“fiksi.” is a breakthrough. In the middle of stagnancy in Indonesia’s movie industry, which is currently filled mostly with similar genres like comedy, romance, or horror, “fiksi.” slapped me right on the face, saying that there are many outstanding films from my own country. Maybe it’s not something new in foreign cinemas, but here in Indonesia, “fiksi.” brought fresh air to our local viewers who really need something new in our cinema industry. Mouly Surya, the director, said that she was inspired to write and direct “fiksi.” by a classic children story, “Alice in Wonderland”, written by Lewis Caroll. The idea of “fiksi.”, yet, is an inversion of “Alice in Wonderland” (of course in a very different style). Still, it’s amusing, terrifying, and slowly killing.
“fiksi.” centers on a character named Alisha (played very well by Ladya Cheryl), a daughter of a very rich dad, living in Jakarta. She was lonely (she only did formal interaction with the house servant, Tuti—played by Rina Hassim, and her driver, Bambang—played by Egi Fedly), a little bit damaged because of a trauma of her mom’s death, and good at playing cello. One day, she found a good-looking man working in her house named Bari (played by Donny Alamsyah). Obsessed with Bari, Alisha followed him to his place, which was actually a room in a nine-story flat, where he lived with his girlfriend named Renta (played by Kinaryosih). Then, Alisha decided to ran away from her house, live in the room next to Bari’s room, and introduce herself to Bari and Renta as Mia.
"I never know how to end any of my stories" - Bari
“fiksi.” (translated to English as “fiction.”) got its name from the writing project Bari did in his room. Bari was a handyman, but he loves writing. After introducing himself and her girlfriend to Alisha a.k.a Mia, Bari took Mia in a free tour around the flat. Here, we will see how Mouly Surya, collaborating with Joko Anwar, wrote a very detailed and structured plot and characters. The nine-story flat had a characteristic in its every floor, which was also inhabited by some unique, distinguished characters. There was an old man (played by Jose Rizal Manua), who never ever stepped his foot on his room—but stayed outside, instead—as he was a former resident of a house which was then burnt by the flat owner to built the flat and granted a free room in the flat as a reward (staying outside of the free room is his form of opposition: if he entered the free room, it means that he lost his own struggle). There was also an old woman named Dirah (played by Aty Cancer), who never went out of her room except for throwing rubbish, and raised many cats in his room as she thought that cat was a reincarnation of her murdered fiance (she though so because she found a cat next to her fiance’s body). There were also a couple of gay, Rudi and Dani, who were suspected by Bari as a dad and son. All these living characters, altogether with the flat and his own life, inspired Bari to write “fiksi.”. The problem was he couldn’t finish his fiction writing, for he adapted it from an unfinished life.
The situation in “fiksi.” might be too underground and staged. We won’t see it clearly in our daily life, although we knew that the situation may happen somewhere in this city. The story was very unusual but predictable (with character like Alisha, thriller lovers could easily predict how the film ended). The story idea was good, although the platform was not something out-of-the-box. Yet, it slowly kills. It didn’t need any on-screen violence or graphic profanities to bring suspense. Contrarily, it brought the tense atmosphere in a proper proportion of beautiful cinematography and sharp dialogues, that it tells a meaning to the viewers without spoiling useless dialogues and abundant styles. Outstanding music, mostly taken from Alisha’s cello play, delivered a whimsical shade and mysterious background of the story. Achievement was made by the writer duo, for bringing a very detailed framework of story (well, except for some similarities of names and clues, referring it as an inversion of the classic “Alice in Wonderland” maybe too grandiose). Ladya Cheryl deserved it too, for being a girl with unpredictable things in her mind and straight words in her mouth (although maybe her character needed more supports and motives), and Donny Alamsyah was good enough to bring Bari with his all free-mind and writer’s blocks.
Somehow “fiksi.” was predictable, but still it’s an achievement. The idea was odd, but flawless in an acceptable level. “fiksi.” is an interesting story of a blend of reality and fiction, brought by the strongly characterized leading role and perfectly structured framework. It talked less, showed more, told enough, and thrilled slowly. It’s not a brand new thing, but no local film could do similarly. Poor me not knowing it right when it’s released in the theaters. It’s definitely my cup of tea (and yours too!), so thank you for bringing “fiksi.” in our local cinema industry.
▲ Detailed framework, a local brand-new
▼ Predictable, less motive
▼ Predictable, less motive
FIKSI. | COUNTRY Indonesia YEAR 2008 RATING n.a. RUNTIME 110 min GENRE Drama, Thriller CAST Ladya Cheryl, Donny Alamsyah, Kinaryosih, Rina Hassim, Egi Fedly WRITER Joko Anwar, Mouly Surya DIRECTOR Mouly Surya MORE INFO