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Filmmaker Joko Anwar gets personal in ‘Orang Kaya Baru’

Josa Lukman

The Jakarta Post

Jakarta  /  Tue, January 22, 2019  /  05:05 pm
Filmmaker Joko Anwar gets personal in ‘Orang Kaya Baru’

The movie Orang Kaya Baru (Nouveau Rich) centers on siblings along with their mother who suddenly get rich after the passing of their father. (Courtesy of Screenplay Films /Legacy Pictures)

In the era of Kardashians and high-visibility luxury, blatant displays of wealth through designer labels and conspicuous consumption tend to be stereotyped to be the domain of orang kaya baru (Nouveau Rich), as their mannerisms often differentiates them from “old money” folks, who tend to be much more discreet in style.

Typically, those considered to be “new money” acquired their wealth in their generation rather than through inheritance like those coming from “old money”.

While there is no surefire sign of an orang kaya baru, usually referred to by the acronym OKB, you could typically spot one wearing designer clothes and accessories worth more than what most people make in a year – all at the same time – while stepping into the latest model luxury vehicle before jetting off to an exotic destination. All while documenting this on Instagram, of course.

The showcase of such tendency is spurred thanks to the aforementioned Kardashian-Jenner clan’s reality show, Keeping Up with the Kardashians, along with others like the now canceled Rich Kids of Beverly Hills.

This phenomenon is not unique to the United States, as any cursory visit to Jakarta’s myriad malls can attest.

Perhaps sensing the growing trend of OKB in Indonesia, a new movie, also titled Orang Kaya Baru, pokes fun at what ordinary people do when they find themselves rich beyond their wildest dreams.

The movie, which will be in theaters on Jan. 24, centers on siblings Tika (Raline Shah), Duta (Derby Romero) and Dody (Fatih Unru) along with their mother (Cut Mini), who suddenly come into wealth following the passing of their father (Lukman Sardi), who leaves them a considerable amount of money, which he kept secret until his death.

While the many shots of conspicuous consumption – such as buying an entire furniture store to get back at a snooty sales assistant or purchasing three Mini Coopers despite none of them knowing how to drive – definitely takes aim at the general attitude of OKB.

Scriptwriter Joko Anwar said he had a personal connection to the movie, directed by Ody C. Harahap

The idea for the movie came from Joko’s childhood imagination, when he thought that his father may have been secretly rich.

“When I sat down to discuss the scenario with Ocay (Ody’s nickname), I was like, ‘I have this scenario of my own childhood’. I was quite poor growing up, and I had this what-if scenario of my dad pretending to be poor,” Joko said, adding that Ody also revealed that he had one such fantasy himself as a child.

“I grew up in a neighborhood in Medan (North Sumatra). It was considered the ‘Bronx’ part of Medan. The 14, 15-year-old in my village were either pregnant, impregnated someone or in jail. The crime rate was quite high, and they were proud of that fact.”

One time, Joko recalled he wanted a book titled Buku Pintar Iwan Gayo, for which he saved up for two months to buy. Sadly, after finally buying the book, it slipped out of his hands while walking and fell to a sewer.

“I was devastated. I put the book under my bed and hoped it was all a dream. It was then that I started imagining if my dad was actually rich,” he says.

In fact, Joko based the movie’s main characters on his own family, with youngest sibling Dody standing in for himself and the characters of Tika and Duta being based on his older siblings.

One of the scenes shows Dody taking a bath in a tub where people traditionally keep water.

“I wanted a bathtub, so it was the next best thing. My parents and siblings basically took a bath everyday with water I had previously soaked in,” Joko recalled with a laugh.

Perhaps it is this personal touch that makes the film resonate deep within viewers, tapping into the desire for a better life but also touching on themes of familial bonds. (ste)

 

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