Atchafalaya Swamp

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

"Rainbow Warrior" aka Laskar Pelangi

Best movie I've seen in a long while, folks. And that includes all the Hollywood ones.

An adaptation from Andrea Hirata's novel, the first of the tetralogy, this movie broke all box office records in super-populous Indonesia.

You'd think with rampant
ciplaking and DVD bajakan going on, people won't flock to the big screen any more. But they still do. Especially when a real good movie comes along, they still line the velvety ropes, don't they? Great movies are best savored on the big screen, as God had intended them to be. Not on your plasticky grey China-made 21 incher in the old 4:3 format.

Even President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono was not spared by the movie's impact. He forced his whole cabinet to watch at a legislative sitting - just so his reps can truly appreciate the failings of Indonesia's public school system.

All this was almost a year ago.


And it still hasn't hit the big screens at our glitzy cineplexes in 1-Utama or Mid-Valley either.

Poor culture-starved folks in Malaysia can only settle for generic (and forgettable) horror fare like
Setan Budeg.

A gross injustice has been perpetrated here, man. I almost feel compelled to write to Cathay and TGV, the main movie distributors in Bolehland, and ask -

I live and work in Indonesia - each time I come home to Malaysia I open the movie listings page with trepidation - and disappointment.

Notchetyet, lah.

It's been so long that even the official DVD has hit the shelves here in Indonesia. I've been raving about it to my family so much that I already bought some to bring home. Just to feed their curious anticipation too.

The DVDs are in my laptop bag right this moment and coming home to a private screening at my cluttered living room on my 32" CRT TV soon.
Belum ada Plasma laa bang...

Cinematography? - Top Rate.

Acting Cast / Ensemble? - Brilliant. Cut Mini Theo is beautifully cut out for her role as the early seventies Ibu Muslimah. Supporting casts include stellar Indo thespians like Ikranagara, Tora Sudiro, Jajang C. Noer, and Alex Komang. But the kiddie actors, as in Slumdog, is what this movie is all about.
Folks, you're going to shed plenty of tears. Don't say I didn't warn you!

The actors had to undergo intensive training in Bahasa Melayu to perform their roles convincingly. And after watching it you can almost believe that you are watching a Melayu movie. A "Melayu" movie that became the best-selling ever movie in Indonesia, that is. Imagine that, watching a an "Indonesian" movie - arguably the best ever - in Malay?

According to Cut in an interview, she had "begged" director Riri Reza and producer Mira Lesmana for the role of Ibu Muslimah. Riri was impressed that Cut was able to impart a certain sadness even while smiling, a required trait that l
anded her the poignant role.

The set direction was flawless. As a child growing up in the 60s and early 70s, Belitung was similar to rural Malaysia as I had remembered it. The producers certainly took great pains to create scenes for this period piece. Great for nostalgia buffs.

Is this the best Indonesian movie I've ever seen?

Yes. Me thinks it deserves and Oscar for Best Foreign Film.

I'm hoping the Malaysian Cathay or TGV distributors will come to their senses and bring it in for release.

Just don't borrow the DVD from me, though. It has already been booked months in advance!

And please don't buy the pirated copy. Besides, it's haram to do so.The original DVD will probably find its way to Malaysia eventually. Better yet, and I'm sure good sense will prevail, Laskar will hit our cineplexes soon.

Better see it on the big screen


I was prompted to write this after being inspired by Alina Abdullah's take in her "ranting chanting" blog.


drbubbles said...

Abe Mat Salo,

Yes.Ada jugak orang lain yang suka tengok Laskar Pelangi.I asked a friend to buy me the DVD and she got me a bajakan one.Haven't collect it from her yet.

I have been waiting for the movie to be shown in our cinema too.I don't know why lah they don't want to show it here.

Seen the trailer and love the OST!

zara said...

Bang Feisal,

I only knew of this movie when Hafiz of AF7 sing this song ft the kids. Soon after that, I google for the lyric and it is such a wonderful lyric!

But I have a request..erm..can I have the DVD too? :) Alaaa.. please....

Hehe.. take care, Bang Feisal..

