Sang Penari, Hugo, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

The second half of this week are really filled with great movies. I just cannot resist not watching movies :| The other day, I talked to Ms. J about how regretful I am for not having watched a few movies because one thing or another. It made me realized that yeah, out of all the people in my world, perhaps Ms. J is the only one who keeps up with what movies are out and what movies are good. We have the same level of knowledge in this :P

Okay, let's start. Watched Sang Penari with Vivy and Denny this week. Perhaps it's because I suddenly feel that with my friends who are married, they are now like in a pair, buy one get one free, I felt the need to ask Vivy if she and Denny would be interested. I am thankful that they were. Sang Penari was shown in Alliance Française as part of an Indonesian cultural week focusing more on Javanese culture (I think). I got a free ticket, but I could only ask for one :( The sistic lady did kindly let me buy the tickets for Vivy and Denny with my students price. I actually also had a free ticket to watch Didik Nini Thowok dance yesterday, which I really really really wanted to watch. However in between me feeling tired and very self conscious, I decided to skip it. I do regret it but I just couldn't bring myself to it. The sistic lady was telling me, "you can watch it alone, it seemed nice!". I felt sad that I let her down. She was really friendly.

Anyways, Sang Penari. I love it! It was inspired by a novel which I haven't read, which I am so tempted to ask my best buddies at home to get for me as my birthday present. I read in someone's blog that the movie did not follow the novel exactly. I used the word "inspired" up there, not "based". I read that in the novel, the age of the main characters are very young. I suppose there will be a lot of complication if the movie makers stick to the actual age, what with the strong adult theme in it. The story, set between 1950 something to 1965ish, is actually a love story of a guy and a girl who's been friends since they were kids and whose lives and the situation around them caused their relationship to never really bloom. You see, the girl wanted to be a ronggeng dancer. I'm not a Javanese and I certainly do not have much knowledge about Javanese culture so there are many things in this movie which surprised me just like it will to any other non-Indonesians or Indonesians like me. There's a lot of mysticism infused to the culture and I kinda like that it's being shown that way. It showed Javanese culture the way it is before Islam dictated how their life should be. I'm pretty sure this doesn't gel with the Islamic extremist in Indonesia, but who cares about FPI (Front Pembela Islam) - okay this is another story, another time, I'm just glad Indonesians are starting to take a stand away from them. Back to the movie, apparently being a ronggeng dancer kinda means that you are also a glorified prostitute. I said glorified because instead of being shunned for sleeping and getting payment from it, the village ladies actually wanted their husbands to sleep with the ronggeng dancer because they believed that the dancer had a certain kind of spirit inside her which would help / bless / empower the guy during sex after the guy slept with her. Yeah, shocking! Oh I have to say that this girl also danced in an erotic way. I read somewhere that the oldest profession in the world is prostitution. I guess since long ago, people know that sex sells. So anyways, yeah, who can deal with having a girl who's pretty much a village property? So the guy decided to join the army. Then the year came when the government was eradicating communism and communist party in Indonesia and the guy was part of the army who sweeped through villages and rounded everyone suspected to be involved with the communist party. The girl like the other villagers were rounded up and when the guy found out about his village, he tried his darnest to find and save her. I love the guy playing the main character, Rasus. I've never seen this actor before. You can really see the growth in his character in the way he acted. He started as this simple minded uneducated villager and towards the end of the movie, he turned into a really manly soldier. The way he gazed and stood told a lot about him. I thought the movie was well made but I didn't like the ending. I guess at the core, I just prefer happy ending. In the movie, the girl started out high and go down low in her status and that's the opposite with the boy and I guess that's the reason why in the end, they couldn't be together. With all they've been through, they have just become such different persons, that the love they once had really just belong in the past. Maybe they'll never love anyone that way again but I guess they realized they can live without that kind of love. I am seriously curious how it goes in the book. The film was first released last November in Indonesia. I remembered seeing the trailer when I was home for Dewi's wedding. Perhaps there are better films than this in Indonesia currently but since this is the one I watched and I like it, I hope they will do well oversea. I hope they try to make it for movie festivals and they'll win something.

