Tony Ryanto, Contributor, Jakarta
Eiffel... I'm In Love, like Ada Apa Dengan Cinta? (What's up with Love?), is a teen romantic comedy -- a genre which has been well received here for its effortless absorption, appealing narrative and elements of pop culture.
What do the two flicks have in common? First and foremost the cool detachment of their male leads. Nicholas Saputra in Cinta and Samuel Rizal in Eiffel.
Saputra is taciturn and handsome. Rizal is like Hollywood actor Vin Diesel and suffers from the misconception of others that he is harsh, unfeeling, indifferent...
In Rizal's case, this is to conceal the naivety, artlessness and other shortcomings of Adit, the character he plays.
This, however, doesn't mean that the female leads are not worthy of commendation. In Cinta, Dian Sastrowardoyo is a young woman of high principle and in Eiffel, Shandy Aulia, though not as stunning as Titi Kamal (Intan) in Cinta, is a character that we empathize with.
But the real magnetism of the two films lies with Rizal and Saputra. This means that audiences most likely to feel the earth move (beneath their cinema seats) are young women not young men.
Eiffel, was produced by U.S.-educated, 25-year-old Sunil Soraya, the son of veteran producer Ram Soraya. Sunil was inspired to turn teenage-novelist Rachmania Arunita's story of the same name into a film after reading it two years ago.
After his dad gave the green-light, Sunil asked Nasri Cheppy to direct. Two weeks of the 75 days of shooting took place in Paris.
Thus, it is in Paris that Adit (Rizal) and Tita (Aulia) agree to temporarily end their quarrel. Love blossoms amid the cool night air -- (for anyone but lovers the night was probably just dark and cold) -- and the 300-meter tall Eiffel Tower -- ever symbolic of romance -- is the perfect backdrop.
The story starts with Adit, who is studying in France, flying to Jakarta to stay with Tita and her parents. Tita is made to understand that she is destined to be Adit's wife, because their parents ""want it that way"".
In the interim, the two are free to enjoy their youth. Tita's boyfriend is Ergi (Yogi Finanda) and Adit's girlfriend is Intan. Teen comedies generally follow a predictable path. All relationships (bar the leads' romance) are stepping stones to the main event.
When Adit and Ergi go to buy drinks for their partners, Intan confesses to Tita that Adit is her former lover. She also tells Tita that Adit love her. In due time, Intan continues, Adit will reveal his true feelings toward Tita and prove that his rough exterior is simply a guise.
Audiences may struggle to understand what planet Intan has dropped from, so pure hearted and so inexplicably kind.
The narrative of Eiffel is played out well; there are a lot of memorable scenes. The slow-motion sequence of Intan's arrival in Paris is reminiscent of Halle Berry rising from the sea to be met by Pierce Brosnan in Die Another Day.
Tita's bed and bedroom in Paris are showered with white roses. This scene has parallels with Sam Mende's American Beauty, in which Kevin Spacey envisions Mena Suvari covered with roses.
Eiffel... I'm in love is playing at selected cinemas in Jakarta with Dolby Digital sound. The soundtrack is arranged by husband-and-wife-team Anto Hoed and Melly Goeslaw -- probably the best music producers in the country -- and recorded by Mark Blackwell and Antonio Rojas at Soundfirm, Fox Studios, Sydney.