I believe it’s not easy to make people laugh. Laughing needs context, as well as reference. The first time I read the novel, I was struck by how genius @adhityamulya combines the jomblo’s (single person) melancholic mind context and phenomenon at that time. I think the phenomenon is quite relevant in today’s context, that is “Who we are (in this country)?”, particularly within the context of power relation among boys, boys and girls, and their social environment (culture).
The film’s previous version clearly depicts the relation. Agus Gurniwa (Sundanese boy, living under his older sister’s domination, is in constant hesitation), Doni (Jakartan, independent, yet is afraid of making commitment with woman), Olip (Acehnese, loner, having silent obsession towards Asri – the girl he loves), and Bimo (Javanese, experiencing multiple rejections from women). In this reboot version, I keep the same portrayal with some different approaches. Bimo is not a Jogjanese, but a Papuan boy. After General Election 2014 and Jakarta Governor Election 2017, native versus non-native sentiment grows stronger. My hometown, Jogja, is even affected by the sentiment. My friends from Papua feel threatened by it, as they are regarded non-native. Those who understand the context may relate to the jokes in this film.
One thing that left guilty feeling inside me when I made the previous version of Jomblo is the boy-girl power relation experienced by Agus Gurniwa and Doni. Agus (played very well by Agus Ringgo) was a boy who is afraid to build communication, which then made him to have an affair. Yet, his romantic relationship is saved and he was back to his old girlfriend. The same fate goes to Doni (played by @csugiono), a selfish playboy. In the end, he was saved when he was managed to win Asri’s heart, whereas Asri is the object of Olip’s (his best friend) affection. The romantic ending of both boys seemed to reflect my inclination towards portraying women as merely object of men’s desire for existence. Naively, I took that for granted as the nature of men. The portrayal makes me feel like I’ve done harm to Adhitya’s smart comedy. Moreover, two other boys, Bimo and Olip (played by Dennis Adheswara and Rizky Hanggono) did not get anything in the end, despite they had been harassed and positioned as women’s sub-ordinates. These boys come from Aceh and Jogja, which represents “local boys”. A film is actually allowed to present any universe to the audience. I personally prefer the universe presented as it is; fair and equal. Maybe I am too conservative. Thus, I make this Jomblo Reboot as a confession, as well as an expression of me laughing at myself while keep searching for the lifetime question: who we really are (in this lalala country)?