Cinta, Rangga, and the lucky number thirteen

In approximately five months, Indonesian movie lovers will be pampered, be reminded on how good the country’s motion picture industry was during the early reformation era. We, the people, will be presented with a sequel of one of the finest Indonesian movies of all time. We will dive deep into the reminiscence, the memory, the strong impression left by the first movie, when we eventually watch What’s Up with Love 2 (AADC2).

I was hyped the first time I heard that there will be a sequel of What’s Up with Love (AADC). After thirteen years of waiting, I (and I think I speak on behalf of the majority of Indonesian people) will get what I deserve. We will witness the (fictional) story that revolves around Cinta and Rangga, and how their relationship grow over time.

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YASSS!!

The viewers were first seduced by a mini drama produced by LINE that reveals a glimpse of AADC’s realm after Rangga left Cinta to go to New York. The mini drama was published last year, on November 6, through LINE’s very own YouTube channel. Ever since, no less than five million people have watched the drama. An astonishing number of five million people, worldwide. The figure just shows that another AADC-related audiovisual product is expected.

I then decided to do a little research on why AADC left a strong impression for the people of Indonesia. When the movie was first released in 2002, I was just a ten-year-old boy. I even remember that my mother closed my eyes during Cinta and Rangga kissing scene. I was still a little boy but even then I knew that AADC was something else. Alongside movies like Sherina’s Adventure and Jelangkung, those three movies gave some fresh air for Indonesia’s motion picture industry.

According to Mira Lesmana, the producer of the movie, AADC was watched by 1,3 million people during its first three weeks in theatre.[1] Over time, the movie could ‘only’ absorb a total of 2 to 2,5 million viewers; a figure that is far behind other Indonesian more recent movies such as Laskar Pelangi or The Dreamer (Sang Pemimpi). But, it is assumed that AADC was the movie that brought Indonesia’s motion picture industry back to life after a decade of hiatus.

The hiatus itself occurred predominantly during the 90s. During this period, the majority of theatre in Indonesia were dominated by Hollywood movies. Only a handful of Indonesian movies made it to the theatre – with most of them promoting sexuality and other adult theme.

The emergence of private-owned TV channel also took part on the ‘apparent death’ of Indonesian movie industry. People tend to stay at home and watch free TV series rather than going to the theatre and enjoy movies. The facility that the people once never had were so intriguing that they prefer to enjoyed it while it lasts.

Indonesian Film Festival (FFI), the country’s most prestigious award for film activists until today, also went through a hiatus during this period. In 1993, for the very first time since its appearance in 1955, FFI was called off because of budgeting problem.

But one thing I am most interested about is the fact that there was a law that regulates Indonesia’s motion picture industry. UU no. 8 year 1992 about Film brought a strict structural adjustment for the sustainability of Indonesia’s movie industry at that time – and, I think, that was the reason why the country’s movie industry went through a hiatus during the 90s.[2]

In UU no. 8 year 1992, there were plenty of articles that I perceived as limiting the space for Indonesia’s filmmakers to maneuver. For example, Chapter VII, Article 36, Paragraph (1) stated that:

Government to provide guidance and coaching necessary by carrying out various activities that are beneficial to the development of film.

The article shows that there were efforts from government to interfere the filmmakers with ways that they see fit. Furthermore, still from the same Chapter, Article 37, Paragraph 1, the government turns out had the ability to create a body that has a power to give verdict on whether a movie could be released or not if the Censorship Committee had some objections about the movie being produced. Stated in the paragraph that:

In order to develop the film industry, the government set up an agency to give consideration in the film’s issues in accordance with the needs and development, and give a decision on the objection against the film what were rejected as referred to in Article 33 Paragraph (7).

There were too many restrictions for the industry during that time. The UU shows it all, not to mention the existence of Enlightment Department (Departemen Penerangan) that possessed limitless power to control the circulation of information in Indonesia.

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#DEMFEELS

Those restrictions and also ups and downs that the industry faced were slowly removed due to the demand of democratization in Indonesia. The dissolution of the Enlightment Department back in 1999 stimulated a new movement in Indonesia’s entertainment industry. Young, independent filmmakers started to express their talent even more. It was shown by the emergence of a new wave movies such as the three I have mentioned earlier.

The industry was once more drawn with passion. The launching of AADC sparks the industry even more. According to Regina Novanda, AADC was extremely influential, it even became the movie that brought FFI back to life.[3] FFI was then held, for the first time after its hiatus, in 2004.

But enough for the structural reasoning on how AADC influenced the motion picture industry of Indonesia. Let us move on a little bit and discuss on how AADC influence its viewers.

If I am not mistaken, AADC was the first movie that specifically adopt a theme on adolescene after the apparent death period. The story pivotal plot revolves around the life of high school students. The movie also intended to specifically targets juvenile and young adults that has an age gap similar to the characters in the movie – thus, it is safe to say that AADC wanted to capture the attention of junior high schoolers to, at least, university students at that time. And I think this is the reason why AADC left its mark to the people.

Every human being has memory. We remember things that we once encounter. Brickman and Stern divided memory systems into two categories: long-term memory and short-term memory.[4] Here, the most relevant category is the long-term one as the primary viewers of AADC – the 1,3 million people that watched the movie within its first three weeks after release – went to the theatre to see the movie thirteen years ago. Thus, they have to recall what happened thirteen years ago in order to retell the story.

In Brickman and Stern’s long-term memory category, they divided it into two types: declarative memory and nondeclarative memory. A declarative memory is something that goes within a person’s consciousness, while nondeclarative memory happened outside the consciousness system and has been regarded as neurological. Thus, a memory that a person got after watching a movie could easily be categorized into the declarative one.

