Jakarta. "Prenjak (In the Year of the Monkey)," a short film by Wregas Bhanuteja which was premiered at the Cannes Film Festival's Semaine de la Critique section, was welcomed with a full house at Kinosaurus, a new micro cinema in Kemang, South Jakarta, on Wednesday (18/05).
Starring Rosa Winenggar as Diah and Yohanes Budyambara as Jarwo, Prenjak is inspired by a cultural phenomenon that was commonly found in the town squares of Yogyakarta in the '80s and 90s. Women, in dire need of extra income, would go out at night and sell matches in darker corners of the square. The buyers, invariably men, would light the match under the women's skirts and look at their vaginas.
In a Skype session held after the screening, the director said he had been playing with the same theme for a long time. A few years ago, Wregas directed "Ciblek," a short film on the same theme that he made for his school assignment. Prenjak and ciblek are both names of birds commonly found in his hometown of Yogyakarta, and a "bird" is slang for the male genitalia. Since finishing his studies as a film major at the Jakarta Institute of the Arts, Wregas has always wanted to create a better-crafted, more advanced and realistic version of Ciblek.
The director's use of a bird name in these titles is more than just a cheeky move. Wregas claimed he wanted to turn the tables on men in Prenjak.
"It's all about seduction. I want to show that women actually have the same curiosity as men," he said.
Semaine de la Critique is set to announce the winner of the short film competition later today.
"The journey to Cannes has been amazing. Prenjak was shown along with other short films that have bigger budgets and advanced CGI. It's been an incredible experience, and I'm glad the story is not too local, too Javanese for the foreign audience to understand," he said.
Kinosaurus, located behind the Kemang branch of Aksara bookstore, will screen Prenjak again on Friday, May 27, at 4 p.m. Tickets cost Rp 35,000 per person.