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'Ratu Ilmu Hitam' offers relatable story for modern audiences

Ni Nyoman Wira
Ni Nyoman Wira

The Jakarta Post

Jakarta  /  Sat, November 2, 2019  /  03:21 pm
'Ratu Ilmu Hitam' offers relatable story for modern audiences

"Ratu Ilmu Hitam" is a remake of a 1981 horror film with the same name. (Rapi Films/File)

Ratu Ilmu Hitam (Queen of Black Magic) is one of the most anticipated horror films this year.

A remake of the 1981 horror film of the same name, Ratu Ilmu Hitam marks the first collaboration between director Kimo Stamboel with scriptwriter Joko Anwar.

The movie tells the story of a family consisting of Hanif (Ario Bayu) and Nadya (Hannah Al-Rashid) and their children, Sandi (Ari Irham), Dina (Zara JKT48) and Haqi (Muzakki Ramdhan), who travel to an orphanage where Hanif was raised. They are there to visit Bandi (Yayu Unru), the orphanage’s manager, who has fallen sick. However, little do they know that they will be tormented by the terrors of black magic.

Zara JKT48 (left) poses with director Kimo Stamboel (middle) and Imelda Therinne (right). Zara JKT48 (left) poses with director Kimo Stamboel (middle) and Imelda Therinne (right). (JP/Wienda Parwitasari)

Scheduled to hit cinemas on Thursday, the film also features Miller Khan, Tanta Ginting, Imelda Therinne, Ade Firman Hakim and Shenina Cinnamon.

The filming process took about a month in different locations in Cirebon in West Java and Jakarta.

During an interview with The Jakarta Post, Kimo remembered the time he was called by Sunil Samtani, producer of production house Rapi Films that holds rights of the 1981 film.

“He asked me whether I wanted to remake the film, but I barely remembered [the film] as it was from the 1980s,” Kimo said.

Read also: Official trailer for Kimo Stamboel-Joko Anwar duet ‘Ratu Ilmu Hitam’ released

Ari Irham plays as Sandi in 'Ratu Ilmu Hitam'.Ari Irham plays as Sandi in 'Ratu Ilmu Hitam'. (JP/Wienda Parwitasari)

He later rewatched the film and realized that he had watched it before and it was “quite traumatic”. A scene from the movie that involves severed head was quite impactful for him as well.

“I think it’d be fun if we make the same thing in the current era,” Kimo said.

Kimo and Sunil realized that they had to find the right scriptwriter and Joko Anwar was the first name that came to mind. Joko was very busy at that time, but he agreed to join the project once he found out what the movie was.

“Joko was like, ‘Oh, I want to do this, it’s my favorite film’.”

Ratu Ilmu Hitam will be narrated from the perspective of a family who is attacked by black magic, which is quite different from the 1981 film, which is mainly narrated from the shaman’s point of view and played by late legendary actor Suzzanna.

“This is a different story and different setup. The 1981 film may have fit the generation at that time, but we have to adjust the story to present-day audiences,” Kimo said, adding that he doesn’t plan to create a sequel.

Hannah Al-Rashid plays as Nadya in 'Ratu Ilmu Hitam'.Hannah Al-Rashid plays as Nadya in 'Ratu Ilmu Hitam'. (JP/Wienda Parwitasari)

A similar statement came from cast member Hannah Al-Rashid, who said Ratu Ilmu Hitam offered a different perspective and was a more relatable story to the public.

“Each character in this film has a certain meaning, purpose and background story. They bring their own plot because nothing goes to waste in this film,” Hannah said at the same occasion.

While researching for the movie, Kimo explored different kinds of black magic in Indonesia. He interviewed people who have experienced black magic as well.

“Believe what you will because [black magic] is rooted in our society. It’s something I’m very familiar with,” he said. “I mean, there are stories and witnesses [of black magic events] in our surroundings.” (mut)

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