by Makbul Mubarak
Indonesia / Singapore
Open Doors Hub | Selected project 2019
by Makbul Mubarak
Indonesia / Singapore
After his family get dissolved, Rakib (18) is abandoned to housekeep an aristocratic mansion that belongs to a military family to whom his family had served for centuries.
When Purna (62), a retired military general and the legal heir of the mansion comes home to run for the mayoral election, Rakib realizes he has a new purpose: serving Purna. In exchange, Purna gives Rakib what a father could give a son best: confidence.
One day, Purna finds out that one of his campaign billboards is missing. He takes this as personal offense. Rakib offers help to find the culprit.
Like a loyal dog, Rakib roams about the village and found the culprit: a high school boy named Agus. Rakib huddles Agus to Purna to apologise. But, the apology goes off track. Purna beats Agus which leads to his death. Dismayed, Purna encourages Rakib to keep cool instead.
Rakib's journey turns into a haunting guilt. He wants to quit the job, but Purna forbids him. He tries to escape abroad with the help from a smuggler, but Purna finds out.
Being sucked into a wormhole, Rakib contemplates on his fate. He realizes that in order to match a monster, he needs to be a monster himself.
During the Indonesian military dictatorship, my father was a teacher at a state-owned school in our village. He only said yes to one thing: the government. I used to hate him because he was a father of all work and no fun. One time, he forced me to go to a concert. I was furious at him because I wanted to stay home and watch my favorite cartoon. He even bought me a toy, but still couldn’t ease me.
It's not until twenty years later when I found out from my mom that my father was monitored by the government. He took me to the concert only because he had to. The government required him to come with family member as the concert was a birthday commemoration of the government's ruling party. Since my mom was on pregnancy leave, he took me instead.
Up until now, my father always avoids the questions I asked regarding his life during that time. For him, there’s nothing to talk about since it’s all in the past.
It amazes me that even seventeen years after the collapse of the military dictatorship, fear still lurks in my father’s heart. It guides him to deny things, to pretend that whatever happened shouldn’t be brought up because "it didn't matter."
On the contrary, I don’t want to forget since my childhood memories with him matter. I want to know why things happened. What did the monsters do to him?
We are born into a world of monsters who control us. These monsters could be cultures, rules, schools, bad governments, bad parents, chauvinists, etc. It’s possible to overrule these monsters, but a lot of things have to be sacrificed. We might have to try becoming the monster itself in order to match them. To see things from their perspective and look what happens.
An intense coming of age suspense sets in a mountainous village. The camera will be loyal to the characters. Colors are analogous. Environments will be visualized through blurs and visceral sound design. Houses are dominant settings to represent the hierarchy between characters. The editing is careful and precise with forced and firm timing. Musical score will be used only minimally through the presence of vague ambient music. Powerful Purna will dominate the space and the weaker Rakib will stand there like a prey, full of anticipation. One of those stagings is full of intensity: Purna sits still while examines Rakib taking a shower.
Script is on its 10th draft (being developed at SEAFIC); co-producer Potocol will apply for Singapore public fund; in Open Doors, we are expecting to find European co-producers & sales agents.
Estimated running time
Jeremy Chua, POTOCOL, Singapore