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Jakarta Post

'€˜Negeri van Oranje'€™ feel-good fluff for the holidays

  • Tertiani ZB Simanjuntak

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Sat, December 19, 2015   /  04:01 pm
'€˜Negeri van Oranje'€™ feel-good fluff for the holidays

Smooth going: The main cast of Negeri van Oranje navigate the old city on two-wheeled electric vehicles.

A mixture of beautiful scenes, reliable actors and feel-good story, Negeri van Oranje (The Land of Orange) leaves a warm inner glow.

In its latest film, production house Falcon Pictures endeavors to introduce, if not to promote, the filming locations which are, this time, situated in the Netherlands and Prague.

If the opening and the climax scenes filmed in Prague were taken out, Negeri van Oranje could be seen as a promotional movie made by the Dutch tourist board and aimed at tourists and students alike.

Director Endri Pelita, whose earlier works include musical Dawai 2 Asmara (The String of Two Romances) and Cabe-cabean (Groupies), is not stingy in visually indulging filmgoers with panoramic views of beautiful city landscapes and bright colors that set the mood throughout.

An adaptation of the novel of the same title authored by Wahyuningrat, Adept Widiarsa, Nisa Riyadi and Rizki Randu Permana, the plot revolves around five Indonesian graduate students in the Netherlands who build a certain camaraderie during their two-year term of studies.

The story starts a day before the wedding of Lintang (Tatjana Saphira), who reminisces of the moment she met Geri (Chicco Jerikho), Banjar (Arifin Putra), Wicak (Abimana Aryasatya) and Daus (Ge Pamungkas) while stranded at a train station.

The accidental meeting leads to an arranged rendezvous at Geri'€™s place in Leiden to quench the quintet'€™s longing for Indonesian cooking and to meet Lintang'€™s Dutch boyfriend Jeroen (Arne Luiting).

Seeing Lintang'€™s disappointment with Jeroen, who leaves the party early for another appointment, the happy boys promise her that with them around, she will never be alone. With that, the Aagaban group is formed.

It is a long-distance friendship, though, as each of them lives in different cities. Lintang, majoring in European studies, lives in The Hague, while pampered rich boy Banjar studies in Rotterdam, where for the first time in his life he has to work for his pocket money, washing dishes at an Indonesian restaurant.

Daus is a civil servant with the Religious Affairs Ministry studying human rights law in Utrecht and Wicak, an environmentalist who once escaped a band of illegal loggers, is a student in Wageningen.

In Lintang'€™s visual diary, she visits each city where her friends live, going selfie-crazy at historical sites and tourist attractions.

The romantic plot twists involve Lintang considering which of her four friends is most suitable to become her husband.

There are some over-garnished clichés in the story, but scriptwriter Titien Wattimena contributes dialogue that is fast, funny and forceful.

The acting of the main male cast is heartfelt and genuinely brings out the characters, but ironically that is less the case with the main character, Lintang.

It is clear the filmmakers are trying to portray her as beautiful and kind-hearted, with a good sense of humor and killer dress sense, but she doesn'€™t appears to have any interests beside the parochial issues of her friendship group and what'€™s inside the Jimmy Choo store in Prague.

Ge, a standup comic who has appeared in a number of comedy films, does not come off worst against some of the nation'€™s acting elite.

The cinematography is sublime, lovingly enhancing the European spring, with tulips blossoming and the country celebrating the Dutch king'€™s birthday.

The music and songs are nicely blended with the theme of the film, which is to be released on Dec. 23.

It was not at all difficult to sit through the 90-minutes, and would be a perfect choice for those who have studied in the Netherlands or have the intention to, and for the rest who just want a feel-good, easy-to-digest film for the holidays.

'€” Photo courtesy of Falcon Pictures

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