Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Mendadak Dangdut

Just saw Mendadak Dangdut (Suddenly Dangdut) with Aviva - a late night treat courtesy of youtube ( This Indonesian-language film by director Rudy Soedjarwo is the story of arrogant pop singer Petris (played by the beautiful Titi Kamal), who flees the police along with her loyal manager Yulia when 5 kilos of heroin belonging to Yulia's boyfriend are found in Petris' car. The couple take refuge with Rizal, a keyboard player who runs an Organ Tunggal operation that is well known 'from Depok to Krawang.' Petris has to learn a new musical idiom - and a moral lesson that dangdut is a language of direct communication between singer and audience that can assuage angry feelings and fill people with hope.

It is a sentimental film, and one that in many ways harks back to an earlier time in Indonesian drama, but very satisfying on a number of registers. I particularly enjoyed the intimate backstage look at Organ Tunggal, a musical genre that emerged in the pesisir of Java circa 1998 when I was doing my field work in Cirebon.

Thank you youtube for this and hundreds more Indonesian language films!

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