Sunday, October 15, 2006

Maya Raya Daya : Woman's Beauty Not Always Woman's Power

I was fortunated enough to watching four short movies about Indonesia's women in national televison few weeks ago. The projects were part of campaign program by one of the bigest beauty product bringing a theme "Your Beauty is Your Power"

The four were great and enpowering -if that the producers wants, but for my view I choose the third movie : Maya Raya Daya. For under 10 minutes this movie gave a strong massage about Indonesia women. I'm rather say this movie is disturbing, brutally honest and dilligently done.

The story in this movie about three women in different time setting. Maya is a pretty girl who bringing up among feodal high caste Javanese family in 18th century. The tradition said that she will marry a noble man from same caste of her's -a man that already married with three kids. Then she faced the fact that she obliged to say nothing for what she feeling.

Then time changed into 1945's when Indonesia declared it's independence from Dutch and Japanese colonialsm. An attractive girl named Raya was facing reality that she can not joint her friends in Indonesian political movement which mushroomed during World War II. She was proposed to marry againts her will. She began experiencing physical abused that led her into desperation. She couldn't do anything only whispering 'tidak' (No) with a painful tone.

The lady number three is Daya -a girl who lives in present time. Again the physical abuse were brought up into light, even now we have got clear picture about what the movie try to say. Yes the pictures there were disturbing, you will watching her pretty face became in ruins with fist mark. You will see how she changed from a bubbly young lady into a vulnerable woman.

I must to say that after watching this short movie I remembered The Hours (2002) -a great movie about three women which received tremendous critics and awards. The pattern was the same that the ladies separated by time although they connected by a piece of Mrs Dalloway's novel. In this movie Nicole Kidman granted her first Oscar as writer Virginia Wolf who portrayed in mental instability then lead her in suicide.

Maya Raya Daya project produced by a high acclaimed Indonesia woman's director Mira Lesmana. She's been producing great numbers of movies since Indonesia struggling with their own audiences. While Nan Achnas wrote the script the three characters on the movie done beautifully by a young actress Luna Maya.

I loves the cinematography of Maya Raya Daya which containing symbolic accounts of the events. From the savanna field into cold floor of traditional javanese's house. The camera recorded Luna Maya acts with several different moments of situation led you into the substantial changing.

The music was great with a solo piano in the background just filling atmosphere sort of emptiness. The only thing that I found little bit annoying was the sound which being taken direct from the actress's source. I can hear buzzing of traffic when I was hoping there was only Luna Maya's voice. I knew that this is technically not difficult to 'extract' the unwanted background sound. Anyway I like the way they chose a contemporary themes rather than a traditional rhythm (say javanese gamelan). It was a right decision.

I also praised Mira and Nan to avoid religious issue in this story. I knew it was hard not to put circumstances in the movie but by disguising behind cultural issue I have to admit it is a great escape. Even for me who grew up in Javanese family I can understand the pressure of the culture-based of marriage or relationship.By putting on the screen it's also give a strong impression that as a woman beauty means a power to make a decision, to make a choice.

It's a power of strong will to pass the cultural burden that engraved Indonesian woman not to speak about domestic violence. It's not about domestic anymore, it's about a crime.



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