Djenar, you monkey!
Writers are the director of their own story in which they have the freedom to create their own world; the core nature of the process of writing. They would put life in the environments that they constructed, filling them with characters they breathed life in. It’s their personal world. A world in which they are, dare I say, the God.
Nobody else know better than they do.
And when the time comes to envision that world, no one could do it better than its own creator. A mother would always be able to tell interesting stories about her child, an art director would –well, should- always be able to present his storyboard. For the simple reason that they know better about what they did than no one else.
And no one could make Mereka Bilang, Saya Monyet better than Djenar herself.
I have to confess that I was rather sceptical about her directing her own movie, I was thinking that she was only, sorry to say, showing off… searching for sensation, a spotlight. But yes, now I have to swallow my own pride and say, “Fuck, she’s good…”
I am not familiar with the story because for some reasons, I didn’t read the book; I only glanced at some pages and somehow, I didn’t want to continue. But whatever the story is, you could see that in this movie, Djenar is simply putting her creation into images. Well, “simply” would not be the right adjective technically, but in the end, it’s what she did.
Transferring her words into images. As if without effort.
The fluidity of the storytelling impressed me. It was almost without choke and I found myself immersed into the story. I must say it is a risky move for a first timer because of the film’s various flashbacks, the number of characters… But she did stay on track; the story is always focused on the main characters, Adjeng (Titi Sjuman) and her mother (Hanidar Amroe) along with the almost clichéd relationship between them.
The main story deals with Adjeng, a writer who quits making children's tale to create a short story about her painful past. Some sort of a healing process, if you please. Along the way, she would discover that her present is mirroring her past and the key to let go is to actually jump in. It's another story of self-discovery, emphasized by one scene in the end involving Adjeng looking out of her window and waving. What can I say, it's a very simple story.
But it's done beautifully.
And it's not only Djenar. The entire casts are doing great as well, I love the interaction between Adjeng and her married lover, Asmoro (Ray Sahetapy), an almost has-been writer. The nearly oedipus relationship sometimes could get tiring, but I swear there are some excellent scenes about them and I had a good heartly laugh in one scene where Adjeng slams the door and opens it again; the dialogue is... priceless. Hanidar Amroe sometimes overdoes her perfomances, I really have something against how actresses portray strict mother here. It's too comical. Because sometimes it's not the high pitched voice that defines anger, you know.
I wouldn't say that the film is flawless. Au contraire, it has some weak spots, notably in camera angles, lighting, etc. But hey, it's all forgiven for me, because I saw those same faults in some of far more senior directors.
I love how Djenar loves her story. I think it is what makes this film beautiful. Djenar, how dare you monkeying around with my feeling?
If you have the chance, go watch this flick. Hopefully it's still playing at Blitz Megaplex
I dare you.