I have been a professional writer for five years.

Gastronomy, lifestyle, travel, sustainability, culture, and history are some of the themes that I have worked with in the past. I love getting involves with individuals, companies, organizations, and communities with stories to tell.

Words, sentences, stories... these are my passion. I love to take new challenges in writing for various format and media. I create contents for websites, blogs, and communication materials.

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Jiffest 2007 & The Movies Within

I know I’ve been complaining continuously about Jakarta. I (and its millions of inhabitatans) keep on ranting of bus-corrupting government, daily traffic (more of this rage in previous blog), endless development of new megamall and apartement, U.S.A and U.K franchise attack with its end-of-the-year-sale, surging flood which recently cut the airport route in addition to tons of other problems happening in this all-in capital of Indonesia.

But like another big cities, living in Jakarta also comes with privileges. If you happen to have an abundance of rupiah, that is. The grandiose malls easily beat Singapore or Malaysia (ehem). You can buy everything from the highest or the cheapest price possible in Jakarta (try shopping in Plaza Indonesia and Mangga Dua then you’ll see what I mean). That new It-Bag from Chloe. Check. The new fake Louis Vuitton bag. Check. Anything. It is a heaven for all kind of shopper. I haven’ t mention the food, have I? It is worth its own blog. Any kind of food in Indonesia and the world are there in Jakarta. That is why I keep coming back and more people still coming, despite the risk and demanding life. Jakarta can tease and kiss, but it also can kick and kill you. It’s a femme fatale every guy want to make love and conquer.

One thing I surely enjoy about Jakarta is the festival. There are Java Jazz Festival, JakJazz Festival, the new Screamfest, Jakarta Biennale, Art Summit and finally, Jiffest. Jiffest stands for Jakarta International Film Festival and like last year, this time is a lot of fun.

Between taking care of my recovering Aunt and finishing uni’s administration, I managed to slip in 5 amazing movies. I won’t write the review here since I believe I’m not a good reviewer and there are people out there who are paid to do just that. But in case you are wondering, below are those 5 movies with my comment and rating.

*Across the Universe

Starring: Evan Rachel Wood, Jim Sturgess, Joe Anderson, Dana Fuchs, Martin Luther McCoy and dazzling cameo appearances
Rating: I am in love!

This is made for all Beatles fans out there. From the first scene where a solitary dreamer sings “Girl”, I knew I was in for a treat. I keep smiling and sometimes weeping right from the start. The setting is 1960’s with the hippies flower power and Vietnam War. At first we were introduced to few major character. There is Jude (you know from which song), a hopeful Liverpool lad who want to travel to find his Dad. There is Lucy, a WASP high school beauty who lost her beau to Vietnam War. Then there is Max, a Priceton rebel-without-a-cause whom later with Jude, ran away to New York City.

There they met a lot of interesting characters from the hot singer, Sadie to Dr. Flower Power (Bono in thick moustache and groovy attire! I came close to ask my friend to slap me hard). All of the characters are singing with their voices, worthy of starry credits. The juxtaposition of images, objects and details goes wonderfully with the songs which beautifully arranged and performed.Perfect. I was practically singing when Max sings “Hey Jude” for Jude. I fell in love with this one, if it is possible to fell in love with a movie and can’t help but tell the world about it. Click here for the full qualified review.

*4 Months, 3 Weeks, 2 Days
Starring: Annamaria Marinca, Laura Vasiliu, Vlad Ivanov
Rating: I’m sure won’t watch this again but WOW!
I’ve heard about this abortion movie from a friend who told me it was winning awards in every festival. So I watched it for a gripping 113 minutes. What strikes me as peculiar is how the scenes were taken. Odd angle, still scenes with minimal dialogue and voices. One can’t help but be absorbed into the life of Otilia and Gabita because it feels so real. Raw real. Otilia is helping her friend Gabita to get an abortion which was illegal in Romania back then. They rented a hotel room and hire a Dr. Bebe to get rid of the unwanted fetus. Even though its Gabita who will abort her baby and therefore in the pitiable position, all I feel for her character is rage. Rage for her weakness, her foolishness, which allows Dr. Bebe to gain benefit of their situation. It’s Otilia who must execute the dirty works.

