Sunday, November 26, 2006

Film review : CINTA (2006)

Sebuah kisah tentang kasih,
melatari sisi setiap manusia dalam perjalanan hidup

You wouldn't mind parting with your hard-earned RM (or rupiahs or dollars or renminbis) to watch something like this.

With classy acting, beautiful so-called "commercial-like" cinematography, memorable moments (by now everybody who watches local TV would've known that line "Isteri bukannya hakmilik, tetapi anugerah...", meaningful bits for film buffs, MTV-esque soundtrack and last but not least a couple of scenes right out of modern-day Mills and Boon or Judith Mcnaught (for those who dig it), I think it will be hard for CINTA to totally disappoint anyone, regardless of which mind-set (or sets) one came with.

Yes, you CAN have more than one mind-set while watching a movie.

I have to admit I try not to hope too much as I step into the cinema, despite getting positive feedback from Aliya who caught the earlier screening. Due cause - Alternate Studio's previous offering, Salon, of which I could only manage the first 12 minutes or so (on VCD) before I almost passed out of boredom. However when the invitation came (thanks, SM), my interest was very much incited mainly by the fact that Dato' Rahim Razali, a stalwart figure in the local scene, is part of the main cast. Of course, it helped to add up on the plus points when it was mentioned that the dishy Pierre Andre is on the list as well (despite failing to keep me glued to the screen in Salon).

Aku pernah beranggapan dahulu bahawa Sepet merupakan karya tempatan yang bakal menjadi 'jambatan' merapatkan jurang antara penonton yang mencari hiburan semata-mata dan penonton yang turut mencari ‘tid-bits lain’ dalam tayangan filem, tapi ternyata umum belum bersedia untuk garapan Yasmin Ahmad tersebut (namun ia tetap telah mencetuskan sesuatu yang baru dalam lanskap filem negara). Aku hanya menyedari salah satu perkara yang kurang disenangi dalam karya tersebut (selain isu berkemban, duduk di tangga mencari kutu dan cinta berbeza kaum-agama yang hangat didebatkan) adalah pendekatan gaya realismenya – paparan babak dan dialog yang sangat-sangat ‘natural’ – selepas tersentak seketika apabila ada rakanku memberikan komen "Ntah apa-apa entah, tunjuk macam kehidupan biasa aje tiap-tiap hari, macam real life? Macam bukan movie, tak ada cerita!". Waktu menontonnya aku tak terfikir pun ia sebagai satu gaya atau apa-apa, cuma yang aku tahu aku sangat suka cara filem tersebut, seperti kemudiannya aku terpaku apabila aku diperkenalkan kepada Nobody Knows/Daremo Shiranai tetapi orang lain mungkin menganggap ia sangat bosan dan menjemukan.

Komen tersebut menyedarkan aku bahawa adanya kelompok penonton yang 'mewajibkan' dalam filem-filem supaya ada unsur-unsur yang 'over-the-top', penuh dengan pomp, hoopla - the works. Ini adalah juga antara faktor mengapa karya-karya yang penuh dengan perkara-perkara melodrama (contohnya dialog yang puitis dan berbunga-bunga kalah kedai florist di tingkat bawah Hospital Ampang Puteri walaupun sekadar untuk bertanya khabar, watak-watak 'larger-than-life' seperti anak orang kaya balik balik oversea seminggu terus diserahkan bulat-bulat jawatan CEO/pengarah urusan (di mana dalam kehidupan mungkin mereka tak pernah jumpa pun orang seperti itu), kisah-kisah cinta dengan adegan naik motor besar diiringi aksi tutup-tutup mata dan iringan lagu bersama saat-saat indah dan ditambah iringan hujan apabila konflik berlaku dan awek itu ditinggalkan balaknya) yang selalu mengundang rasa 'buwerk' dan terlebih ‘cheese’ kepadaku, tetapi membawa kepada kepuasan sebenarnya kepada orang lain.

CINTA, buah tangan Kabir Bhatia (yang membawakan kepada kita soap Idaman yang aku ikut penuh setia dulu) ada melodrama itu, tetapi tidak berlebihan dan diadun tanpa watak-watak dan babak yang boleh membuatkan kelompok penonton yang satu lagi merasa tertipu waktu menikmatinya (tidak seperti contoh Heart, filem Indonesia dengan paparan visual yang amat cantik tetapi mempunyai pengakhiran yang membohong dan menghina intelek). Ya, aku tahu filem-filem ini fiksyen, rekaan semata-mata, tetapi tolonglah berikan aku rekaan secara bijak dan logik sekiranya keadaan/realiti itu benar-benar wujud seperti watak-watak dalam Lord of the Rings atau para pelajar dan subjek pelajaran di Hogwarts (siri Harry Potter) atau sekurang-kurangnya doktor-doktor pelatih dalam Grey's Anatomy (mereka adalah rekaan dengan latarbelakang dan persekitaran rekaan, tetapi mereka tampak begitu 'real'), bukan watak-watak satu dimensi yang walau bagaimana aku pusingkan antena di kepalaku, aku tak boleh terima mereka sebagai 'real'.

