Selasa, Juni 28, 2016

"As You Wish"

 Film, dengan segala potensinya sebagai medium narasi, memang memiliki gravitasi tersendiri dibandingkan media lainnya. Dengan durasi yang relatif pendek, film harus diracik dengan penuh pertimbangan agar mampu menyampaikan pesan, meninggalkan kesan, dan tentunya memenuhi standar kualitas tertentu—sesuai dengan harapan para pemirsanya. Seringkali kita tak bisa menunjuk secara tepat mengapa sebuah film disebut berkualitas. Satu yang pasti, sebuah film bisa dibilang “bagus” karena ia bisa dinikmati dan berhasil mengikat perhatian kita selama sekian puluh menit, sedari awal semenjak judul digelar, hingga saat daftar kredit diputar. “The Princess Bride” (TPB) saya kira adalah salah satu contoh film macam ini. Ia mampu membuat penonton larut dalam pesonanya, padahal jika mengacu pada standar umum TPB dikemas seacara sederhana tanpa bintang terkenal dan efek-efek komputer yang dramatis.

Dari judulnya yang kurang seksi  saja, kita bakal curiga jika TPB hanya akan menjanjikan kisah dongeng zaman kerajaan yang membosankan. Tapi coba tanya pada mereka yang pernah menontonnya, saya yakin anda akan dihujani dengan berbagai alasan mengapa film yang diangkat dari novel berjudul sama ini wajib ditonton. Diproduksi pada tahun 1987, film besutan Rob Reiner ini  memang tak bertaburan bintang hebat dan bahkan tak pernah memenangkan penghargaan bergengsi apapun. Dilakoni Robin Wright dan Cary Elwes  sebagai duo bintang utama, kekuatan “The Princess Bride” agaknya memang  terletak pada kepiawaian William Goldman sebagai scrip-writer (yang juga merupakan penulis novel TPB) dalam mengolah plot dan merancang cerita.
Premis utama film ini sebenarnya cukup sederhana, yakni kisah keteguhan hati dua tokoh utamanya—Buttercup (Wright) dan Westley (Elwes)—untuk bersatu dalam ikatan cinta sejati. Perjalanan kisah cinta mereka yang berjalinan dengan kisah-kisah dari tokoh lainnya, terutuhkan menjadi cerita yang cerdas , yang selain diramu sebagai drama juga dihiasi oleh komedi dalam kadar kuantitas dan kualitas yang demikian pas. Perlu diketahui di awal, The Princess Bride (TPB) memang diperuntukkan oleh segala usia, namun saya kira penonton tak perlu kuatir dengan resiko akan munculnya pesan-pesan moral yang kelewat menggurui seperti yang sering ditemui di film-film keluarga lainnya. The Princess Bride boleh jadi mampat oleh pesan akan nilai-nilai luhur kesetiaan, sikap ksatria dan cinta sejati, namun alur ceritanya yang sungguh mengasyikkan, ditambah  dengan karakter-karakter tokohnya yang unik sekaligus absurd, dan tak lupa bumbu humor yang segar di sana sini; sanggup mengalihkan perhatian kita dari aspek menggurui khas film kanak-kanak.

Disampaikan secara meta-naratif, film ini dibuka dengan adegan seorang kakek yang membacakan buku  pada cucunya yang sedang sakit (dimainkan dengan sangat cemerlang oleh Fred Savage, yang kala itu digadang-gadang sebagai bintang cilik penuh potensi). Penonton kemudian digiring pada kisah awal buku yang menggambarkan betapa Buttercup dan Westley sedari mula memang telah amat saling mencintai. Terpaksa berpisah karena Westley harus menyeberangi lautan untuk mencari peruntungan demi meminang Buttercup, kisah cinta muda-mudi ini lekas diputus takdir, saat Westley diberitakan telah meninggal di tangan Robert si Bajak Laut Kejam.
Patah hati dan memutuskan untuk tak pernah jatuh cinta lagi, lima tahun kemudian Buttercup dikisahkan akan menikahi pangeran Humperdinck tanpa dilandasi cinta. Terpaksa menikahi yang sang putera mahkota kerajaan Florin di luar kemauannya, Buttercup sering mencari ketenangan dengan berkuda sendirian, hingga suatu hari ia disergap oleh tiga orang bandit di sebuah hutan sepi. Tiga bandit yang terdiri dari Vizzini si kurcaci super cerdas dan penipu ulung, Inigo Montoya si master anggar yang berasal dari Spanyol, dan Fezzik yang bertubuh bak raksasa dan gemar sekali berpantun. Jangan salah ketiga bandit ini bukan penculik biasa, mereka tak hanya berencana menculik Buttercup, namun juga berencana membunuhnya di kawasan kerajaan Guilder, agar terjadi peperangan antara kerajaan Guilder dan Florin.

