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Radit & Jani

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Teatro Nuovo Giovanni da Udine
Monday, April 27, time 4.00 pm
Radit & Jani is a film which starts off conventionally, in its own way, but then it builds up the tension and pathos until it reaches its moving finale. Upon reflection, this story, about an amour fou in a setting of sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll follows a sequence which the audience might find predictable, but many of the elements employed by the director Upi require a dash of courage and originality in the Indonesian context. The problem of drug addiction, in particular, is portrayed in a realistic manner and, unusually, without using a facile, moralistic approach. This confirms that the director is capable of treating this pressing and controversial topic with a serious touch, also evident in her episode in Chants Of Lotus.

The main characters of the film, Radit (Vino G. Bastian) and Jani (played by the beautiful Fahrani), form the most unconventional happy couple seen in Indonesian cinema in recent years. With her breathtaking miniskirts and knee-high boots and his leather jackets and tattoos, not to speak of their tendency to shoplift and burglary, they are light-years away from the saccharine teenage couples usually seen in cinta movies. Radit and Jani have already reached adulthood, and are legally married too, but they have maintained their uncontrollably savage personalities which make them social outcasts. This is perfectly illustrated by the way we are introduced to the protagonists: they say to each other, “What do the others know about us?”, “They think that we won’t last”, “We can’t afford a house, a car or nice clothes, but we can make our own happiness” - and then we see them in action immediately afterwards, stealing from a small supermarket. The two of them daydream about escaping to Mexico, but in reality, they don’t even have the money to pay rent or take care of their utility bills - Jani has just lost her job because of Radit’s jealous nature, while he, drug-fuelled, has been ousted from a band because of his lack of contribution. They are forced to ask for help from Jani’s family, who has never approved of Radit. Events come to a head, however, when Jani discovers that she is pregnant…

From that moment on, Upi adopts a resolutely melodramatic tone, showing the couple’s desperate attempts to keep their relationship alive, and the hot-blooded Radit who goes to extreme lengths in order to protect his beloved wife and the child that she is carrying. In what is a remarkable performance by Vino G. Bastian, this change in Radit’s personality is especially inspired: at the beginning, Radit is an unpleasant and antisocial delinquent, prone to jealous rages, but during the course of the film, he slowly wins over the audience, when he goes through the painful journey of growing up, which brings him to admit his shortcomings. Farhani’s performance is also intense and versatile - her Jani goes from being mouthy and aggressive to someone who is devoted and has a sense of responsibility. Throughout this long journey of discovery, Upi scatters unexpectedly tender, intimate moments, showing, to name an example, the two lovers playing a game where they name great rock guitarists in order to distract themselves from their hunger. Rock ‘n’ roll is a theme which runs through both this film and Upi’s previous film, the acclaimed Reality, Love And Rock ‘N’ Roll (2006): she shows her rock ‘n’ roll credentials as a director, not through the use of direct references to the world of music, but through the energy, vitality and her use of mise-en-scene. Radit & Jani, whose screenplay she also wrote, confirms her status as an auteur, making her one of the most interesting voices in contemporary Indonesian cinema. Given Radit & Jani’s sad ending, no doubt the audience at Udine will not forget her name either!
Paolo Bertolin
FILM DETAILS
Film director: 
Upi
Year: 
2008
Running time: 
110'
Country: 
Indonesia
 

Photogallery

Radit & Jani1 Radit & Jani2
Radit & Jani3 Radit & Jani4
 

Trailer

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