Radit & Jani: Brutally Romantic?
I was invited to the premiere of Radit dan Jani, a new feature film from Upi who directed Cinta, Realita & Rock n Roll, which I thought was one of the better teen movies in present time. Radit dan Jani has a quite interesting rooster such as Vino G Bahtiar, Fahrani, Marrio Merdithia, Fahrani, Joshua Pandelaki, Fahrani, Nungki Kusumastuti and did I mention Fahrani? So I went to see the movie last night and after the whole 110 minutes of it, I got out and saw my friend.
She eyed me and said, "You hate it..."
I quickly looked for a mirror to see my own expression.
It was an expression of confusion. I didn't understand what I was feeling at that very moment. I felt that I was missing something. It was weird.
But let me get back to the film for a while before we discuss it further.
Radit dan Jani is a romantic movie. A different kind of romantic, emphasized by the "Brutally Romantic" tagline. A romantic movie with a touch of rock 'n roll, a rebellious liaison between two people, a modern tale of Romeo and Juliet if you please, injected with doses of heroin.
Radit (Vino G Bahtiar) is your typical rocknroller; skinny, t-shirt and tight jeans, skinned hairdo and tattoos (they look fake though). He doesn't have a steady job, relying only to his dream of becoming a rock star. He is persuaded that one day his demo tape makes it to some music producers. Meanwhile, he's destroying himself by taking drugs almost daily. Well, maybe he sees it as some kind of training of becoming a rock star. He is also married to the love of his life, Jani (Fahrani, Fahrani, Fahrani...), a cool cat without any job, also tattooed (and yes, they're real). She is always there for Radit. Hell, she would do anything for him. They live in a shady apartment which cleanliness could be compared to the bottom of a trash bin and their only concern is how to live another day. They are the outcasts of the society, their parents, their peers...
... but they don't care.
They have each other's love.
Screw food, screw jobs, screw life... they have each other.
That's what the film is all about. That's the whole conflict.
And that's the part I really dig about the film. The spirit of love conquering all, the sole belief that as long as they -or we, as lovers- have each other; everything else is just details. Because for me, it's how love should be. A love so deep, so great and so pure, it hurts you to your very core. Unconditional love. Nothing would stop them.
Fuck, it's beautiful.
But did I see it in the movie?
Well, yes and no, actually.
You see, I have to empathize with the characters to truly experience what they're going through. I need backgrounds, I need back stories... I need to know them as people, not only characters. I had a hard time for those two lovebirds because, frankly, I feel that I don't know them at all... I only know superfluous things about them. I can't reach for them. They are just people I saw on the streets on my way back home or my forgotten neighbors. They are not my friends. And that was what made my face being weird at the end of the movie. I don't know them well enough.
I would love to feel them. To experience their pain, their joy... their life.
Trust me, I would love to. But I couldn't.
Because there are moments where you could feel it. The warm feeling that starts to embrace you the moment when, for example, Radit was playing a silly alphabet game with Jani. I want more of those.
What's a tragedy without moments of monumental joy to crush afterward?
It's the one main problem for me in this film. There are way too much depressing, sad, crying scenes with repeated dialogues. I wanted a roller coaster. Ups and Downs. Make me fly higher so you could crash me harder at the end. Remember Life is Beautiful? That movie singlehandedly jerked some of my tears -did I just write that?- because it brought me gigantesque cheers before it crushed me with that freaking final walk.
Look, I know Radit dan Jani went for another direction. It wants to be brutal, draining your emotion. But in the end, I only felt drained.
Don't get me wrong. I like this movie. I like how the director managed to portray the real life, the "backstage" of the rock n roll culture and the dangerous liaison. It has interesting camera moves, editing and the soundtracks are pretty good too.
Vino has really matured from his previous works, his delivery is pretty convincing. I tag him as one of indonesian actors to be watched. Although he sometimes overdid his deliveries, but overall, I was quite impressed. But not as impressed watching Fahrani. She has a certain undefined quality, for me, that can make her a great actress; give her some more time, she would shine. Not to mention she's cool as hell -pretty contradictive, ain't it?-
I could recommend this film to anyone for the various reasons stated above.
But to be honest, the one thing that can make me go back seeing Radit dan Jani is its one simplistic core.
A story of a love so deep it hurts.