Genre: Musical Comedy
Director: Nia Dinata
Cast: Shanty Paredes, Tatyana Akman, Tara Basro, Rio Dewanto, Reuben Elishama, Titiek Puspa, Richard Kyle
Runtime: 2hr 4 mins
Rating: NC16 (Some Sexual Scenes)
Official Website: http://sgiff.com/browse-all-films/three-sassy-sisters/
Opening Day: 28 November 2016 (Singapore International Film Festival 2016)
Synopsis: Three siblings help run their family’s boutique hotel on a beach in Maumere. Eldest sister Gendis (played by renowned singer Shanty Paredes) is the resident chef who is far too caught up with work to have a social life. Middle child Ella (model/actress Tara Basro), the hotel’s public relations manager, is a spotlight stealer. The youngest, Bebe (newcomer Tatyana Akman), is an English-language tutor who is always ready to lend a hand when not busy in the arms of her beau. With successful careers, the trio has no inclination to settle down, much to the dismay of their grandmother Oma. Things get complicated when Gendis has a chance encounter with a dashing gentleman who happens to be a hotel guest. Spurred by this turn of events, Oma tries to get Gendis hitched in an effort to launch the sisters down the aisle.
We haven’t seen Tiga Dara, a 1957 Indonesian musical comedy film about three sisters who live with their father and grandmother. What we hear though, is that the film was a popular success which launched the careers of its stars and earned the highest box office returns of Indonesian film production company Perfini. It is also considered to be a classic of Indonesian cinema, and has themes which remain relevant to today’s Indonesian society.
That is probably why award winning director Nia Dinata has churned out a second remake (the first one was in 1980 by Djun Saptohadi) to explore freedom of expression in modern Indonesia. Oh, that, plus premarital sex and pretty clothes too.
The story sees three sisters coming together to run their family’s exquisite boutique hotel on the picturesque beach in Maumere. The eldest sister has been heartbroken before and is cautious about going into another relationship. The second sister is evidently the flirtatious one, while the youngest sister is a modern woman who is open to anything not accepted as norms. Then there is their grandmother who can’t wait to marry the three sisters off. What ensues on the island is a series of relationships and as you’d expect from a musical movie - lots of song and dance.
There is always a reason to break into a song: Shanty Paredes (playing Gendis, the eldest sister) sings about being single, Tara Basrol (portraying Ella, the second sister) croons a tune about being the woes of being middle child, while Tatyana Akman (adorable as the youngest sister) manages to keep her village school students awake by singing a song about learning English.
Running at 124 minutes, the film may be predictable but it is also enjoyable. The camera captures the awe inspiring sights and sounds of Maumere, and the screenplay by Dinata and Lucky Kuswandi has its chuckle worthy moments. The men (Rio Dewanto, Reuben Elishama and Richard Kyle) are good looking, and Indonesian veteran singer and songwriter Titiek Puspa is a hoot to watch as the sisters’ bumbling grandmother.
This is a fitting homage to Tiga Dara, which was restored and converted to 4K digital in 2015. Yes, it is a sign how things have moved on with the times.
Reviewed by John Li at the 27th Singapore International Film Festival