Di tengah perjalanan menggiring Buttercup menuju Guilder, mereka diikuti oleh seorang misterius berpakaian serba hitam. Satu demi satu, ketiga bandit penculik dipaksa berduel dengan si hitam misterius, yang ternyata mampu mengimbangi tiga bakat berbeda yang dimiliki Fizzini, Inigo, dan Fezzik. Di sini TPB mulai menunjukkan potensinya sebagai kisah yang “one of the kind”. Interaksi antara si tokoh hitam misterius dengan ketiga bandit, selain memancing tawa juga akan memancing simpati penonton terhadap tokoh Inigo dan Fezzik. TPB memang tak menghadirkan tokoh-tokohnya dalam satu dimensi karakter saja. Atribut “jahat” sebagaimana sering kita gunakan untuk melabeli suatu tokoh dalam sebuah cerita, digantikan dengan atribut lain yang lebih multi-dimensional, seperti pengecut, pongah, ataupun pendendam; bahkan sang karakter utama, Westley, bisa dibilang  adalah seorang yang kelewat keras kepala, mengarah ke sifat obsesif.

Narasi TPB memang terasa kompak dan pas diikuti, namun lompatan alur di beberapa bagian—dengan maksud memangkas plot agar lebih ringkas—sungguh amat disayangkan, karena jika mengacu pada bukunya banyak detail cerita yang menarik untuk disimak. Misalnya pernikahan antara Pangeran Humperdinck dan Buttercup dilatarbelakangi oleh berbagai peristiwa konyol yang sangat lucu, yang menunjukkan betapa Buttercup, sebagai heroine TPB memiliki karakter yang unik dalam menghadapi konflik moral antara kesetiaan dan keterdesakan untuk bertahan hidup.


All in all, TPB  adalah film drama-komedi fantasi, yang meskipun skalanya belum mencapai standar epik, namun magnitude pesan yang dibawa film ini setara dengan epik-fantasi macam Lord of the Rings ataupun Harry Potter. Dianggap underdog selama puluhan tahun, sukses TPB bisa dilihat dari ribuan geeky-fansnya di luar sana yang hingga kini masih setia mengutip sebagian dari dialog-dialog cerdasnya yang memang sangat quotable. Buktikan saja dengan mengucap "as you wish" di depan Bill Clinton dan anaknya Chelsea, dijamin mereka akan membalas anda dengan rentetan kutipan dialog lainnya dari TPB :D.

Sabtu, Juni 18, 2016

On the “Ghosting” Phenomenon

Those who are close to me already knew my deep penchant of suddenly disappear out of the face of the earth. Apparently in today’s digital world, where connectivity seems to be an all-time necessity, evaporating yourself out of the realm has become more and more of a phenomenon known as “ghosting”.  I exactly understand this kind of behavior, because I’ve done it a couple of times in the past. And if someone should asked me what makes me pull the ghosting act, I honestly couldn’t find a direct answer. Maybe because I am too much of a coward to admit my cowardice to face every troubles (I’ve been fleeing about); or maybe because I have a multi-layered psychological problems which I cannot pin-pointed what exactly they are; or maybe because  I actually realize all the reasons behind it, but just too ashamed to even speak it out.

And now I guess I’m getting a taste of my own medicine, by ghosted out by a guy I’ve been in ldr with for more than a year now. Experiencing being ghosted out from the perspective of a person who has been ghosting off herself is truly insightful. It made me a bit more self-aware, and in contrast to some of my female friends who’d been ghosted out by guys too, I can be calmer on approaching the problem. And in the spirit of being the object of this phenomenon, I reflected upon my flaws years ago.

Once, I had this huge crush over a girl (yes in my youth I fell for a female friend) which I kept by myself for years—resulting in a numbers of cheesy-silly poems. During my attraction to her, we kept being good friends even after she moved out of town following her husband’s workplace. But in the sixth year of our friendship, I pull out my ghosting act. No, not because I wanted to put a distance from her, or to be in a healthier mental state—because I cannot have her. It’s just something I do frequently: having my routine crumbled because of my moody tendency, and when I faced off with a dead end concerning an issue (could be work-related, family troubles, romance or friendship, hell even an internal conflict), I’ll shut myself out, and just ignore my social sphere for quite some times; and on this occasion, her included.

