This is Cinta: A Commentary about Characters

This all started because I was feeling kinda bad. Last year was the second year I became a member of judges committee in Piala Maya, yet from the films that were nominated, I had watched only one on the cinema (at best). So I thought I made it my resolution this year to watch Indonesian films at least once a month, more if I can. And luckily my boyfriend agreed to accompany me to do this. So far we have seen three films. Yay, right? Well, yes and no.

I am a truly movie enthusiast who is also interested in learning (deeply) the craft of screen writing. I know part of the process of (self)learning is, learning (!) to dissect the movies I see. Sometimes I refuse to do that because, you know, it is a sure-fire way to ruin an experience of movie-going and movie-watching. But I think I'm finding the right balance where I can get really lost in the movie (if it's THAT good) and then either watch it again while seeing with different eyes, or, if the movie isn't really complicated, I would watch it once and later compare it with known screen-writing formula and then reflect which works and which doesn't (for me).

We decided to watch This is Cinta. Obviously, I am not the target market of the said film (obviously/ I am so far from the target market, I have to say it twice), yet a good story is a good story and it should be able to speak with people no matter how young/ old. I am sure I'm not the only one who still enjoy watching Disney animated films, although I would say I watch it only with my kid (not really). But after 10 minutes we went out of the cinema watching This is Cinta (and wasn't enjoying it), we already forgot the characters' name.

Then I started to think about it; what was it that we didn't like in the movie? I noticed that the beats connected with 'but' and 'therefore' so it's quite in a good structure.(SPOILER AHEAD) Farel and Rachel were best-friends since they were little, but for some reason Rachel's mother didn't like their friendship and decided to move Rachel very far away (try New Zealand). Fast forward to their teenage years, they still hadn't gotten over each other, in fact they were literally making their life goals to find each other; Farel by enrolling to a TV talent show with the hope of Rachel seeing him on the tube. And Rachel was insisting her family to move back to Jakarta. Therefore, they found each other, but Rachel's mother, still disapproving of their relationship, was pushing her to see other guy but Rachel rebelled therefore making the guy angry and kidnap her, so that she could love him. But Farel interfered and saved Rachel, yet their return was abruptly screeched halt by a fatal accident. Farel died, but then brought back to life and Rachel was on a coma. But Farel couldn't face that they should be apart again, so he did all his might to finally "persuade" her not to walk towards the light, but towards his love.

In my honest and humble opinion, when I write the outline, I see that the story could work well. It won't be easy to make (like all good things) but it's definitely doable. But then I look at the characters. Turned out, that what went terribly wrong. What do we get from Farel and Rachel beside the established fact that they love each other? Almost nothing. I know Farel could play the piano well, thus able him to enter the talent show. Other than wanting to see Rachel again, what is Farel's dream? His aspiration? His hobby? His annoying habits? Same goes with Rachel. We know that Rachel is a sweet girl who could turn into this extra rude, bitchy, spoiled brat when she was with Nico (the guy that her mother pushed her to date). Most of the time I felt sorry for Nico and hated her for that. And what about NICO? Despite the vague leer that (maybe) try to tell the audience that he might not like Rachel's attitude towards her, there's no clue about him. All the characters in the movie were there to serve only one purpose: either to HELP the main characters to be together, or to PREVENT them doing so. They are so one-dimensional I could picture them becoming mannequins when they're not on the scene, because they serve no other purpose. And for that, they don't deserve personality, traits, dream, fear, love, like we humans do.  Rachel's father (Ari Wibowo) had no personality whatsoever, he repeated the words of Nico's father in the same scene WORD BY WORD. I face-palmed so hard.

Poor Rachel's Dad, he doesn't even have a name...
With one-dimensional characters, come one dimensional intentions and motivations. I couldn't understand why Rachel's mother hated Farel, and I couldn't see why Rachel and Farel valued their friendship so much. I also didn't see how why should Nico kidnap Rachel. Because of the half-baked characters, even the connection between the two main characters feels so superficial. Their "relationship goal" too, feels shallow. And those two are supposed to be the foundation of the film! Also, I cannot fathom a female millenial whose dream is to go to "a palace" (as a princess or otherwise), unless the palace is a metaphor of being a CEO of their own or multinational company and being productive until old age with their husband supporting their aspirations for the rest of their lives? I'm not sure to find it sexist or simply naive. Even Disney princesses aren't doing it any more.

Maybe it's not easy to make a character tree for each of your character, also to write a full story of them that happened in the movie (despite it would be shown on the screen or not), but if it would make a movie so much better, maybe it is worth doing.


