Review of Film 'Opera Java'

Topics: Indonesia, Opera Jawa, Garin Nugroho Pages: 10 (3578 words) Published: November 16, 2012

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NIM: S7012080012


During my stay in Indonesia I was introduced to more traditional forms of arts here: theatre through ketoprak is closest to definition of ‘western’ theatre, wayang orang – staged Ramayana based theatre and wayang kulit which can be roughly defined as leather theatre play which is based mainly from stories from Mahabharata epic; dance through variety of court and profane dances, music via traditional gamelan and popular music genres such as pop, rock, punk. Paintings and sculptures are new form and for me the most challenging one to meet and to witness their evolution. Because my knowledge of Indonesian language is still low, thus I wasn’t into Indonesian literature and in my country only one author is translated. One form of art is missing and I find it important in my life? It is a film. While staying here I was always curious to see and in that form to learn Indonesian language. I find more American (and English-speaking movies) with Indonesian subtitles then other way around. And while people were convincing me to go and to see the best Indonesian movie ever – ‘The Raid: Redemption” I was trying to convince them to watch and to explain to me best Indonesian movie for me ‘The requiem for Java’. I failed. So, I watch a movie alone and decided to investigate more about it for this paper where I will also put my opinion about this movie. I divide a paper into several parts. First part about director, second part is about technical aspects of movie, third reception of a movie from reviews in English I could find on Internet, fourth is about elements in movie – traditional Javanese dances and classical story of Ramayana shaped in this story and last fifth part is my review and conclusion about this film. Introduction

In 2005 director’s mother died. Director decided to make a movie about Java and its complex culture - mythology, history and presence. He was commissioned by Austrian government and Peter Sellars to make his story due to 250th anniversary of Mozart. While Indonesian name for this movie is ‘Opera Jawa’ international title is ‘Requiem from Java’ – movie is still more popular with its original name. Lot of people mix it with ‘Opera Van Jawa’ which is TV comedy series. In this paper film is mentioned by its original name.

I. Garin Nugroho – Director of ‘Opera Jawa’

Nugroho was born in Yogyakarta, Special Region of Yogyakarta on 6 June 1961. He was the fourth child of postal workers Soetjipto Amin and Mariah, who eventually had seven children. As a child, he attended an Islamic elementary school, later attending Catholic secondary schools. His father owned a lending library and enjoyed writing, leading Nugroho to start writing from a young age; he later quit writing because he felt his father to be too critical. After graduating from Kolese Loyola high school in 1981, Nugroho went to Jakarta to study filmmaking at the Jakarta Institute of Arts (Institut Kesenian Jakarta, or IKJ), as well as law and politics at the University of Indonesia (UI). After studying under Teguh Karya, he graduated from the IKJ in 1985. He later graduated from UI in 1991. During his free time, Nugroho directed documentaries and short movies. Nugroho made his directorial debut with 1991's Cinta dalam Sepotong Roti (Love in a Slice of Bread), overcoming bureaucracy caused by his refusal to join the Indonesian filmmakers' union. Cinta dalam Sepontong Roti was selected as Best Film in that year's Indonesian Film Festival. This movie garnered a lot of domestic attention, but he was also selected as The Best Young Director in Seoul next year. His next movie ‘Surat untuk Bidadari’ won Best Film in Tokyo International Film Festival and Nugroho was best director in Pyongyang International Film Festival and in...
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