The second movie this week was Hugo which I decided to watch in 3D. I love it but I have to say that it's not really a kid movie. I think kids will find it boring. I, however, like it greatly. It felt like an adventure. I love the world of the movie. It's touching and most of this come from the young boy who played Hugo. He's just kinda the saddest loneliest thing ever. I did think that his whole world would lose meaning the moment he managed to fix the automaton. Thank God, the hand of fate brings more things into his life. It seriously made me wonder, that could it be so, that it's just fate that many different pieces will come to you like metal to a magnet and all would make sense? I like the movie for many different things. I thought the story was smart. As like the 2 children (by the way Chloë Moretz looked so young here) who kept on going to find meaning in everything, I was too in bated breath waited in anticipation about what's gonna happen next, what does this all mean. I thought the actors were great, even the every single person in the train station though little and insignificant their role maybe. They have a sentimental romantic feel about them, especially with the movie being set to an older time. I like the clock tower, machinery scenes. I love the parts where old black and white movies were shown. It's so cool and of course one can sense the sentimental feeling that Martin Scorsese must have had with these movies. If only tv would show more of them. I am lucky to be able to watch some Charlie Chaplin, Shirley Temple, Jerry Lewis movies on tv when I was young. I seriously wish that tv these days would give the same opportunity to this generations to watch movies like that. I'm digressing. My point is old movies are sentimental and the story seems to be less complicated back then. Hugo is a very meaningful movie and one of the line that kinda hurts for me was when Hugo the boy said, Maybe it's the same with people. If you lose your purpose ... it's like you're broken. While I do like the movie very much, I have to admit it's not really a mainstream movie. I can imagine people finding it to be very boring. Well I guess those people are not a helpless romantic like me :P

The last movie this week was Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. I cannot remember which movie made me cry the most but perhaps this is it. I cried from beginning to end. I knew the movie is related to 911 and even though I know noone who died from 911, it is a very sad incident. Whenever the newspaper or tv show 911 related things during the anniversary, I sometime get teary eyed reading what people wrote or said. So anyways, I cried a lot in Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close that my eyes kinda hurt after the movie was done. It was really really intense and I think it was a really really good movie though many critics disagree with me. A bit like Hugo, this movie deals with a boy who lost their fathers. Unlike Hugo, the main boy in this movie, Oskar, is a boy who undefinitively may have asperger syndrome, who's very smart, who analyses everything, and at the same time has many mental flaws. You should see the way his brain worked in trying to find a lock for the key he found, he's amazing. He's not sad looking like Hugo but he's really sad and though his anger may make him less pitiful and hence less likable that Hugo, I still think Oskar is a really cool boy and I love him for all his bravery and determination. He summed up the difficulty that he'd have in his reconnaissance in this line really well, "I didn't know what was waiting for me. Although my stomach hurt and my eyes were watering I'd made up my mind that nothing was gonna stop me. Not even me." Really often time, it's us ourselves who stop us from getting to where we want and this young boy realized that. I think the boy who acted in this role is awesome. He also narrated the movie and it's really touching hearing him speak. I wonder how good the rest of the guys in best actor category for this year Oscar that he wasn't nominated :( As for the rest, the cast were awesome. Tom Hanks and Sandra Bullock are always awesome. The man who played grandpa was pretty cool too and also Viola Davis (she's pretty much always in good movies). Overall I love the movie a lot a lot and with that let me put my ranking for the best picture award for this year's Oscar.

Unfortunately, I didn't watch all the movies which are nominated :( I missed The Artist and Moneyball. So with the other 7 that I watched, my ranking are as follow:
1. Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
2. Hugo
3. The Help
4. War Horse
5. The Descendants
6. The Tree of Life
7. Midnight in Paris
I based this ranking mostly based on how much I love them and also by how much effort I think went into making them and how meaningful the story is. So even though I actually like The Tree of Life the least, I think it's more meaningful and deep than Midnight in Paris. Also, though I like War Horse and The Descendants pretty much the same way, I place War Horse higher because obviously there are more effort required in making that movie and the cinematography was better than the The Descendants. So based on the list, it's Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close which I like the most because it touched me the most. However if I have to factor in the way the movie was made, I think Hugo should win the best picture award, it was well made, has a really good story, nice effects, and a good ensemble of cast. Well, that's what I think. As I said I didn't watch The Artist and Moneyball and I'm really not sure how they will go in the ranking.

I will stop now. Cried a lot today and with Up being shown on tv now, I found myself getting teary eyed again. Well, I hope you guys have a good week ahead and I hope God will guide me on my way. Ciao tutti!

