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 •

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