Thursday, March 29, 2007

a tale to tell

So life is about curiosity, because life is uncertainty. Many a time I hear that life is a play and the world the stage, and we the actors - and that it is unrehearsed. So much to do, so much to learn, so much in which to share. I enjoyed my youth, or rather, I enjoyed my teen and adolescent years, but I was enjoying it too much that I realised life was easy. I guess when you've lived life longer, you tend to look at it more seriously, and only then you begin to learn more, and that is when you find that there's more that you do not know. There is so much of a tale life is to tell.

I was reminded by a voice within to share something of extraordinary nature with those who may want to hear or rather read about what I have to tell. As a matter of fact, it is so ordinary to tell stories, to tell tales. What makes it extraordinary is the story, the tale that is being told, and how it is being told.

So here I find myself about to tell something that has been told to me, through visuals and audio I had the advantage of watching and listening on this thing called silver screen. Despite the mostly not-so-positive reviews about the latest local flick, Puaka Tebing Biru, I found myself glued to my seat throughout the slightly over 120 minutes show, watching the actions, feeling the emotions.

Walking out of that hall, I felt of sharing my feeling with others. I am neither a film reviewer nor a critic, yet I enjoy being in another world of its own each time my emotions attach to certain films I watch. What is strange is that I do not make such emotions flow, it just flows. And whenever such happened, I knew that I was actually exposed to a finely made film with a finely told story, and to me, a finely made film with a finely told story is easily a good film. It is another matter altogether if it is an excellent film or the best film. Maybe my expectation is not high? I do have certain expectations though, but at the same time, I try to form my own justice towards the film and the scope and limitations the maker may have had.

So the tale is about a woman haunted by her past. Her best friend was her past. Her best friend's sin was her past sin, only hers was a different kind of sin. Her best friend's suffering was her suffering, again, in her own way. This mix of the story of the woman, her best friend and her best friend’s lover became one through the existence of a ghost. It is a tale about one's mistakes in life and if redemption of the mistakes and sins is possible.

This tale of mistakes and sins are in fact, acts of love. Ratna loves herself that she does not want to suffer and end up like her mother. Ayu loves Mohsin that she gives her all. Even the supporting character like Ratna's room mate, chooses to go through Ratna's suffering because of love.

How strong is the message of love in this film, aptly dubbed as a horror film. Perhaps that is where the mistake lies. The expectation that viewers at large have when they walk into the cinema to watch the film. The title itself promises a horror story. And when expectation is not met, frustration surfaces. To me, it is not the fault of the filmmaker, in this case, the director. It is about expectation and perception. From what I see, Puaka Tebing Biru is a drama of love and sacrifices, told within a context of horror, and this actually makes it one special film, distinguishing itself from a normal horror movie and the usual drama. Perhaps the word "Puaka" could have been omitted from its title, to be merely called "Tebing Biru", literally means Blue Bank - the place that witnesses the birth of love, lust, horror, mystery and all there is to tell in the film.

Because I am not a film reviewer, I am not going to talk film. I am just interested to talk about its contents and the soul that it has within. Very rarely do I find a local film that has a very strong message within its soul, narrated within good visuals, unfolded within interesting plots. Puaka Tebing Biru is an exception. And for this, I salute.

And back to life, I understand that life can be barren. Language is a body of suffering, words the source of pain as they are the way to heal. And here I am, hearing, watching, feeling - is that all? Shouldn’t we exercise our rights to speak our minds? Just so that there is consensus between us all, then there’d be absolute peace in this world. What then? Perhaps then it's not life anymore, for life is a blend of happiness and sufferings, tears and laughter and all other elements that contain within it, without which, there’s no more tales to tell, life can no longer be a play, the world no longer the stage, and we no longer the actors.

If we are no actors, are but just the props?

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