Jakarta. Directors Hanung Bramantyo and Ismail Basbeth toy with the heavy theme of divorce in Islam by using humor in a new comedy "Talak Tiga," or "Final Divorce," which opens in theaters on Thursday (4/2).
Starring Vino G. Bastian, Laudya Cynthia Bella and Reza Rahadian, "Talak Tiga" follows what happens when a couple wants to reconcile after the husband pronounced the third talaq (repudiation), or the final divorce, which requires the wife to marry another man before they can get back together.
Islam allows men to withdraw a divorce by pronouncing the first or second talaq, but the third repudiation is irrevocable.
Financial difficulties follow the couple after they get divorced. When Bagas, who is cast as Vino and Risa who is cast as Laudya, almost get evicted from their house, the former husband and wife decide to work on a project to earn extra income and keep the house. As they spend more time together, Bagas and Risa learn that they still love each other and want to start over. Unfortunately, because Bagas has already pronounced the final divorce in court, the couple are unable to reconcile without Risa marrying another man.
Speaking at a press conference in Jakarta last Thursday Hanung said "Talak Tiga" is meant to be a satire on the laws in Islam.
"Obviously, our message in the movie is for couples to be careful and less emotional when making decisions. I realized it is quite a heavy topic, but we made it as a comedy in the hopes that people will enjoy the movie," Hanung said.
Scriptwriters Salman Aristo and Bagus Bramanti also touched on issues of corruption that plagues the Office of Religious Affairs (KUA) throughout the film. Bagus said both directors adapted the script such that it is appropriate for the screen, including incorporating the original ending which does not involve KUA officers.
Hanung said it was important for the movie to show balance, so they also included a character who is an anti-corruption activist in the story.
"Our [message in the movie] is that we need people with a clean track record in office," Hanung said.
The movie marks the first collaboration of the two directors, who both explored the laws of Islam in their recent work. Last year, Hanung released "Hijab," a comedy about four headscarf-wearing women who struggle with their families' traditional values as they start their own shop for Muslim wear.
Ismail's "Mencari Hilal" ("The Crescent Moon") received praise in both local and international film festivals. However, the flop of "Mencari Hilal" in the local box office was a sign for Ismail to start understanding the Indonesian market better.
"We only earned 12,000 viewers for '[Mencari Hilal],' so I'm learning [how to make commercial movies] from Hanung. I spent 10 years making short films for myself. If we didn't start thinking about Indonesian movie goers [and making movies for them], who will?" Ismail said.
"Talak Tiga" opens in theaters nationwide on Thursday.