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.