Bahasa Indonesia with English Subtitles
Director: Nia Dinata
Cast: Jajang C. Noer, Shanty, Dominique,
Released By: GV
Rating: M18 (Mature Content)
story talks about the polygamy in modern Indonesia, where
three woman from three different social classes and ethnic
backgrounds, conveying their passages in dealing with polygramy;
sharing a husband’s love and attention with several
Love For Share, also known by the title Berbagi
Suami, plays like a slow breath of much needed fresh air.
Whereas blockbuster Hollywood social commentary films like
The Constant Gardener, Crash and Broken Flowers with stark,
direct portrayals of the issues at hand, Love For Share opts
instead for a soft, subtle presentation. While the former
were the forceful voice of a disciplinarian father, Dinata’s
Love For Share admonishes Indonesian society’s hidden
frailties with the gentle persuasion of a caring and ultimately
Polygamy, marriage and relationships form the central themes
of the three intertwined stories and Dinata successfully presents
them with a reserved, soothing pace in which the characters
themselves carry the film with nuances and emotional evocations
that form the key focus of the movie. Absent are the long,
winding plots peppered with shocking twists and heart-wrenching
tragedies befalling protagonists. The three main characters
carry themselves with quiet, admirable dignity.
the gynaecologist, inspires her son Nadim to love his father,
despite his infidelity, (which they refer to as “surprises”,
surprises that eventually surprise them no more) through her
unrelenting submission and respect, oft-quoting the Koran
as her guide. Watch for excellent performances by Jajang C.
Noer as Salma, and the invariably charming son Nadim; good-naturedly
cynical about his dad while at the same time caring for him
with no restraint, showing his compassionate heart as a volunteer
for relief trips in Aceh.
The first tale could go on for a full feature length by itself.
Love For Share was unfortunately let down by what seemed like
a really long stringing together of three movies which individually
end almost completely before the next one begins. The opening
scene was a disappointment: lackadaisically shot, a bedroom
conversation between Salma and a young Nadim between which
there was no chemistry at all, a horribly injustice to the
excellent story-telling that followed.
Director Dinata may have possibly spoken deeply to the women
watching the film, those of whom suffer similar plights. The
male characters in the movie carried their roles well, showing
the at times twisted desires and priorities in their lives
without coming across as demons that preyed on their women.
Pak Haji, the politician husband of Salma, carries off his
muddle-headed and harmlessly confused character to skilled
perfection, often a joy to watch. There is little overt lust
in his character, just an inescapable desire for other women
unfortunately stoked by religious allowance of polygamy.
The same should not be said for Pak Lik, a sexually overcharged
small-time driver who tricks village girl Siti, played by
ex MTV VJ Shanty. The film eventually degenerates into a back
alley expose of sorts, as Siti is made his wife to “serve
him” on nights when he so desired her. Ming, the voluptuous
Chinese waitress, taints the movie’s potentially powerful
social and religious overtones with her overtly strong sex
kitten persona. By then, the film’s thematic value had
been well used up and trundling flat-footedly towards the
Love For Share is the right film for casual film aficionados
that appreciate a honest, meaningful film that addresses social
and cultural issues without entering the intellectually argumentative
territory. It avoids being preachy, and its characters’
often passive, realistic portrayal of life in the city of
Jakarta achieves a wonderfully dreamy atmosphere at times.
The soundtrack is sufficiently adequate, complimenting Dinata’s
work without unnecessarily drawing the audience’s attention
away from the movie’s visuals.
Lazy Friday evenings after a long, quiet week would be a good
time for this film. You’ll leave the cinema feeling
gently awakened to the bare-bone issues of life in these spiritually
and religiously fatigued parts of Jakarta.
Review by Daniel Lim