I remember, she  sent me an imported copy of one of Jostein Gaarder’s book (my favorite writer at the time), perhaps hoping to finally reached out to me and finding out why am I avoiding her. But… I kept ghosting her out. My, how I feel so so bad now, remembering it. It is not her fault that I was depressed at the time, but during this phase, I tend to just ignored everyone out, including her, someone whom I placed in a highest regard at that time. And this has done a permanent damage now. Even though still civil to each other, we’re not buddies anymore L.

I’m still doing this ghosting act even today. But lesser and lesser in scale and intensity over the year. A numbers of effort had been made, including consulted to a psychiatrist (which I skeptically distrusted) and  ended in a deduction that I might suffer from bipolar. I hated the medication, I hated the consultations, and I felt that they might made a false diagnosis. I tried to self-researched hoping to finally overcome this habit of mine. And to avoid denials and over-analysis, I tried to be blunt and completely honest with myself, it ended up in a very simple keywords: impulsiveness and chronic procrastination, coupled with a sense of self-worth and ego. Keywords I am now openly trying to have grasp upon and overcome with.

I believe in Occam’s razor adage: “among competing hypotheses, the one with the fewest assumptions should be selected.” I’ve opt for the simplest answer to my own trouble, for I believe I’ve sorted out all the far-fetched probabilities and assumptions.  Yet in the multitude elements involved in another person’s psycho-socio-cultural maps, there are countless numbers of problems that could be happened; and in the sea of multiple assumptions, one is best to not assume at all.

And so, instead of thinking of the myriad probabilities about why this guy ghosting out on me, I shan’t draw any conclusion at all. And in the spirit of being self-reflected and insightful, I need to realize that all the icky feeling of being ignored, disregarded etc. has somehow befell upon those whom I’ve been ghosting off too all those years behind J. Yep “you shouldn’t  judge a man until you’ve walked two moons in in his moccasins.” And the proverb should be applicable for the people I've disregard and also to this guy who've been ghosting me out.

Rabu, Juni 01, 2016

Bewbies

One single outing to a public event, and I can count more than enough  male's gazes went south to the tender area of my chest. Perhaps it was my tight t-shirt that came into their attention, or perhaps it was just my new-found observance upon this matter, because apparently all men's gaze will naturally shifted to that area of our body. Be it those superior to us or an office boy at work; be it those old geezers or a hormonal teenagers; be it a goody two shoes and pious gentleman or an openly witty perverts. Valar boobsulis, all men must adore breast.

It is said that human male are the only mammal who fixated on two bulges of fat drooping on their counterpart-gender’s chest. Why are they so mesmerized by female breasts? I suspected an evolutionary reasons are behind this. But what caused it, really?

From the view of evolutionary biology, it has something to do with male selection of a healthier mate to bear their progeny. Women store fat in their breast, and fat is an indication of a healthy mammal, so men's penchant for breasts is an implication of a mechanical pull for something fertile and healthy. But it's only logical to see the matter in this reasoning: if men want a higher probability to get a healthy offspring, why not procreate with as much as a female there is, because let's face it, mother nature had meticulously build our body to enjoy the procreation process, and sperm is relatively unlimited. So it would only logical for males to procreate with as much females--to make sure the extension of his offspring--without having to be picky of what would his mate be like.

Well let's see this from another perspective, this time from the neuro-biology point of view. Deep inside your ancient memories as an infant, your penchant for breasts has already been shaped as early as your first bonding with your mom's boobies. In order to make a strong bond and give a necessary nutrition for her baby, a hormone called oxytocin was released when baby first consume her mother's milk. Oxytocin is a substance responsible in social situations, such as in pair bonding, sex, and those situations incorporating warm feelings we frequently identifies as love. According to Wikipedia, oxytocin evokes feelings of contentment, reductions in anxiety, and feelings of calmness and security in the company of our mate.

It is said that first-primal experiences has a powerful implication physically and psychologically. So in the matter of maternal bonding between a mother and her baby, this memory must be rooted strongly in our psyche. I believe this has a lot to do with men fascination to women breasts. They are a reminder of the first happy-drug they consume in their first infant days; a memory of the strongest pair-bond ever: a bond between a mother  and her progeny. Women won't have the same magnitude of fascination, because those two bulges stuck on our chest ever since we reach puberty. 

Understanding this would give a different light to a stereo typical sneers about men's fondness to female breasts. Not that women should fling their boobs freely to relief male's perverted thirst, but at least we can understand that the biological reason behind the profanity is really not as profane as we generally thought. Quoting an article over the net: it (men penchant's for women breasts) is an unconscious evolutionary drive prompting men to activate powerful bonding circuits that help create a loving, nurturing bond.