Wednesday, February 22, 2006

...shut the...up!

Tengah semangat rock ni!

Yes, today aku tengok Garasi at the press preview. Aku da dengar pasal Indonesian movie ni, and it's supposedly quite impressive so bila pra-tayangan ni diadakan, lari kerja sat gi tengok camna the movie for myself.

So here's my very occasional...and comes only when I feel like it movie review.

Garasi, was released earlier this year in Indonesia.

The setting for the story begins with the meeting of the three central characters in Gaia, Aga, Awan, who start a band in Bandung, West Java.

A little bit of background, the production by Miles Films established their reputation selepas two successful released in Petualangan Sherina and Ada Apa Dengan Cinta.

It starts out a little too Empire Records, but somehow along the way runs a little too akin with That Thing You Do.

Throw in a couple of personal dramas, some really loud music with a line that goes, "Shut the f**k up!" (that one thankfully lepas Censorship Board ok! - which proves a theory of mine those old fogies don't understand English! *hik* *hik*), great cinematography, and yet take out that last cliche in the ending to avoid it from being overswamped, and you've got - a teen angst movie!
Ok lah...so the script is not all that original, but it does work pretty well.

The whole thing starts with Aga who bumps into Gaia and then recruits her for a band.
Joined by Aga's best friend, Awan, they churn out what is obvious with the first two minutes of them whacking out the tune, that it is undoubtedly a hit to be.

They cut a deal with a trio of slackers who run a local music store to record their debut, and is soon on the road to gaining mainstream popularity

Masa ni ler start drama swasta. See if you can keep up...it's not that complicated.
Aga goes ga-ga over Gaia, she starts having feelings too. Awan somehow is suspected of digging Gaia and Aga pon naik bengang.

All this while Aga is embroiled in an unspoken and underplayed conflict with Sena, abang dia pasal pondok musik that they run.

Aga (who seems to be the catalyst for drama most of the plot), during their rise to fame vents his anger on a trashy tabloid journalist on invasion of privacy, and as a result, Gaia di exposekan sebagai anak luar nikah, which gives us another dose of more drama.

After the drama of dissent over the assumption that Gaia leads the band, Aga catches Gaia in Awan's arms, though doesn't know the reasons.

The ending? Cliched success for the band, though not overworked for a stamp of approval for a happy ending.

What did I think?

The movie is stunningly, beautifully shot, and the cinematography...camerawork memang meletop! Impressive even by the high Indonesian standards.

It's captivating enough, that if any eventuality you feel bored, the shots amaze you enough to keep your eyes glued on the screen.

They tried to ensure that the MTV glossiness of it all was dispelled with to provide a more accurate representation of the scenes...so I guess that was one up for their effort.

The script however is mediocre, memang nampak ler the influence of sinetron on the use of the plot devices. Still...to some extent, the storyline is well told....takder ler lengthy or draggy sangat. And the ending, while some may feel abrupt, for me, is something that works.

The music? Quite poppishly interesting.

Not quite credible enough for the underground, independent sound they are supposed to represent. It is after all a music movie right.

What a waste to model the band after the sound of Cokelat, padahal I think the lead vocals in Gaia sounds more credible than Kikan, vocally presenting shades of Alanis Morrissette.

Okler ada ler this on and off musical reference to my fave band Smashing Pumpkins...a little bit of Rammstein and odds and ends which seem to form their influences.

It's not very strange however is to discover that the trio of Garasi, really did compose and performed their own songs for the movie.

And quite brilliantly, while reality TV has launched many a career, movies may just be the new medium to promote new talents as interest in the soundtrack has shown.

Garasi aku dengar on tour as a band. Background meka pun enough to prove that they were not just actors

Gaia, is acted by Ayu Ratna, yang dahulunya finalist for Indonesian Idol.
Aris Budiman atau Awan sememangnya a real drummer yang memang terkenal manakala Fedi Nuril iatau Aga, is a musician as well.

Anyway...I think it's more a youngster's movie, so the crowd watching it will be below 30 (I know some people were sleeping in the audience)

Personally, the movie will definitely appeal to former Generation Xers here (your 25-35 age group...yang lebih umo tu like someone I know buat-buat je suka kot sebab nak feel muda - matilah aku kena carut!) because the indie music culture here is mirrored in the movie.

Teringat ler zaman-zaman start up band cari vocalist, then kemudian nak cari gig...the exclusivity of the community and its elitist cliques.

Perhaps, ten years ago, Garasi woud have emerged a cult movie that would mark the era of its release, as it indicated the rise of the indie and underground local music scene. It definitely would have been more significant to cinemagoers here then,.

The relevance today however is how much pop culture has infiltrated every nook and cranny of the music industry and taken over every single facet of every known genre.Though I suppose...the ease with which they dealt with for their musical opportunities proves me wrong there.

Lari topik jap...if older folks see this movie, hopefully it serves as an eye opener, how much music really serves to provide a sanctuary for youths, and how it becomes a language that is used not just to vent, but also to communicate and congregate with their peers.

When I was about 18 or 19, port lepak aku kat Bukit Rajah Shopping Centre kat Klang. Well not really...but it's where our band would hang out for our creative sessions. Everyone was an artiste then. You did it for the expression, not for the fame.

When our band, Sean Olsens was put together and eventually started venturing out in the underground scene throughout KL, Damansara and Subang in the late Nineties, it was never a concern to get a mainstream record.

And two of our peers back then - will bear testimony of that. 18SGG and Disagree were bands that arrived on the scene when Sean Olsens was in its infancy and today they've managed to bring their sounds to a wider audience.

In this respect - Garasi has failed. There is no semblance of reality of the suipposed dark, artistic touches to the artistry of musicianship that they boast of throughout the whole movie. The very facade of the movie, which practically brags an elite understanding of the music scene is betrayed by poppy touches to the influences to the sound of the band.

Moving on...if you are like some of my friends at the preview yang leh tertidur, then the fun time you could have is by spotting the cameo!

Kalao kat sini kita bukan tau atau kenal sangat Pas (an alternative rock band from Bandung tau...bukan Parti Islam Semalaysia), or known music critic Denny Sakrie.

The three music store owners in the D'Lawas trio acted by radio talkshow hosts Desta and Arie Dagienkz, and indie rock promoter David Tarigan pun tak ring a bell

Aku nak spot the cameo pun yang fun, tengok Kikan and gang from the band Cokelat.

My verdict at the end of it all?

No matter who you are, it's definitely worth the price of the ticket to watch the movie. To watch it a second time, you'd either have to be a technical film person who loves those outstanding shots, or an oid Gen Xer like moi. However...you may choose to stay away from it if you don't like extended music videos, cause this tends to feel like one at times. Still...give it a chance. You might just like it.

And if you don't like the ending?

The story is still going on with the band touring for real...so that's your story still in progress.

The movie was only an introduction of sorts.


Garasi (115 minutes)
Starring Fedi Nuril, Ayu Ratna, Aries Budiman, Syaharani.
Directed by Agung Sentausa.
Official website : Garasi The Movie
Garasi akan mula ditayangkan di panggung-panggung mulai 2 Mac 2006 seluruh Malaysia.
*The cast of Garasi will be in Malaysia from 28 February for promotion of the film.

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