:) eKa @ 8:15:00 PM • 0 comments

Safe House

Hello guys, how are you doing? It's been awhile since I last wrote. Well it's because normally when I write something, I'm talking to you guys about movies and I haven't been watching anything recently until today. Last week I was sick. Bloody phlegm and all. Antibiotics made my throat better and the blood component of my phlegm is gone but the phlegm part is still here, even one week later. I guess I'm not fully well? The doctor also gave me some antibiotic medication for something else I'm having but that issue hasn't been cleared either :( Well, perhaps I should be thankful that it at least doesn't seem like it's getting worse? Point is, I'm seriously not in a very healthy condition right now.

On mental news, last week a news was delivered to me that made me feel so much better. I suppose I pray for things to God which I think are going to make me feel better but God has other ways to fix things and right now this is what He's giving me. I seriously felt so much better and it's like for the first time I can breathe again. It's not gonna last but I think for the time being it's okay. If I think about it, I still hyperventilate and get all depressed. Again, perhaps it will never be the solution that I want, it'll be God's and the main thing is to keep the faith that He'll have it covered. So for this week, life is not necessarily bad. I'm not sure how next week will go, but I guess we'll take it day by day.

There are still things that pissed me off of course. This week I had someone telling me that he hoped the things he said doesn't offend me. Well, doesn't that make me sound like some overly sensitive bitch? The reason why this guy was putting this line was because I am furious and basically not in speaking term with some people after the awful thing they said to me, as mentioned in one of my posts sometime in November. I know there are people (one of them is Dewi) who would say, "Yeah, I'll get over it and not be like you who keep grudges". But these same people also say things like, "Just don't associate yourself much with these kinda people anymore". So whatever, you know. Some people have certain things that make them explode and I have mine and my reasoning is totally valid as confirmed by many people. It's just some people are more forgiving and I am not. Since I'm in a bitching mood right now, let me tell you the kind of moronic things that I deal with. So I emailed someone something like this, "the changes are done but it will not work now because of X and Y needs to be done so that it'll work". Less than 15 minutes later the person emailed me back and told me, "I've checked it but why doesn't it work?". If you're in my place, wouldn't you be like, geez, didn't you read the mail?!?!. So what I did was, I replied back with, "As mentioned, ..." and I copied and pasted the one line from my previous email. I turned the whole texts bold and red. The damned person came back to me telling me there's no need to turn it to red because she could read it, thank you. Oh my dear Jesus!!! Don't you just feel like wanting to slap this dumbass. If you can read it, why the fuck didn't you read it the first time around? Every single thing is always my fault without anyone checking and going through the situation first. I remember telling my dear cousin, Marlisa, about it and she's a real fiery person herself and she normally has very eloquent, interesting, snappy retorts and she did give me some lines to say. However, how can I say those when just putting a line of text red and in bold form already garnered me some blow. After that whole episode, I chose to just shut up. You know, if I had been in that girl's position, I would have replied back something along the line, "I'm sorry, I'm an idiot, I didn't read the line you wrote. So sorry and thank you for your patience with me". Yet here, I am the one being vilified.

*sigh* So there, I rant. I normally try not to speak much about negative personal stuff that bring me down but I guess shouting it to the world is necessary sometime. I promise that I have been trying to see some positivity in my life. The proof is, have you checked my nicest things? It's not easy to do that but I am trying. On other news about my life, well, I just want to talk about french class. I seriously don't speak french :( well I suppose I could have tried better but mustering that conscious effort is hard and today I feel like a failure :( We have a bigger class now. Our class was combined with another small lower level class (they jumped up). 2 smaller classes should make a rather bigger class, but there are still not many people in the class. 5 to 6 normally since some people often come and often not. It seems like we're a go for next term and I hope we'll survive. Next week is the last class for this term and we're starting a new one immediately in the week after. I am okay about having Mr. N again as our teacher simply because it's like a comfort zone with him. I can speak in english and he'll just be interested in what my head would spout in whatever language it comes out in. Still, I should really be speaking more french now with some actual processing in my brain to deliver structurally and grammartically sound sentences. I'm so lazy :(