CINTA laterally combines the five separate (but inter-connected) stories into a successful amalgam, with love as the main emotion/reason in the ups and downs of an important episode in the main characters' lives. Here the affairs of a laksa-selling makcik and a RM20-per-portrait street artist (no lah they're not together, each has a different story) are no less meaningful or worthy as the incidents of a bachelor-of-the-year CEO and his successful architect buddy - in the search for love, in accepting what their loved ones did, each becomes commonly as vulnerable, hurt or affected as the other.

Speaking of the cast, Fatimah Abu Bakar and Dato' Rahim Razali's manners, even a longing gaze alone practically fills in the nuances of being Rubiah and Cikgu Elyas. Nanu Baharuddin and Rashidi Ishak both gave very strong performances as Dyan the protective sister and Harris the jilted husband. I found Eizlan Yusof as well as (especially) Rita Rudaini much better than their usual fare. Pierre Andre as Taufiq the very budiman smalltime reporter and Fasha Sandha as Azura the bookstore girl however to me weren't very memorable, but not really due to any lack on their acting creds but more to the fact that their characters are somewhat similar to previous stints (Pierre, oh Pierre, will you PLEASE stop taking on more good-guy-who-becomes-the-shoulder-to-cry-on-for-the-pretty-girl-who-got-dumped characters, at least for a while?) Sharifah Amani is believeable enough as the gullible Arianna ("Awak ni seorang yang sangat negatif la") though at times too much drama, but erm, melodrama formula kicking in I suppose, while Que Haidar as Dhani swings a bit both ways ("Sampai bila kakak nak bercinta dengan suami orang!" - very solid, "Mana kakak?" - a bit lame). Very-very special mention however belongs to the much-underrated Shoffi Jikan as Dhani's street-busking friend (aku anggap dia sebagai reprise wataknya sebagai Zul Kapan dalam filem 'Rock') and the girl who played Harris-Airin's daughter. Again last but certainly not least, Ngasrizal Ngasri cemerlang sebagai cucu yang tersepit antara kasih dan keadaan. Satu lagi kekuatan nyata CINTA, pendukung watak sokongan turut membawa peranan masing-masing dengan amat baik (kecuali sangat jelas Gambit sebagai Khalif yang sungguh tidak berjiwa).

[Shoffi Jikan merenung masa depannya dalam bidang lakonan]

In the five stories, one would find it hard not to identify with at least one of the characters. We've all been there - maybe as the one who wasn't loved back, or the one who was lied to, or the one who had to leave, or the one who found true love, or the one who had to make sacrifices, or the one who simply looked on... the list is exhaustive. This is where it draws me in the most, when I found myself identifying with the characters and in turn makes us alliances against the world. Chewah, so drama!

The so-billed commercial-like shots worked, big time for me. Love 'em! Dhojee (executive producer together with Ara) amusedly remarked on the odd local perception that the camerawork of our commercials looks better than our films, whereas elsewhere it’s the other way around. Hmm... anyways, I calculated (using a most complex scientific equation involving no less than two unknowns [my wedding date, the real sexual orientation of da Vinci's Monalisa] and three pies [blueberry, apple, mud]) approximately 90% of the audience would think of 'Nescafe' too at the opening sequence. Tell me if you are one of the 10% who didn't ;)

Some might subscribe to the notion that ignorance is bliss (I used to as well), but I realized later that it does't hold itself up in all situations. In some instances (like watching movies like CINTA), 'knowing' is wayyy better. No doubt you wouldn't know what you're missing if you have no idea what it is, but once you do, you may be in for so much more. Like the 'tidbits' - the great timing of a scene where three trains went by at the same time, the use of colors, references to other films (omputeh and local fares oso), the subtext-ed parts without having shovels fuelling it down our throats and thank you, oh thank you the writer (Mira Mustaffa) for not applying the overused excuse of cancer and using another ailment instead as the illness of choice to afflict Dhani.

But the twin towers are still overshot here. Yes, it's a pretty engineering feat of a double-phalanx, but it's becoming a cliche lah. Then again, how can a story about love not become another cliche? Cannot, I tell you. Love is very universal one. Everywhere, I tell you. Anyway, to the guy who was overlooking the continuity? Erm, that part where Airin cries while reading the love notes. Shot 1, text on top, shot 2, text at bottom. Anal, I know, but I can't help noticing it.

But those are rather minor stuff. All in, CINTA didn't disappoint and is a production anyone who's involved in it would be proud to be associated with. It doesn't matter if you're looking for a movie that the whole family would enjoy, a soppy romantic to take your date to or a visually-pleasing work of art that would tease your attentiveness, you'll find it here. Ok lah, but not if you're looking for an action or a horror flick. Heh.

[The hard-working people behind CINTA. Tahniah!]

Highly recommended. CINTA starts showing in cinemas from 30th November.

For a bit of a spoiler, highlight below space between the Xs.

X The position of the couples in the poster tells you whether they'll be together or not in the end :) X

[All pictures from the official site, diedit sedikit dengan sesuka hati]


Read what others say too :

( mostly curi-ed from SM)

Original comments for this post here

No comments: