Sailing on a paper boat
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Many fans of singer turned writer Dewi “Dee” Lestari have been anticipating the screening of the film Perahu Kertas (Paper Boat), which is adapted from her novel bearing the same title.
Now they can unleash their curiosity as director Hanung Bramantyo has visualized the story and characters in the 444-page book on the silver screen.
The award winning director is mostly known for adapting the Islamic novel Ayat-ayat Cinta (Verses of Love) by Habiburrahman El Shirazy into a blockbuster movie that could even prompt President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono to tears. His other films based on novels are Jomblo (Single) and Perempuan Berkalung Sorban (The Woman with the Headscarf).
We may think that it’s easy for him to adapt another novel to the silver screen. Or, is it?
Hanung said he was just a medium who breathed life into the characters and locations that existed in the novel. What bothered him was high expectation from the audience and how people might compare the film and the novel.
He believes that avid fans of a novel adapted into a movie flock to the cinema with many questions and a skepticism over how the film can satisfy their imagination or whether the film obediently follows the plot of the novel.
“Perahu Kertas actually scares me because it is so visual. The descriptions about Keenan and Kugy are so clear,” Hanung said during a press screening on Aug. 8.
Keenan and Kugy are the central characters in the movie. Kugy, played by Maudy Ayunda, is a petite and cheerful college girl who studies in Bandung, West Java. Unlike many other girls her age, who like to dress to impress, Kugy gives little care to her daily appearance as her mind is occupied with the ideas and imagination of child storytelling.
She likes to share with her friends about the imaginary world of Neptunus, the Roman god of water and the sea, and loves to put her index fingers on the side of her temples when she is seeking inspiration. Her weird and funny attitudes see that she is loved by her friends.
Her world becomes more colorful once she meets Keenan, played by Adipati Dolken. They both share their dreams and their fear of making irrational decisions to follow their hearts. Keenan, who studies economics at a university merely to fulfill his father’s hopes, finds the spirit to follow his dream to become a painter, while Kugy receives encouragement to become a children’s book writer.
For various reasons, they do not reveal their feelings for each other. Keenan holds his feeling because Kugy still has a long distance relationship with Ojos (Dion Wiyoko), while Kugy desperately tries to hide her affection for him when a rich and beautiful girl approaches him.
Kugy finally ends her relationship with Ojos when she is forced to choose between him and her passion for child’s world. She becomes a copywriter in an advertising agency, while Keenan abandons his study and goes to Bali to become a painter.
It’s the same old recipe for drama, when love finds boundaries, but the on and off events that separate and unite the characters make the film irresistible. It’s about falling in love, feeling afraid, disappointed, letting go and pursuing your dream.
Those who have read the novel know exactly how the story envelops, but it is still fun to see how the characters come alive on the screen. Hanung produces beautiful shots that do not make the love story cheesy.
The characters act naturally, seasoned with some jokes that work well, which makes the story enjoyable to watch. The astonishing end of part one of the film provoked echoes of disappointment and questions during the screening event.
The film originally had a five-hour duration but the post editing process cut it to 4.5 hours and the team agreed to split it into two films in an effort to keep the puzzle intact. Perahu Kertas will be screening at cinemas on Aug. 16. Hanung said the second part of the film would hit cinema screens in the next two or three months.
Verdict: Another love story that will stir your emotions.
(115 minutes, Starvision, Bentang Pictures and Dapur Film)
Starring: Maudy Ayunda, Adipati Dolken, Reza Rahadian, Kimberly Ryder, Elyzia Mulachela, Tyo Pakusadewo, Ira Wibowo
Director: Hanung Bramantyo
Writers: Dewi “Dee” Lestari
Producers: Chand Parwez Servia, Putut Widjanarko