This movie will definitely shocks you in the middle and in the end, where it was ended abruptly without a clear conclusion. My friend found the ending very annoying. But the way I see it, it’s the director’s way to let audience decide what should happen to the characters. Nevertheless, I left the theater feeling heavy. This is sure not an easy movie to digest.

*2 Days in Paris
Starring: Julie Delphy, Adam Goldberg
Rating: My hands were busy writing down the witty dialogues
After Romanian abortion movie, I was comforted to find that 2 Days in Paris coming next. Wrong. It is an easy movie but it still keep your brain buzzing. The story essentially about an American-French couple, Jack and Marion. From their blitzing frenzy trip in Venice to go back to New York, they decided to spend 2 days in Paris as a stop over. Jack is a paranoid interior designer whose allergic to all kind of things (from terrorism to leaking pipe) while Marion is a neurotic photographer whose a natural born flirt. I forgot my popcorn when I watched the scene where Jack mislead a bunch of his Da-Vinci-Code-cracker-Bush-voter countrymen and when he admitted it to Marion, she only compliment and kiss him. Big Haha #1.

From that scene, Jack and Marion ‘s story just getting funnier. Her obnoxious French speaking parents add to the joyful characters. Her papa, quizzed Jack over a rabbit stew of French writers (Big Haha #2) while her drama queen mama compliment his ‘nice willy’ when “accidentally” see Jack’s nude picture with baloon (Big Haha #3). Meet the Parents, indeed. For the next 2 days, Jack would witness Marion getting flirty and flirtied by her ex-es. France and America in comic collision and witty dialogues. I feel like re-watching “Before Sunrise” and “Before Sunset” for the hundredth times. Bravo, Madame Delphy!

*The Fall
Starring: Lee Pace, Cantica Untaru
Rating: Keep ‘wow-ing’ me until the end
The story is about Roy Walker, a stuntman who had an accident and have to stay in hospital. There she met a little girl, Alexandria, whom he lured by stories so she would steal morphines for him. The amazing thing about this movie is where it was shot or to be exact, in how many places it was shot (26!). The scenes sweep audiences from Fiji to Italy, showed Swirling Dance in Turkey to Kecak Dance in Bali. It took my breath away. Every mouths in that theater were gaping in wonder. For the full listing of where they shot the movie, click here. Alexandria, naturally performed by Cantica Untaru, stole the movie and my heart away with her smile and act. Hell, what act? She doesn’t act. Dakota, be warn.

Starring: Bruno Ganz, Theo Gheorghiu, Julika Jenkins
Rating: Inspiring me to get a piano lesson. Again.
The story is about Vitus, a genius little boy and his family. There is his inventor papa, obsessed loving mama and witty eccentric grossvater. It shows Vitus pyschological development from a little boy to a rebellious teenager who fell in love with seven years older ex-Vitus babysitter. He is witty and delivers cheeky remarks such as asking his teacher “if a teacher is smarter than the student, then why James Watt’s teacher didn’t invent the machine?” .Later when circumstances makes him fed up being genius, he was forced him to do a drastic measure like flew down from his balcony and ended up being average kid with IQ 120. After being a moustached evil dictator, Bruno Ganz delivers another superb performance in Vitus’s airplane-simulation-addicted grossvater who teach him to find his own way in life and who he wants to become. I really enjoyed this one. Perfect with pop corn and Diet Coke.

So, ladies and gentlemen, that’s a wrapped version of my Jiffest 2007. Now I am back in Bali, still dreaming of those movies and mourning each passing day of the sad cinematic tragedy shown in local theaters. Perhaps I should invent Bali’s own Jiffest? Like perhaps Biffest? Hmm…

I miss Jakarta. Now.

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