On Feeding Humanity

Earlier when I was putting on my eyebrows, I remembered an article I read on the internet. It's about how, to grow almonds in California require a vast amount of water. So with the droughts that have been happening, the farmer drilled a deeper and deeper well so it messed with the stability of the land, thus making almonds aren't exactly environmentally sound, though I know quite a lot of people seem to think so. Especially almond milk, that people think (with other reason rather than health) is much better than cow's milk. To make a glass of almond milk, we have to use quite a lot of almonds.

This makes me think that, maybe, just maybe, there is no environmentally sound way to feed human. Let alone 7 billion humans. So maybe, just maybe, the logical way to preserve our earth is; for human to stop procreating.


Day 10 - The Good and The Ugly

I can't believe I made it to day 10! Like I told my friends, I thought at day 3 or so, I'd be sitting in the corner munching bread, mumbling, "my precious" like Gollum. But no, I'm still here doing the Whole 30. I don't know if I unknowingly 'slip' once or twice (when I have to eat out, I can't know for sure what kind of oil they're using) but I am doing this the best I could.

Overall, I feel better. I don't feel bloated after meals anymore, I haven't experienced migraines since day 1 and I can see that I'm shedding fat from my belly, because now I can see the shadow of (not Collosus) my stomach muscles. My clothes (especially pants) are noticeably looser too! Though I'm still waiting for the surge of energy people talking about. I still feel a bit lethargic and sleepy, especially in the afternoon. I'm not really sure if it's due to my early morning call for sahur, or just my lack of energy.

From this day on, I think I'm going to cut a bit on the coconut milk. Also I ate some sweet potato yesterday and it didn't feel quite right in my digestive system, so I probably will cut that out too and see what happens. Today I ate a bit of grilled chicken sold by a food vendor who always come by my office. I could see that the chicken is so big, it cannot be 'ayam kampung' or 'ayam pejantan' that I usually have in my house. I didn't finish the whole breast, just the meat on top because it's so big. And now I feel rather bloated and queasy. I wonder if anybody has ever experienced this with what we call broiler chicken?



Day 1 & 2
Due to the fasting month, I had my meal 1 very early in the morning (3:30 AM). My first first meal was chicken soup with coconut milk (opor) and sauteed baby bokchoy. Weren't quite sure if it's good for this program, but it was according to the book, so, ok. Meal 2 was seabass cooked in tomato sauce with olives, tomato and zucchini. I experienced lightheadedness afterwards. I know the book said it's better to have no snacks in between meal at all, but I still feel some kind of hollowness (drama, drama) in my stomach, so I ate a banana. I ate another banana and a guava at dusk. Meal 3 was my mum's rendang and broccoli and carrot soup.

Meal 4 was left over of meal 3, with spinach salad. I didn't experience lightheadedness today, or at least not as severe as yesterday. But I was planning to do some workout in the morning but feeling lack of energy. Meal 5 was grilled chicken and nicoise salad with lemon dressing. Didn't eat the tuna, because I wasn't sure if it's allowed. Ate 2 bananas at 5-ish PM. Currently 6PM and feel somehow full. Although I sense some kind of void inside me that used to be filled with biscuits. Nevermind my drama.

PS. Do I have to mention black coffee I imbibed through out the day? About 3-4 cups.

On a Different Note

It's been a while since my last post. And I would like to do series of post on a different note than my previous ones. You see, early this year I realized I'm turning 40 (don't tell anyone) and I wasn't exactly the model of healthy lifestyle. I rarely workout, among my favorite food; fried rice, white bread and biscuits, I still smoke and I hardly have energy by the end of the day. I wasn't exactly overweight, but I dislike the way I look in clothes. In the past I lost and regain about 5 kilograms again and again, by (I'm so ashamed about this, but I'll admit anyway) consuming diet pills.

I am a mother of a 7 year old healthy girl, and I would love to be able to see her grow up and play with her. So I thought I'd do some changes. Last year, I joined Master Boot Camp group with Carlo Tamba. I worked out with them for few months or so, then due to work and other things, I missed a couple of sessions then from there it was getting easier and easier to forgo them altogether. But I thoroughly enjoyed the workout. So one of the first changes I did was committing to rise early every Saturday and join Master Boot Camp again. Little that I know that it was a single most important decision I made this year. This time, I got to know the members better, and they are the most fun fit bunch I've ever encountered. They're competitive, but not in a 'if you can do it I can do it much better' way, but in a way that motivate you to do at least as good with them. They wouldn't be reluctant to give you praises for your achievements, no matter how small. They're the kind of people to surround yourself with if you want to make positive 'adjustments' in your life.