In declarative memory, Brickman and Stern gives the definition of what is known as episodic memory. They stated that:

“Episodic memory refers to the explicit recollection of events, the ‘what,’ ‘where,’ and ‘when’ of information storage, and though it is conceptually distinct from semantic memory, the two memory systems interact. Episodic memory binds together items in semantic memory to form conceptually related time-based events. For example, the explicit recall of a learned story about a cowboy requires episodic memory for the story and semantic memory, or prior knowledge, of the items contained within the story.”[5]

Brickman and Stern also added that episodic memory ‘declines considerably with age’. An older adult will find it more difficult to recall a specific memory of ‘what’, ‘when’, or ‘where’ compared to their younger relatives.

The reason why I present to you the definition of episodic memory is to convince you that AADC’s original viewers, I assume, will still have a strong memory regarding the storyline. Why? Let us assume that AADC’s target viewers, the junior high schoolers to university students, were therefore placed between 13-year-old (average age of a first year student attending junior high school) to 24-year-old (average age of a fourth year student in the university). Add those age range with thirteen (the length for the viewers to wait for a new AADC movie) and we got a new range of 26 to 37.

According to Petry, those age range I made will still be categorized as young adults. By definition young adults are those in the age range of 18 to 35.[6] Therefore, if we go back to Brickman and Stern’s explanation about episodic memory, the original viewers of AADC will not have significant difficulties in memorizing what the story was about since they are not yet entering the stage of older adults. According to Petry, older adults are those who aged older than 55 years. So, yes, we still have a fond memory of AADC and all of its perfection. It is only make sense, therefore, that the fans are expecting a continuation of AADC. We still want to know whether Cinta and Rangga will be back together or will they grow apart even more.

I also think, the memory that AADC’s fans hold very dearly has a same psychological formula with those of Harry Potter or Digimon fans. Both Harry Potter and Digimon applied quite a similar logic in maintaining the loyalty of their fans: both series grow together with their targeted viewers and progress their storyline with the growth of the viewers. Harry Potter portrayed the evolution of Harry and his friends: they took off when their age were similar of an elementary school students, and grow over time until they are all entering their early young adult period. Harry’s age in the movie was quite similar with the movies viewers and it is not surprise that fans were crying when The Deathly Hollows: Part 2 was released, claiming that the movie marks an end of their respective childhood.

Digimon also applied the same rule. As time in real life (our timetable) progress, the life of Taichi and friends are progressing simultaneously. In each new sequels, they grow older and older. No disrespect for Pokemon, but one thing that makes me prefer Digimon rather than Pokemon is because Pokemon got stuck in a singular time table; that Ash will forever be young, and only the environmental set of his life that are changing from episode to episode.

AADC2 storyline, as said by Mira Lesmana, will be the continuation of AADC. Therefore, the viewers were promised a movie that grows together with them. Mira Lesmana also said that it will depict the gang in a more mature way. It will be wrapped in a different sense from AADC because the characters grow and the social set is evolving.[7]

So, to wrap things up, I just want to say that I am excited to watch AADC2. I do not care if the movie turns out to be bad and publicly criticized. Even if it’s going to be really, really bad, I want to enjoy it for the sake of reminiscene – and you should too! April 2016 will be a month that we all been waiting for, because for once we could no longer speculate about what happened after Rangga left Cinta for more than a full moon. As Melly Goeslaw puts it in one of AADC’s soundtrack, Bimbang, ‘Kata orang rindu itu indah, namun bagiku ini menyiksa.’ So cherish your thirteen-year long yearning of a really good cry, people!

ada-apa-dengan-cinta
Try not to cry, try not to cry, cries a lot…

[1] JB Kristanto, ‘Resensi: Ada Apa dengan Cinta?”, in Film Indonesia, 1 September 2004, http://filmindonesia.or.id/movie/review/rev4cd636ea84c34_ada-apa-dengan-cinta#.Vltr5ljhDWI, accessed on 29 November 2015.

[2] Online version available at kpi.go.id, ‘Undang-Undang Republik Indonesia No. 8 Tahun 1992 Tentang Perfilman’, http://www.kpi.go.id/download/regulasi/UU%20No.%208%20Tahun%201992%20tentang%20Perfilman.pdf, accessed on 29 November 2015.

[3] Regina Novanda, ’18 Film Indonesia yang Menorehkan Sejarah’, in bintang, 18 May 2015, http://www.bintang.com/film/read/2233834/18-film-indonesia-yang-menorehkan-sejarah, accessed on 29 November 2015.

[4] AM Brickman and Y Stern, ‘Aging and Memory in Humans’, Encyclopedia of Neuroscience, 2009, vol. 1, page 175-180.

[5] AM Brickman and Y Stern, ‘Aging and Memory in Humans’, page 176.

[6] NM Petry, ‘A comparison of young, middle-aged, and older adult treatment-seeking pathological gamblers’, The Gerontologist, 2002, 42:1, page 92.

[7] Ade Irwansyah, ‘Yang Kita Tahu Tentang Cerita AAdC 2 Hingga Saat Ini’, in Liputan 6, 25 October 2015, http://showbiz.liputan6.com/read/2348612/yang-kita-tahu-tentang-cerita-aadc-2-hingga-saat-ini?p=2, accessed on 29 November 2015.

http://www.kpi.go.id/download/regulasi/UU%20No.%208%20Tahun%201992%20tentang%20Perfilman.pdf

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