Festival Film Dokumenter 2012: Day One.
It was my first experience attending a documentary-film festival. Actually, it was the second because last week I went to another documentary-film festival in Jakarta (I’ll write about it later), but that was not by my own intention. I had a spare time and my friend asked me to go with her. So I’m not gonna count that one though that one also gave me a lot of meaningful experience.
Anyway, the one I was attending right now is Festival Film Dokumenter Jogja 2012 (let’s call it FFD from now). Held by Komunitas Dokumenter Indonesia (Indonesian Documentary Community, literally) at Taman Budaya Yogyakarta (TBY, for short) for six days from 10 to 15 December 2012. There was an opening ceremonial being held at the first day of FFD while the movies screening held from 11 to 15 December 2012 (followed by closing ceremonial and awarding of movies from competition program in the evening of the last day). Frankly, I’m not interested in any ceremonial, so let’s say that the first day of the movie screening (which is the second day of FFD) is the first day of FFD 😛
First of all, documentary is not my thing. Yeah, I love movies; and yeah, I do love festivals; and surely I love the combination of both of them. But, on the contrary, adding ‘documentary’ in front of ‘film festival’ makes me so nervous. I’m a moviegoer, not a filmmaker. It’s hard for me to enjoy a documentary film that count heavily solely on the technique of how you direct a movie nicely so you can express the issue you want to show.
The very first movie I watched at FFD is Rhythm Is It!. A 100 minutes documentary film directed by Thomas Grube and Enrique Sánchez Lansch. Surely a good movie that tried to tell us (me?) about the idea of popularize classical music by staging a performance of Igor Stravinsky’s ballet The Rite of Spring with a cast of 250 children recruited from Berlin’s public schools.
This documentary film taught me a lot that a documentary is not just about showing an issue with your lens but also show the audience how people filmed there expressing their ideas about that very issue. How Royston Maldoom, the choreographer, thought that a ballet lesson is not merely a ballet lesson; that the discipline included in ballet lesson has a power to teach children the meaning of responsibility and consequences that may come with every choice they take. Rhythm Is It! shows us how to handle children, that we can’t be serious with them but we must not treat them softly at the same time in order to gain what we—and they—aim for.
At first, the children did not take the lesson seriously. They were chatting around and joking with their friends when they had to took the lesson seriously while the older ones seemed reluctant to give all that they’ve got, struggling over their own problems as teenager. When they finally stopped joking around, another problem of lacking confident showed up. They were afraid that they couldn’t dance the Rite of Spring perfectly. But Royston was right. In the end, they showed us an incredible dance that made me trembling in awe.
Overall, Rhythm Is It! is a good documentary film. The portion of the Talking Heads and the footage seemed okay to me. One thing that made me disappointed is the language barrier. The screening of Rhythm Is It! was held at TBY’s Amphiteater (which is outdoor). Without any subtitle for the English, it was hard for me to enjoy the movie (when you’ve read this far, you may also realize that I’m not the best in term of pouring my thought straight into English—even though I’m one of the best when it comes to grammar and translating English into my mother language in the class. But when I’ve to speak, or even write, straight in English…, it’s all messy :(). Listening native speaker with crappy sound system is just something that I can’t do easily.
The second (and also the last) movie for me that day was Blush of Fruit. A 93 minutes documentary directed by Jakeb Anvu. For me, this documentary film has a very strong issue of gender and humanity. The movie told us about an orphanage in Vietnam operated by a couple (maybe, as far as I can recall). But of course, it’s not just an orphanage. This orphanage only took toddlers but no older kids. To make it more unique as an orphanage, they were helping unmarried pregnant women by covering their needs from food, a shelter to sleep in, and any pregnancy cost. In return, those women had to help the couple taking care other babies. They may leave, but when they did, they were not allowed to take their baby with them—which is good for them as having a child without marrying is something unacceptable in Vietnam.
Such a strong issue for me, but let’s think about it…, How can a woman who don’t want to have a baby but already pregnant at the time, has an authority to taking care others’ baby? In result, as the documentary showed me, those women treated the orphans badly. They hate babies, even the one in their belly, but they had to taking care others; pretty messed up for me. A lot of spanking, smacking, hitting, and anything inappropriate showed in this documentary. I’m not gonna say every one of them is an unfit mother, but they did show me what an unfit mother could do with her child.
Unfortunately, for me—as I told you before that I’m not really into documentary, I think this movie is kinda boring. I mean, yeah, the issue they wanted to show is very very powerful. But for me, the storytelling was not powerful enough. I found this movie a bit confusing as the scene changed with a jumpy plot and reasoning. And yeah, I fell asleep a couple times watching this one 😦