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Short film ‘Tilik’ grabs netizens' attention with ‘ghibah’, ‘emak-emak’

Jessicha Valentina
Jessicha Valentina

The Jakarta Post

Jakarta  /  Sat, August 22, 2020  /  12:33 pm

Ghibah (gossiping) and emak-emak (housewives) have become the catchphrases found on social media in recent days, thanks to the viral short film Tilik (Ladies on Top) from director Wahyu Agung Prasetyo.  

Produced by Yogyakarta-based production house Racavana Films in collaboration with the Yogyakarta Cultural Agency, Tilik follows a group of women riding in the back of a pickup truck to visit their sick Bu Lurah (subdistrict head) in the hospital. 

Standing with their hands tightly grasping a couple of strings attached to the truck's sides, in a space clearly not intended for passengers, they start to chat about a young woman named Dian who seems to be on everyone's mind. 

With her carefully selected words, main character Bu Tejo (Siti Fauziah) fervently implies that Dian is up to no good, what with her good looks and how she manages to have branded items though she comes from a simple background.

Another chimes in that she once saw Dian walking in a mall with a middle-aged man.

Seeing her views are supported, Bu Tejo tries even harder to convince her friends by showing them photos of Dian she found on the internet, allegedly in an unfavorable pose. 

Yu Ning (Briliana Dessy), portrayed as the rational and wiser one, criticizes Bu Tejo and accuses her of spreading false information. Bu Tejo quickly replies that the internet is made by smart people and, therefore, can do no wrong.

The seemingly casual conversation gets heated as they're about to arrive at the hospital. 

The premise has caught the attention of Indonesian netizens. Within four days, the film has been viewed 5 million times since it premiered on YouTube on Monday. 

Viewer Tari Wardani appreciated the film for showing the tilik tradition. 

“It’s very real,” said Tari, who watched the film on Thursday.

From Boyolali, Central Java, Tari is quite familiar with the tradition of a group of people visiting someone who's sick in the hospital. She added that her uncle owned a truck to transport construction materials.

“On weekends, it’s rented to transport people to weddings or visit the sick,” she told The Jakarta Post.

Read also: Indonesian short films featured in New Zealand’s Show Me Shorts

Filmmaker Joko Anwar praised the film. 

“I just watched the short film Tilik. [It’s] fresh and delightful. The story setting is quite brilliant. [It’s] simple yet [spot on]. Believable with great acting,” he wrote on Twitter, urging his followers to watch the film.

Filmmaker Ernest Prakasa also raved about Tilik.

"This short movie from Yogyakarta is very cool. One thing I noticed aside from its fresh comedy, great picture and acting is the excellent sound mixing."

Twitter user @bnuratmaja wrote, “Tilik is hilarious. It’s so well-acted that I feel like I’ve known these women in real life.”

During a virtual interview with Tribun Jogja on Friday, producer Elena Rosmeisara said the film was made in 2018 during the presidential election. At the time, hoaxes and disinformation were heavily discussed and the production team discovered that many people were still unfamiliar with fact-checking.

After showing the film in various festivals, they decided to upload it on YouTube to reach a wider audience.

When asked about the film’s message, Elena hoped the film could be a reference, a topic of discussion, as well as a reminder for people to check for facts when receiving information.  

She added that Tilik aimed to share that women are able to make decisions on their own.

Amid the praises, Tilik also drew controversy for its objectionable portrayal of women. 

Film critic Hikmat Darmawan wrote on Twitter that the film glorifies certain stereotypes in women and the ending seems to contradict its own theme.

Journalist Rory Asyari also deplored the film's ending and its negative stigma against women. (wng)

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