Anonymous said...


ini saya petik daripada balasan komen saya di blog:

"oh elvira dan kakintan memang penulis hebat. dan bro mat salo (saya dah baca blog anda). Oh rasanya boleh sarankan MB selangor untuk tontonkan filem ini pada adun adun beliau, kan? Saya dapat tahu daripada rakan yang kemungkinan Grand Brilliance akan bawa cerita ini ke Malaysia. Oh Setan Gudeg itu saya ada terlihat tajuknya di wayang tempoh hari (Bukankah gudeg itu sejenis makanan? Oh makanan pun boleh jadi petualang ya?). Dan saya tonton ini dari dvd, kirimin melalui teman yang ke jakarta barubaru ini. Oh terima kasih kerana baca blog saya."

dan tambahan: saya rasa perlunya setiap orang yang meminati Laskar Pelangi mendapatkan DVD yang original kerana mengandungi booklet seperti ada fitur fitur tentang temuramah dengan Andrea Hirata, di belakang tabir (bagaimana mereka skrintest anak anak Pulau Belitong, contohnya) dan sebagainya.

Ini memang karya yang hebat.

Dan cubalah juga untuk baca bukunya. Terjemahan Malaysia ada dijual di PTS.

Akmal said...

Honestly, this is the first time I heard about Laskar Pelangi. I am not a big fan of Malay and Indon movie except a few, that explains quite a lot of my 'ketidaktahuan' of this movie. After reading this piece of yours and watching the trailer and OST, heck, i think i will kill to get a DVD of this.
Will you give yours? Your life at stake. Hehehehe~~~

cakapaje said...

Salam bro,

Normally, I would love to read the book first before watching the movie. But bearing in mind that Bahasa Indonesia can be a totally different language, then I'll settle for the movie anytime. Now, to sit and wait for it to come to Malaysia, Pak.

Anonymous said...

I want one, and that is for you to buy me one.

IF I insist to pay then you would get all upset because I want to pay, then I call you names for being silly, then you tell me to forget it... the whole drama will start if I say "I pay you for the CD"

Am right or am I right?

Mat Salo said...

Dr. Bubbles,

Betul tu.. Apahal takder disributor kan Meshia tak amik.. After all it's THE BIGGEST BOX OFFICE HIT IN INDONESIAN HISTORY.

I think it will come. But with the lush cinematography sayang mau nonton di kaca TV yang kecil, Pak. Lho... jangan yang bajakan. Ori laa Pak. Sini ori baru 59 ribu. Sekitar 20 ringgit. Ada booklet lagi.

I love the OST too!

Mat Salo said...


Hehee.. tons of poeple want the DVD too. Kalau I bawak balik banyak2 abih kena kat custom nanti. 2-3 maybe boleh lah. Lebih dari tu depa mintak lesen FINAS kot? Haha.

But since film distributors in our country are so stupid, it's probably too late now. The DVD's will probably hit the shelves in Miri soon. Lemme tell you, it will make you think about how lucky we are.

Yeah, you take care too. Ada jumpa Dr. Teo tak? :)

Mat Salo said...


How's studies, bro?

If there is only movie you are allowed to watch this year - then this is the one you should see.

Mat Salo said...


I have the book at home. The book is also a mega bestseller so I bought it. Kunon nak baca but tak sedar my BM merangkak-rangkak. Blum pun abih lagi... Hai.

But I'll lend it to you bila pulang ke tanah air nanti.

Mat Salo said...


Yes, you're SO right. I won't confirm or deny it here just so nobody accuses me of favoritism!

But what makcik wants, she usually gets, isn't that true? Hehee...


Salt N Turmeric said...

Mat Salo, you have already piqued my interest in this movie that i have not ever heard before! I love heavy drama kinda movie. :)

p.s. I watched the trailer and surprised that it's more bahasa melayu than bahasa indonesia. why is that so?

mamadou said...

Mat Salo

Terima kasih kerana perkhabaran tentang Laskar Pelangi, saya sudah ketinggalan banyak.

Terima kasih sekali lagi

Mat Salo said...


Truth be told I haven't watched the movie in its entirety - only snippets of it. I promised my beloved that I would watch it together with herwhen I get home lah.

I was surprised just like you were when I saw the trailer. What? Cakap Melayu? Belitung is an island near Riau off Sumatera. Ooooh. Melayu laa tu. That was before, in the 70's. So the monie had to stay true to that period.

Now Indonesia, just like the US, has successfully integrated their standard language throughout the archipleago. Nowadays tak der laa sangat 'bahasa daerah' or slang speak. Everybody speaks standard Bahasa. Which is amazing. Not laa like in Malaysia. When East Coasters open their mouths, it's almost a dead giveaway...