I guess I have nothing much to say in my life that I talked about french class. Life has been trudging along. Due to my massive homesickness and not wanting to deal with life here, I've been listening to a lot of Indonesian songs. I have to embarrassingly admit that I enjoy Cherry Belle's songs a lot. The line, you are beautiful, beautiful, kamu cantik, cantik couldn't get out of my head and so I got their albums and I actually enjoy them. They are korean girl band wannabe and Indonesia is currently filled with these types of korean girl and boy band wannabe. So while the girls can sing, I believe they are not particularly strong singers or anything. I just feel that their song writers are not so bad. So been hearing those and been trying to watch Opera Van Java when I can. It feels comforting to know that mom and me are watching the same thing even though we are in separate places. It made me warm and fuzzy when I texted my mom saying things like, "Eko is in Opera Van Java, it's pretty funny" and mom replied back something like, "Yeah it's funny, I'm watching it too". It doesn't happen all the time though, since mom favors the sinetron (to the dismay of Oshie). I was actually thinking how wrong this whole thing is. It's like I am in one place and my mind is in another place, like I'm not living in the place I should be. I don't know if it's making any sense but the idea of home, of Indonesia is really my safe house. My home back home is really seriously my safe house.

So those 2 lines above tie us to the title of the post which is also the movie I watched today with YeeMaggio. A weak linkage, I know. Anyway, I had 3 movies in mind, J. Edgar, Moneyball, and Safe House. Among the 3, Safe House is something I had the least preference to but I let YeeMaggio choose and she chose that. I'm not sure why, perhaps Ryan Reynolds. Maybe it's me, maybe I'm in a place where I need more amusing things to interest me that I didn't find Safe House to be particularly nice. I felt rather bored and got sleepy. I wonder if I would have understood the story if I haven't read the synopsis. Denzel Washington was his usual awesome and fierce. Ryan was handsome but overall I think the movie is forgettable. Ryan Reynold's character has the same age as mine and that made me think that gone are the days when the people in the movies are older than me. They are now mostly younger than me or at least the same age. I am reaching that age when things are being marketed to people younger than me. It may sound overly dramatic because it's totally premature but I feel like being phased out. I guess I'm in a state of mind when everything just bring the saddest thought in my head. Well, I guess I'll stop now. You guys take care, aight. Buonanotte!

:) eKa @ 8:01:00 PM • 0 comments

Things I Love When I Was In Indonesia

Hello guys, I'm back. Been back since Monday evening and my emotional state has plummeted so greatly that I shouldn't talk about it. Let's just talk about things which has a more positive vibe and things that I miss really dearly since I came back.

1. Mom. I love mommy. While my mom has certain views and opinions which differ greatly from what I have (and can annoy me so), there are those certain things which make me feel touched a lot, comforted, and down right think that she's the best mommy for me. One of the things that she told me to do really comforts me and I love it simply because it's not really something that Singaporeans here may think. One may argue because mom is not living in Singapore, she's perhaps out of tune with life here. However, I get where she's coming from and it's all really comforting to know at the bottomline what really matters. I also love mom for the fact that she got things or food that I may like. I miss home so and mom is one reason for it.

2. My bed. I love my bed and I miss it so :(

3. My family. I love how my extended family do hang out with each others. I love hanging out with my aunts. I love how a certain aunt is really funny about wanting me to have someone soon. For the past 3 years, I've only seen her once a year, and everytime she's egging me to get someone. She's funny. She didn't have much time to hassle me this time around because there were many people at her open house. I also love how my other aunt is teaching my 2-year old nephew (cousin's son = nephew?) to sing Bengawan Solo. It's by no mean an easy song and yet that's what they chose as the song to teach him. It's impressive that my aunt remembers the lyric. More so than me. It's downright really amazing that's what they want to instill in him. Then I love the fact that I can pinpoint that my brother has been spending time in Starbucks. I mean, seriously, like I told mom, of all the places in Tomang, I could sense correctly that he's in Starbucks. Pretty cool. I also love the fact that my bro gave me money when I didn't have smaller change and he got me the food I wanted on his way back from Starbucks.

4. I love my best girl friends, Dewi, Marlisa, and Emilia. Love talking to them and getting insight on their lives. It was really mind opening and also love having them listening to my woes. In general, I think all of us are not having the smoothest of lives right now though I feel that perhaps Emilia and Marlisa are the ones with the least agony right now.

