An emotionally invested enthusiast of pop culture in the guise of a Copywriter. Apathetic by design. Aesthetically offensive and eloquently candid. A sentimental heathen.

I would have to admit that I fell for this movie at the first sight. Right from the moment I watched it’s trailer, it had captured my attention and my heart, with the way it reveals just enough to tease and attract curiousity without giving away too much of the plot and spoil the story. And my judgement was right, for after I watched the movie, I only fell deeper.

 

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Gia (Adinia Wirasti) has just come back after years of living in New York, only to found out that Jakarta is no longer the home that she knew. In an effort to connect the missing dots of her old life, she contacted Naomi (Marissa Anita), her former New York soulmate.

Indri (Ina Panggabean) is a towel girl in a local gym who dreamed of meeting her prince charming and get swept off of her feet. Her attempt brought her into the online chatroom, a place where identities are just a matter of play.

Ci Surya (Dayu Wijanto) is a newly widowed housewife. Her life feels empty with the death of her husband, Koh Surya. And it doesn’t help that Koh Surya apparently had been cheating on her with a club singer called Sofia (Dira Sugandi).

Tonight, in their own way, the three of them search for a place where they belong in the harsh city that is Jakarta.

 

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As someone who currently resides and study in Jakarta – well, Depok, techinically, but the point still stands – this movie resonates to me a lot. With such eloquence, this movie captures just how ostracizing the city could be, the loneliness in the crowd feeling that Jakarta every so often induce, and the desperate search for somewhere, for a place to call home in the city that offer little to no comfort. Each of the story was presented beautifully, with striking words that doesn’t sound out of place, and in such honesty that prompts you to take a deeper look and see that it could have easily become your story.

Indri is just one of the many girl that wish to be a Cinderella, and isn’t that almost every girl’s secret wish? We all dreamed to be swept off of our feet by a prince charming, to be carried by a horse into a tall castle. But life is not a fairytale, and more than often you’ll found that your prince charming may not wear a gold chainmail or carry a bejeweled sword. Indri’s story tell us of how reality likes to violate our expectation, and sad as it maybe, it also nudges us to admit that it really is not that hard to make the most of what we have now.

Ci Surya’s story may seems to be about betrayal and revenge, but it’s also aout discovery. It’s a story of someone who had lost her identity, her real self forgotten amidst the new one she adorn to adapt to the society. It’s just so happen that karma kick in and her trying to find out what makes her husband cheat on her helped her to become her old self again.

 

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Last but not least, there’s Gia. Now this is a story that I personally really like. Gia is an outsider, because she can’t parse the newest trends in Indonesia: selfie, tongsis, BBM, Path, and the likes. I can’t blame her, for I don’t get most of it either. Gia’s clueless look and “what the fuck” expressions is a slap in the face about how fake we could be. While Naomi represent us who, despite hating it and disliking it, still grudgingly join the wagon just so we can fit in. Yet, Gia also embody the problem I often had whenever I came back to Yogya, the city where I came from. It’s the simple things, the little difference like how to carry myself in conversation that often signify just how the different Jakarta can be from other cities. And just like Gia, I can’t seem to force myself to change and instead half-forced other people to be the “better person” that I perceived myself to be. Another reason as to why I really like this story is because how it handled a sensitive matter very well. LGBT is an issue that still have low awareness in Indonesia, and more than often it is met with scorn. I will not change this post into a rant about that particular problem, but I’d say this movie portray the story of Gia and Naomi with such elegance, that you just can’t help but to cheer for them and hope that there is a place for them here.

Selamat Pagi, Malam, for me, is an honest movie about Jakarta and the lives underneath it’s skyscrapers. It manages to capture the disparity between the lives of the elite and those who are not so lucky, the stark contrast of street vendors and tall buildings. Yet at times, it reminds us just how beautiful Jakarta still could be at night, especially when we’re willing to pay attention to the little things that we often miss. Jakarta at night may seems brutal and dangerous at times, but it still offer little comfort from the usually unforgiving heat and fatigue that it’s afternoon gave us. The cinematography and the soundtracks for this movie was just gorgeous, and I still can’t get over the chilling ending with that particular heartbreaking song.

 

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Director: Lucky Kuswandi. Writer: Lucky Kuswandi. Released on: June 19th 2014. Casts: Adinia Wirasti, Ina Panggabean, Dayu Wijanto, Marissa Anita, Dira Sugandi, Trisa Triandesa

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