Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Opera Jawa


I spent last night watching the DVD of Opera Jawa; one of the films which Peter commissioned for the New Crowned Hope Festival. Click here for a synopsis and a review by the ever-perceptive Tony Rayns, who also wrote about it for the Festival programme.

For me, what was fascinating about this film was the combination of traditional Indonesian performance forms with a contemporary setting, and with very strong social and political concerns. Like our Trilogy, this film draws off Hindu mythology and the danced and sung theatre forms of Asia, at the same time as confronting some of the contemporary issues in the region. In the Trilogy, I've been alternating scenes of naturalism with more fantastical, magical and mythological moments. In Opera Jawa, the film-maker Garin Nugroho makes no distinction between the mythic and modern worlds. His Ram and Sita are contemporary working-class Indonesians, and they sing and dance as well as make pots and ride bicycles. The film is through-sung, so totally operatic - the only spoken text emanates from a TV, which (with the multiple layering characteristic of this work) is a carved statue. I can learn something from Garin's approach: I should trust non-naturalistic styles as being capable of conveying everyday life as well as the dream - indeed, of showing what is magical and dream-like in our everyday lives. It's a beautiful film.

Annika, our intern, has got herself a permanent job in a casting agency. She's only been with us a short time, but did some terrific work: transcribing the Swedish sections of the Re-Orientations script, preparing sponsorship proposals, and more than doubling the number of friends we have on MySpace! Thanks and good luck to her.

1 comment:

jimmi said...

Wow...I have already seen that movie........That was bit traditional movie....... Cheap Flights to Accra ............