecko Siompo Pui), Setyo’s man
– the storyteller (Slamet Gundono)