Sitting in the directors’ seats for the first time, four prominent Indonesian actors have filmed their takes on women.
Wanita Tetap Wanita (Women Will Always Be Women) is an omnibus of five films directed by Irwansyah, best known for his appearance in the movies Heart and Love, Teuku Wisnu of the sinetron (locally made soap opera) Cinta Fitri (Fitri’s Love), Didi Riyadi of Khanza, another sinetron, and Reza Rahadian from the movies Habibie & Ainun and Tiga Hati Dua Dunia Satu Cinta (Three Hearts Two Worlds One Love).
Irwansyah, who also produces the film, directed Reach The Star and In Between for the omnibus.
Reach The Star, written by Wina Aswir, begins with Kinan (Shireen Sungkar) who does her best to make her mother’s dream come true. Kinan works as an airline stewardess.
Kinan’s mother (Dewi Irawan), who is very sick and still mourning the death of her husband, feels sad that she could not make the haj pilgrimage to Mecca with her late husband. As a daughter, Kinan will do anything good to fulfill her mother’s dream.
To make more money for the Mecca trip, Kinan decides to quit her current job and try her luck with an international airline.
While Kinan does well to achieve her goal, she has to face slander involving a famous actor, Iko (Irwansyah), who causes trouble for her.
Meanwhile, In Between, written by Yunialarasati, tells the story of model Vanya (Fahrani Empel) who works hard to provide a decent life for her brother Teddy and her autistic sister Lola.
Teuku Wisnu directs First Crush, which also features himself in a leading role. The film is written by Hotnida Harahap and recounts Nurma’s (Revaline S. Temat)
When Nurma was still young, she had a smart and handsome tutor named Andy (Teuku Wisnu) and she experienced her first crush on him. Some years later, she unexpectedly meets him again but this time, Nurma is applying for a job at Andy’s legal office.
Reza Rahadian, the only director who doesn’t play a role in the film, directs With or Without with screenplay writer Lily Nailufar Mahbob. His piece is a tragedy that involves two loves.
Adith (Renata Kusmanto) has been distant with men for years due to a traumatic past but as a writer she is compelled to produce a romance novel. While she’s busy focusing and forgetting her heartache, Adith meets a philosophical taxi driver, Rangga (Marcell Dormits), who makes her want to give love a second chance.
Didi Riyadi, who is also drummer with the pop group Element, directs Cupcakes, written by Ilma Fathnurfirda. His is the last of the five short films, gluing all the stories in the omnibus.
Cupcakes begins with Shana (Zaskia Sungkar) refusing to be depressed after she is jilted by her fiancé on their wedding day. Instead, she decides to move on by opening up a cupcake outlet at the home of her best friend’s brother. At a moment when she thinks that she has moved on, her emotions are once again challenged by a shocking discovery.
Although most of the storylines are light and candy pop, thus easy to predict, Wanita Tetap Wanita, the first feature film by R1 Pictures – owned by Irwansyah and actor-presenter Raffi Ahmad – is a step forward for the country’s film industry.
Zaskia, wife of Irwansyah and older sister of Shireen, says she hopes the women’s portrayal in the omnibus, which premiered on Sept. 12, will inspire Indonesian women to defend their dignity.
“No matter what status a woman carries – be it a cupcake maker, lawyer or whatever, when she’s able to defend her dignity the gracefulness of her will still remain intact,” said Zaskia, casting director and executive producer of the omnibus.
Wanita Tetap Wanita
(104 minutes, R1 Pictures)
Producers: Irwansyah, Raffi Ahmad
Directors: Irwansyah, Didi Riyadi, Reza Rahadian, Teuku Wisnu
Cast: Zaskia Sungkar, Shireen Sungkar, Revalina S. Temat, Renata Kusmanto, Fahrani Empel, Irwansyah, Teuku Wisnu, Didi Riyadi, Marcell Domits, Ganindra Bimo
Screenplays: Wina Aswir, Yunialarasati, Hotnida Harahap, Lily Nailufar Mahbob, Ilma Fathnurfirda
— Photos courtesy of R1 Pictures