The Price of Peace: A Review of Nguyen Phan Quang Binh’s ‘The Floating Lives’ by Tini Ngatini

I recently came across a Vietnamese film, The Floating Lives (Canh Dong Bat Tan), which was released in 2010 by Nguyen Phan Quang Binh. Although this film is a few years old, the issues that the director addresses still feel fresh and progressive from my perspective as an Indonesian woman who teaches courses on women, gender, sexuality and religion. The plot follows the life of man referred to as Mr. Vo, a severely broken-hearted man whose wife has left him for reasons the film does not reveal. Fate has left him a single parent and a duck farmer. By the … Continue reading The Price of Peace: A Review of Nguyen Phan Quang Binh’s ‘The Floating Lives’ by Tini Ngatini

Frank is Not a Man: A Reading of the Sam Mendes Film ‘Revolutionary Road’ by Tini Ngatini

Have you seen Sam Mendes’ 2008 film ‘Revolutionary Road’? What does “Revolutionary Road” actually mean? And what happens if you do decide on going down that road? Where will it lead you?   Revolutionary Road explores these questions through following the journey of a young couple, April and Frank Wheeler. The “Revolutionary Road” is simply a road to being a “Man” which supposedly leads to a meaningful and happy life.  In the film, being that Man means living up to an anthropocentric view of mankind defined as “…the most valuable and wonderful thing in the world….[a being] who is somehow … Continue reading Frank is Not a Man: A Reading of the Sam Mendes Film ‘Revolutionary Road’ by Tini Ngatini

The Archaic and “Masculine” Beauty: A Review of the Film ‘White Silk Dress’ (Áo lụa Hà Đông) by Tini Ngatini

“My mother said a white silk dress is a symbol of Vietnamese women’s immense suffering as well as their generosity. Through traumatic hardship, through horrific destruction caused by countless wars, the Vietnamese white silk dress still maintains its beauty. The beauty of a Vietnamese woman cannot be characterized by white skin, rosy cheeks and red lips; but by the elegant laps of a white silk dress.”   Embedded in the above closing statement from the film White Silk Dress  (Áo lụa Hà Đông) is an illustration of how sacrifice, which Keenan said in the Question of Sacrifice, is understood in our … Continue reading The Archaic and “Masculine” Beauty: A Review of the Film ‘White Silk Dress’ (Áo lụa Hà Đông) by Tini Ngatini

Shutu Stays with You by Anindita Bhattacharya

Trigger warning: suicide, sexual violence As a seven-year-old, one of the poems I loved reading and performing at elocution competitions was Rabindranath Tagore’s Puratan Vritto (The Old Slave). I do not know why it felt so easy to remember it, maybe because I realized irrespective of all the mechanical readings for the sake of memorizing, every time I reached the end of the poem, I had tears in my eyes and the process never felt monotonous or cumbersome. It felt cathartic. My mother would be surprised to see that the poem touched such a chord with me, and she would … Continue reading Shutu Stays with You by Anindita Bhattacharya