Anyway, after working out again, I thought I'd do something with the way I eat. I heard about food combining, and I know a good friend of mine who is the embodiment of success through food combining. She used to have GERD, chronic ulcer and was overweight, but now she's cured and haven't taken the medicines for aforementioned illness for a year. So I thought I'd give it a try. But I didn't do it wholeheartedly, I just wanted to watch what I eat more. But during first weeks of food combining I noticed good changes; my frequent migraines are almost completely gone. But it's either I'm too lazy to look for background scientific evidence for this method, or anything about food combining is kind of 'dumbed down'. Then I heard from Carlo and Mario (also a member of Master Boot Camp) about Paleo eating. I was intrigued and asked them for reference on this and Carlo recommended me few books, one of them was "It Starts with Food" by Dallas and Melissa Hartwig. I finished the book in few days and instantly convinced to do the "Whole 30" program.

My goal in doing this is that I simply want to get healthier and have less body fat. I also want to be fitter and have better performance in sports I am currently doing (just did my first 5K competition 2 weeks a go). There are quite plenty of do's and don'ts for this Whole 30 program. But just to sum it up, I am going through 30 days with 3 meals a day. I won't eat grains, legumes and sugar, only cook with certain kind of oil. And yes, no dairy either. I want to keep a journal of this, hoping that my odds in succeeding will improve (with the presence of witness(es)). Wish me luck.


Don't Take This Personally

"Why is this happening to ME??"

I bet you heard it often. Or said it often (?). But do you ever wonder amongst 7 billion people on earth; why would you be the object of this particular happening? Are you the chosen one?

I didn't think so either.

I read somewhere that the events that happen in the universe are actually neither positive, nor negative. They're actually neutral. And it's not 'meant' for anyone at all. So why do they sometimes have positive or negative impact on us? Only because we, people, perceive them so. And why do we feel like they happening TO us? Because for some reasons we can yet fathom, we just happen to occupy the same time and space as the events or occurences. Again, it's just a matter of perception.

This also applies to relationships with other beings (I won't just say human, let's not close any possibilities). When you think or say; "this person must hate me so much because this person keeps doing things I dislike around me". Let's just put on brakes on those kind of thoughts and think instead; "this person is just being him or herself. He or she just acts out of habit, belief and principal and I just happen to be around him or her when this person does. It's not directed to me".

What if there are people who obviously don't like you? And maybe they even say it although not directly to you? It's not you again, it's still them. Don't get me wrong, we do still to reflect if we unknowingly hurt them, but if it's verified that we haven't, just accept it and let go. If we know we live right, we don't hurt people intentionally or otherwise, physically or otherwise, it's most probably who we are or what we do doesn't match their beliefs. Maybe even provoke their fear. Let it be. Don't be so vain, it's never about you. Even death is not personal. It's just the cycle of life.

So next time something unfortunate happens to you, just take it as it is. Don't judge. You lost something or someone? You know from the start that nothing or noone lasts forever, so why getting too attached in the first place? Of course you love them, but maybe someone else need them, or people have to move on and be at different places as we are. Let them be.

Wouldn't it be so much easier to live our lives if we could remind ourselves to be in this state of mind all the time?

But I could be wrong. Maybe everything is - in fact - personal.


Feeling Insecure?

We live in an insecure country, with an insecure god, with his/her insecure followers.

The insecure god needs constant affirmation that he's the only, the best and the most powerful god there is, otherwise the insecure followers would run amok and ransack everything that gets in their way.

By their insecurities they learn to suspect things that they don't know, that are foreign to them, without even bother to get the knowledge of the things they deny. They fear most of things, reject most of things, so they only know a little. And they thought, that little amount of knowledge is the absolute truth, because they don't know better. Or they don't want to know better.

That's really OK, if they agree to disagree to others who don't have the same belief. But no, that's not the case. They even completely lost their sense of humor, because laughing as yourself is sacrilege and laughing at their god (or messiah) is punishable by death.

If only we live in a secure country. Who is led by confident leaders. Who truly believe that the people are smart enough to think for themselves. Who give goals, aims, guidances but never strict 'rules' to follow.

If only insecure people aren't afraid of hell and/ or sought after heaven or the virgins they would get from martyrdom.

If only...