Written by Siti Fatimah Ayuningdyah
A couple of weeks ago I had the chance to catch “Pocong Mandi Goyang Pinggul” (PMGP), a movie which created plenty of buzz for securing Sasha Grey, an American adult film siren, to star in it. I knew that from movies of such genre, I could expect that:
1. I would not be blown away by the plot;
2. The appeal of the movie relies heavily on soft-core porn;
3. Despite everything, the ghosts would still be scary enough to haunt me in my sleep.
In PMGP’s case, only two of the three prevailed. You will find out soon enough which ones.
Let’s start from the most essential thing in a movie: the plot. I would start talking about the plot, except that there is none. I will tell you that there was a pocong, (flamboyantly played by Tata Dado), a character taking a shower (the much publicized Ms. Grey), and a character whose primary purpose is to shake her hips (Annisa Bahar in a fully sequined outfit). However, these three things are completely unrelated to one another. Hence, if you are hoping to catch a pocong shaking his hips while taking a shower, you will surely be disappointed, my friend.
So, in verdict:
1. Point #1 prevailed; I was not blown away by the plot (or lack thereof).
2. Point #2 also prevailed, although much to the audience’s disappointment, much of the soft-core porn parts were enacted by local actresses, not Ms. Grey.
3. Point #3, however, did not. I have seen other movies of the same genre such as “Suster Keramas” and “Tali Pocong Perawan” and these movies have (embarrassingly) caused more than a couple of sleepless nights plagued by fear and paranoia. In PCMG, aside from Tata Dado’s pocong, only one ghost appeared. It did not scare me at all. In fact, that ghost not only made me question the future of the Indonesian film industry, but also the current state of the local cinematic make up artistry.
At the end of the movie, one cannot help but wonder, “Is this what the once promising Indonesian Film Industry has come to?” For the sake of myself and my future spawns, I sure hope not.
The industry has come a long way. The first Indonesian movie was a silent movie titled “Loetoeng Kasaroeng” produced in 1926. Later, the industry would come to its peak in the 1980’s with movies such as “Naga Bonar” and “Catatan Si Boy”. In the next decade, the industry faced a slight decline due to increasing interest in imported films. In 2002, however, a movie directed by Rudi Soedjarwo, “Ada Apa Dengan Cinta” became a huge hit, firmly embedding itself within the culture of Indonesian youth, and marking the revival of Indonesian movies, particularly those targeted for teenage audiences. This revival symbolized hope for local movies, while also sparking interest among movie-goers. After AADC, there are streams of local movies of different genres and qualities invading the market, none of which have been able to match its quality and cultural impact. PMGP, unfortunately, is one of them.
It is now more than ever, though, that top notch local movies are in demand. Local cinemas are no longer showing imported movies in the same scale and quantity as they used to (although I hear that this is changing!). While the movies are reduced in amount, the size of movie-hungry audience remains the same. Local movies may never entirely replace foreign movies. However, a masterfully crafted movie with neat production will always be appreciated. Instead, our cinemas are bombarded by movies of the “horror-bokep” genre, which compromise quality for easy cash generated by selling sex in cinema. We cannot completely blame filmmakers for being lured into making such films, though, for the truth is, they do sell. When I watched PMGP, the theatre was at least half occupied, while only a week later, when I went to watch “Batas” (a review coming soon!) there were only two people in the theatre: me and my companion.
Unfortunately, though, when I was talking about industry downfall, I was not only referring to the quality. Apparently, nowadays, pirated DVD counters also sell pirated local movies, like the one on the right. Only a few months before you saw that, even when these counters were selling mainly pirated foreign movies, they still sell original DVD’s of Indonesian movies. Now, not even the local movies are off limits.
What do you think, dear readers? The film industry has seen through high and low, and have always managed to bounce back eventually. Will the current quality of mainstream Indonesian movies be a wake-up call for local filmmakers? We sure hope that the industry is not one goyang pinggul away from total downfall.