5. I love Indonesian TV that make me laugh. I really have to be detailed on this because in general Indonesian tv still sucks. However, I am pleasantly surprised that some of them do get me laughing my ass off. One of them is Opera Van Java which I love and still trying to watch since I came back. I was curious about this show because a facebook friend, AA, often put it in his FB status. The show has been around for sometime but I only really watched it on this trip. It really made me laugh a lot and overall I think I have laughed so much more in my short time at home than I had been in the past year because of the so many amusing things. Anyways, I have to say that Opera Van Java style of comedy is pretty distinctly Indonesian. I may say it's low class at some point but darn it's funny. Most of it are slapstick but since it's pretty much an improvised live shows for 2 hours plus, moments like when they broke into speaking in pantun (rhyme) show how witty and smart these people are. Try coming out with rhymes on the spot every few minutes, it's not easy. I particularly love the part when they broke into songs suddenly. It does impede the whole story but it's funny funny funny!

6. Still related to number 4, I love how there are so much talent in Indonesia. Indonesia is like a huge range of ugly despicable moronic things to the highest high of really talented creative bunch of things. As comparison with my life here, I don't see the poor quality on things the way I see it in Indonesia, but I also don't get amused and taken away by the creativity in it. Like in Indonesian music scenes for example, while there are those that made me switch the channel the moment I saw them, there are those also which made me totally in awe that such things are in Indonesia.

7. I love the Indonesian-ness of Indonesia. I got my first batik shirt on this trip (courtesy of mom). I chose a red one to fit the chinese new year theme. I love how Indonesians embraces Indonesian culture and I think it's awesome.

8. While traffic and the pollution in Jakarta is something that I really don't enjoy, I am impressed with the busway. For the first time, I finally tried it with mom. It's definitely far from perfect, however the fact that they manage to create so many routes (the routes are definitely more complicated that Singapore mrt system) with so many busway bus stop points is pretty commendable. If it could run smoothly, it's a pretty good alternative to things. I am actually looking forward to try it more and perhaps on my own the next time I am home.

9. I had the chance to watch The Iron Lady. It's always nice to watch something ahead of Singapore and it's very rare. Went to Taman Anggrek and felt pretty impressed with their cinema. It seemed new as compared to when I was there years years ago. It's a high quality cinema and it's so good to be watching in an almost empty cinema. As usual I chose the aisle seat but as it started, I moved to right smack at the center of the cinema and my row was a divider row between 2 sections, I don't really know how to explain this, but basically I had more legs space. Wonderful! The Iron Lady was insightful and Meryl Streep was of course always awesome. I thought it was amazing how she managed to look so different and how small size they managed to make her be, especially in comparison to when she played Julia Child. Overall I think it's a nice a movie.

Being in Indonesia was really really relaxing to me. I have people who was glad to see me. I ate well. There are always many fruits in the house. I had good conversations. I had lotsa love. I basically felt I was loved. I really really miss home and all that really made being here sucks so badly. I felt that I am a different person when I was home than when I am here :( and it's frustrating sometime that these people whom I love dearly at home cannot see how I am here :(

Life here has been really bad. Right now, I am having difficulty sleeping all the time. I don't have a good appetite. The only moment when I had a good laugh this week when I was watching Opera Van Java streaming live off the net. Overall Singapore hasn't made feel good about being here. Well, finding out that prices went down in McDonalds was good but it's not KFC Indonesia for example, which really is much much better than Singapore's. Oh my God, when I was eating it, I was thinking this is how KFC should taste like and what the hell have I been eating all this time? Another reason to miss home.

So I have practically lost all will to live. I thought when I come back, I'll start doing something which I had planned and would perhaps gave me hope for the days ahead, but I found myself not interested in it. I did do other things which I really need to do but no luck so far and I prayed and pray and since there's still nothing so far, I'm pretty much bummed out. Hence I think I made my mom so worried. My dear cousin was so nice to be encouraging me and all and I feel guilty for having them to have to do this and be worried. I'm just really mentally down now. I'm sorry. I wish I could even spark a little positivity and light to bring me up but right now I can't really. I am in the point of tears most of time :( Alright, I shouldn't talk about this anymore.

In an attempt to do something which I normally like, I went to watch The Descendants today. I have to say it felt like a chore to get me to go and watch it. You see how down I am. Even the prospect of watching something nice didn't manage to interest me much. I was late and I missed some of it - that sucks. However, the movie was really good. I have watched some really heavy, borderline boring, George Clooney's movies but this one was not boring. It's pretty sad and in a way perhaps it matches how my mood is. I think the cast were great and if you don't mind getting quite depressed, you could go watch it.

Alright, I'm not gonna say much more. I hope your days are much better than mine. Take care!

:) eKa @ 6:31:00 PM • 0 comments

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