Mat Salo said...

Pak Mamadou!

Bener Pak. Gpp.. better late than never. Ini phenomena yang amat hebat pada pencinta seni.

Take care, ya Pak. Nanti pulang, saya akan ngontek.

muteaudio said...

Dah lama menunggu Laskar Pelangi masuk M'sia, sampai pelangi pun dah hilang. Kalau lama sangat, I think I hv to kirim from u lah.

I think Cathay & TGV are what we call 'tukang tayang'. They don't bring in or distribute the movies. Ni kerja company like Grand Brilliance, Buena Vista etc. Which I think the tayangan won't be very soon bcoz the movie have to ber'combat' with Hollywood summer release. Knowing how majority M'sian thinks, tht no M'sian or Indonesian movies are good enough for them...so some of us hv to suffer waiting lah. Ramai mana org yg nak tengok Laskar Pelangi berbanding Transformers 2, Public Enemy etc.

So, in the mean time like I said earlier...I have to kirim from u lah. Blh bayar pakai 'pay pal' or air liur? Hahahaha

Mat Salo said...

Bro Mute..

Eh, I takut nak bawak banyak2 nanti kantoi kat airport custom ingat I buat bisnes tanpa lese FINAS. Mampuih, bro. As a videographer you will appreciate the sets and lush kampong scenes made true to the 70s period. Cara cakap, mannerisms, slang, dress just like I remembered it.

No sweat, I pinjam u my copy. Pinjam tau? Kena kasi balik.

Tks for the clarification on the movie distributors bro.

Kerp (Ph.D) said...

heyyy...welcome back.

and i'll certainly be on the lookout for this one. kinda in the mood for some non-hollywood flicks. saw our very own Kami, a story about some teenage kids trying to set foot on a platform in adults world. not bad to give it a view, especially when there's no more footie to catch.

bro, Setan Budeg tu apa? setan pekak?

Mat Salo said...

Bro Kerp.. ntah lah bro, budeg tu apa ntah. Minat nak pi nonton ke? Hehee...

Bro-in-law gue was very much involved in the pementasan and managment of KAMI. Quite interesting but my mood these days is going over oldies...

Dah pi eskapisminda blum? Now that's a new artist worth checking out!

galadriel said...

Ndak gak tengok. I like movies like this.

MS, bila balik? I need your shoulder.

And of course u need me to keep u straight.

Come back!

And bring back my book. The Dante Club.

Mat Salo said...

Aiyo, Sis... Mana I tarok buku tu ah? I belum kasi balik ke? Ah, nanti pulang cari.

Mmmm. can pinjam from me what. No problem.

Yes, I DO need you to keep me straight. Kindred spirits lah... :)

Pacha Osman Adrian said...

still waitin for th dvd abang!!!! love ya

firman said...

saya dari indo, dan filem ini menggunakan bhs melayu riau.
jadi ini membuktikan bahwa kita adalah dua buah bangsa yang sebangsa, seagama, sebahasa, dan setanahair...

salam dari indo

Eskapisminda said...

Hi Bro, the movie was a 'mover' for me too. I cried because it was beautifully pictured and delivered. I wish we bought more of it to share with others.

Sori, komen lambat sikit... :)

Anonymous said...


you can catch it on Youtube albeit in 10" parts.

Enjoy it....

Esty said...

This movie is superb.
It "shits on" every movie from Indonesia, including the lame but succesful Ayat-Ayat Cinta (The Verse Of Love)

and you guys do need to read the book!
It explains some missing parts from the movie.

I laughed, cried, smiled, and be sad also proud while watching it.
And of course it made me understand that i'm so lucky to have a chance to get my education.


Esty said...

This movie is superb.
It "shits on" every movie from Indonesia, including the lame but succesful Ayat-Ayat Cinta (The Verse Of Love)

and you guys do need to read the book!
It explains some missing parts from the movie.

I laughed, cried, smiled, and be sad also proud while watching it.
And of course it made me understand that i'm so lucky to have a chance to get my education.


Mat Salo said...

Pak Firman, Mba Esty...

Ma'af ya telat balas kommentar.

Appreciate you leaving your thoughts here.

Ga rame jua temen Indo yang datang lewat biarpun blog ini dari Indo.


Anonymous said...

awesome blog, do you have twitter or facebook? i will bookmark this page thanks. jasmin holzbauer

Anonymous said...

Filem sang pemimpi is better!