Life

National Film Month: Time
warp, anyone?

From March 1 through March 31, die-hard movie buffs should take time from their routine to enjoy an adventure back to the past which celebrates the diversity and richness of films produced by local filmmakers from across the generations.

The highlight of this annual event is the screening of some films in which legendary comedian Bing Slamet starred.

Yes, National Film Month has come around again put together by the Jakarta Art Council's Kine Forum. Organizers will be screening premiers by a who's who in the country's film scene including the likes of Garin Nugroho and Riri Riza. Other than film screenings, the event will stage some concerts and an exhibition on the history of Indonesian film.

Event organizer Lisabona Rahman explained screening old films has become a signature for national film month. Besides giving us all a chance to indulge in some nostalgia, these films open a portal to social and cultural conditions in the country when the films were produced.

Lisabona talked about the difficulties in getting hold of copies of these older films. "Support and requests to screen old films keep coming in. I guess they show how much movie lovers today are eager to know more about films from the past."

The monthlong event will screen films organized in six categories: Body of Works of Djadoeg Djajakusuma, Remembering (knowing?) Bing Slamet, Six decades of romance, Underworld, and Nia Dinata's woman's world, a journey across time and ethnicity. Below are glimpses of each category.

Body of works: Djadoeg

Djajakusuma

Djadoeg was a pioneer who laid the foundation for the film industry in Indonesia. Born in Temanggung on Aug. 1, 1918, Djadoeg with Usmar Ismail learned how to make films from Huyung, Andjar Asmara and Sutarto. Shortly after the country's independence, Djadoeg and Usmar founded the state-owned film company Perfini. Djadoeg continued his film and art performance studies at Washington University and University of Southern California, respectively His passion to put populist theater and traditional performances center stage were evident in his work. Embun (Dew), Harimau Tjampa (Tjampa tiger), Pak Prawiro (Mr. Prawiro), Tjambuk Api (Tongue of fire), Lahirnya Gatotkatja (Gatotkatja's birth), Masa Topan dan Badai (season of wind and storm), and Malin Kundang (translation) will be screened.

Remembering (knowing)

Bing Slamet

Multitalented artist Bing Slamet was born in Cilegon, West Java, on September 27, 1927 as Ahmad Syech Albar. He used "Bing" for his stage name because of his admiration for US comedian Bing Crosby. Besides producing films in which he starred Bing Slamet also released music albums and was part of comedy group. Two of his films, Tiga Buronan (Three fugitives) and Ambisi (Ambitions) will be screened.

Six decades of romance

This category spotlights romances produced between 1950 and 2000, varying from dramas set during revolutionary war to the Internet Age. Romance films with heartthrob headliners such as the late Bambang Irawan, Rano Karno and Nicholas Saputra will be screened. Formulas are formulas, but the picks this year show how expressions of love also evolve over time.

Tiga Dara (Three girls) from 1956, Pedjuang (Soldier, 1960), Badai Pasti Berlalu (Storms will go away, 1970), Arini (Masih Ada Kereta Yang Akan Lewat) or Arini (Another train is gonna come, 1987), Ramadhan dan Ramona (1992), Ada Apa Dengan Cinta? (What's with love, 2001), Eiffel, I'm In Love (2003) to Love (2008) are all on the roster.

Their first time

Top-notch directors like Garin Nugroho, Riri Riza and Hanung Bramantyo are recognizable names whose movies consistently draw praise and applause from movie buffs. These success stories, however, did not happen overnight. Looking back at the now-renowned directors' grueling days as rookies in the film industry with a retrospective of their early works is the focus of this collection. Movie lovers will get the rare chance to see Garin Nugroho's Gerbong Satu Dua (one two cart), Nan T. Achnas' Hanya Satu Hari (Just one day), Hendrata R. Saputra's Lelaki Tua (old man), Ravi L. Bharwani's Dua Nada (Two Tunes), Riri Riza's Sonata Kampung Bata (Bata village ode), Harry Suharyadi's Happy Ending, Rako P. Borneo's Pasar (Market), Aria Kusumadewa's Medi, Pencopet Palembang and Hanung Bramantyo's Tlutur.

Underworld

A number of alternative films with controversial themes of Indonesian life in the shadows have been brought together in this category. The lives of gigolos in Quickie Express, gamblers in Gara-Gara Bola (All because of soccer) and Jakarta night lives in Jakarta Undercover will be screened. The films demonstrate the diversity of themes and characters our filmmakers have tried to explore and proves they do not all cater to the current market for easy-selling sex comedies and horror flicks.

Nia Dinata's woman's world: A journey across time and ethnicity

In the past ten years, women have been taking a bigger part of film work behind the camera, moving beyond the one sided role of prima don nas on the silver screen. Director Nia Dinata has consistently created richly themed films with fully wrought woman characters front and center. Most of her leading characters are urban and suburban women mired in social and personal conflicts which put the spice in her films. Her films profiling strong female characters are on the schedule: Ca Bau Kan, Arisan!, Berbagi Suami and Perempuan Punya Cerita.

All films are to screened at Taman Ismail Marzuki's Cineplex. For further schedule info go to www.kineforum.wordpress.com.

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