What is so interesting about What They Don’t Talk About When They Talk About Love? I really did not think it would be interesting judging by my first look of the trailer. I hope to god it was not one of those Indonesian artistic films that i just can not fall in love with on most times.
But since it was an official selection for The 2013 Sundance Film Festival, as part a of its World Dramatic selection (as well as the first Indonesian movie to be screen and compete in Sundance, if i’m not mistaken). So despite the trailer, i feel the need to check it out, especially since its only commercially released in select theaters in Bandung.
Don’t Talk Love brought us to the world of two visually impaired girls and the world around them. We meet the privilaged Diana (Karina Salim) and the bold Fitri (Ayushita Nugraha), as they endure the their journey to find what they crave. The innocent Diana got her crush for her classmate Andhika (Anggun Priambodo) and her obsession with womanhood. While Fitri who yearn for love got involved in a passionate affair with a hearing-impaired punk rocker Edo (Nicholas Saputra), through braille mails and illusion of a mythical ghost doctor. And Maya (Lupita Jennifer) the normal girl who exists in the periphery of the four casts, who were there to share her happiness.
There were innocence and lost of innocence, self-discovery, and learn that love, quite literally, is blind. We learn that despite what their lack of, these character fights their way to find (and make) their happiness, without dramatizing their ‘disabilities’. And sometimes, being perfect does not guarantee happiness anyway.
I found Maya existence is very riveting. While her existence might seemed to hold no importance whatsoever at the beginning, we learn that she was happy and fulfilled, whether she was normal or in the alternate. Her existence seems to serve some kind of anchor for the other four characters.
There’s a very subtle poetic beauty in Don’t Talk Love, delivered in very little words but loud in emotions. Using beautiful cinematographic shots and tactful sound design to provoke viewers emotions and heighten our sensory experience. I think Zeke Khaseli did great with the score, simple melodic accompaniment that enrich the atmosphere of each scene. My favorite part of the sound design was not the score though, but in the delicate use of sound effect for emphasis. I was affected greatly by the sounds of pebbles hitting the water in the pool as Fitri tried to determine the position of her ‘Ghost Doctor’ and through the eerie, deliberate silence employed as we went into Edo’s head space. The dynamic shots choreographed by Yunus Pasolang provide us with colors and sense of macro experience. It moves as we follow each character sometimes give a voyeuristic quality yet making each scene feels fluid and dynamic.
I love the little gesture and course of actions done especially by Karina Salim as Diana. Who was perfectly cast as the fragile girl who yearned for love and attention. I can feel the strain of her relationship with her mother, and little joys she obtained from successfully flirting with her crush through an certain olfactory allure. That being said i think the overall castings were very good anyway (although yes, i think i’ll always be partial to Nicholas Saputra, i grew up watching him on Ada Apa Dengan Cinta and kinda proud that he ventures to festival oriented movies rather than the commercial ones lately). With very limited conversations, every little gestures become a form of communication, from body language to emotions seen through each actors eyes becoming a defining aspects that can break and make this film.
While i’ve sworn my love towards this movie, there were little things that bugged me. The awkward undefinable alternate or imagined reality is one of them. I get the intention of delivering this paralel world where the characters had their switch, where the 4 disabled casts are normal, while Maya is the only one blind, and how normalcy does not guarantee happiness whatsoever. The other was the part where we saw the visualisation of the correspondence between Fitri and Edo, where the words from these letters were projected on walls and other flat surfaces. While i thought the intended effects are the floating letters are part of the environments whatsoever, the one where it was projected partially on the head of Edo was just kinda look sloppy and ruin the intended effects for me. That was just me nitpicking though..
All in all, this movie will give you a very different experience from other Indonesian cinema. A depth in simplicity, an extremely loud emotions for all your senses, without unneeded verbosity. Personally can not wait to own a home media copy of the film!
What They Don’t Talk About When They Talk About Love was officially selected as a part of Sundance Film Festival 2013 in World Dramatic category. It only screens at selected Blitzmegaplex and Cinema21 venues since May 2nd 2013, check their respective schedule in your cities.