“When you read this book, you will find yourself trapped in layer or stage of story like Inception. You have to guess where the layer you are in.”



I judged the book by its cover. I am simply attracted to white, simple, and thin line picture cover book. So when I went to Toko Gunung Agung and saw this book on the fiction shelf, I grabbed and bought it. J. Angin. Never heard the author’s name before. But I believe that the book is promising with kind of story that I like; short and not cliche. Then I guess I chose the right book, because J. Angin gives readers a series of short story that related each other. The character “Aku” in this story could be a woman or man, depends on the perception of the reader. This woman and man have their own life story in the form of history, imagination, and memories. When you read this book, you will find yourself trapped in layer or stage of story like Inception. You have to guess where…

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The Ambassador (2011)

2012 Robert Festival – Winner Best Documentary.

US release date: August 31

Do you want to be a fake Liberian diplomat in Central African Republic? There are people who actually can arrange that for you and here is Mads Brügger, a Danish journalist, doing it for real, secret-camming and not-so-secretly camming all his experiment for your enjoyment. It includes giving red wines party to a pygmy tribe, giving red wines to pygmy tribe’s children, and in general, giving lots of real money, and lots of false hopes.
It’s up to you to believe, or not believing this documentary stunt, but at least it does prove to you one thing: the world is full of liars.

My Rating: 6/10

The Tall Man

US release date: August 31

A quite unique mystery movie with a small tribute to The Shining that will try to surprise you with a very improbable, if not downright impossible scenario and got too carried away by its own good-natured big message, just like its main characters.
If only the real world were that simple.

My Rating: 5/10

Alanis Morissette: ‘Havoc and Bright Lights’

Release date: August 28

01. Guardian
02. Woman Down
03. Til You
04. Celebrity
05. Empathy
06. Lens
07. Spiral
08. Numb
09. Havoc
10. Win and Win
11. Receive
12. Edge of Evolution

My favorite tune: Havoc

Alanis has travelled so far from ‘the Canadian Debbie Gibson’, to alt-music angst queen, to this subdued, matured state. But she still can write decent listenable songs (with a lot of thank-yous in it).
Havoc and Bright Lights is a more emotionally levelled, less heartbreak album with similar concept and similar sound to Flavors of Entanglement, another ‘economical’ recording effort with programmed drum machine and synth electric guitars. It was a logical choice in the sales downtrend era back in 2008, and a very logical choice now four years later when Alanis is officialy not an A-list major label artist anymore. And economical certainly doesn’t mean crap.

My Rating: 6/10

Swans: ‘The Seer’

Release date: August 28

CD 1:
01. Lunacy
02. Mother Of The World
03. The Wolf
04. The Seer
05. The Seer Returns
06. 93 Ave. B Blues
07. The Daughter Brings The Water
CD 2:
01. Song For A Warrior
02. Avatar
03. A Piece Of The Sky
04. The Apostate

My favorite tune: The Seer

The overtly experimental Swans is back with their twelfth album, and it’s like an intense mystery thriller film score mixed with operatic crooner version of Sonic Youth, The Doors, The Melvins, and John Zorn from beyond.
Their songs ranging from 1 minute 37 seconds vocal with no music to eight-minutees with four-minute intros, and twenty-minutees to half-hour improvisational soundscapes and gibberish epics. You will be perplexed. But you won’t regret a single minute listening to it!

My Rating: 8/10

2012 Man Booker Prize: Communion Town

Communion Town, by Sam Thompson

I spent the whole night going over those words. I took a late run to calm down. Maybe it doesn’t hurt to be reminded now and then that the city can clobber you whenever it likes, but the odd thing, it occurred to me as I pushed myself forward with my head bowed under the streetlamps, tarmac filling my vision and grit scraping between my soles and the pavement, was that just for a moment I had been on the side of the malcontents. As I had walked away I’d been half-mad with resentment. That can’t be right, can it?
I ran through the small streets around my place, encountering cars, dark and crouched with their headlights up, waiting, their intentions obscure. It was one of those stifling nights when the lamps only smear the murk and, run as I might, my past opened up underneath my feet: I found my legs working in emptiness and I drifted like a balloonist over the depth of my personal time, seeing straight down to the bottom. Long ago, I felt, I had been the victim of some fleeting violence, of no great importance to the perpetrator but enough to leave me bent and scarred, sculpted casually into what, now, I’d always be.

Communion Town is more like a city than a town, somewhere, anywhere, in the western hemisphere. You will learn much but not enough about this unreal yet not entirely unfamiliar place, its architecture, its music and its people in ten chapters from ten different perspectives: an unnamed man, an unnamed self-thought musician, a boy, a private detective named Hal Moody, a butcher, two girls named Dawn and Andie, a detective assistant named Cassandra Byrd, an unnamed university administrator, a bar guest, and finally, a guy named Simon.

‘What kind of city is it,’ he asked, ‘where we sit here and gobble up this stuff, then shake our heads and do nothing? And tomorrow we buy the paper again for more. How do we explain it to ourselves? Tell ourselves we’re not responsible? Doing nothing has its own cost.’

It can be any city or any town really. Floating in the sand of time. Ageless.
While this context can be a strength, it’s also becomes Communion Town‘s weakness. Most of the stories really could happen literally anywhere, everywhere, town or no town. Sam Thompson could have just renamed and reframed it as ‘London’, ‘Oxford’, or even ‘Chicago’; and it could as well be five, or fifteen, or even twenty stories, without much difference to the readers.

Check out my other 2012 Man Booker Prize longlist reviews:
Bring Up the Bodies
The Teleportation Accident
The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry

Les Neiges du Kilimandjaro (2011)

2012 Étoile d’Or – Winner Best Female Newcomer.
2011 Valladolid International Film Festival – Winners Audience Award, Silver Spike Best Film.

Michel, a voluntary-forced-retired shipyard worker union hero, a big Spider-Man fan, loving husband, father and grandfather, robbed at gunpoint in his own house by two masked men.
With a very big luck, a screenwriter’s luck, he’s able to trace one of the criminal; only to find that the perpetrator is Christophe, his fellow recently laid off worker, a young ‘low-class’ man fighting for family survival by, yes, mugging ‘middle-class’ people, old retirees with good pension money, like Michel himself.
A crime is a crime no matter who you are, but Guédiguian tries to instill this dilemma as Michel and his big ‘socialist’ idealism begins to sympathize with Christophe and, alas, even slightly justifying the crime as an understandable socio-economic problem.
That somehow also happens to Michel’s wife Marie-Claire. She also, out of nowhere, begins to sympathize with the fate of Christophe’s abandoned little brothers, secretly taking care of them behind her husband’s back; but later comments lightly on her daughter’s marital trouble: “Flo, it’s your life. You have to deal with it.”
People don’t become ‘heroes’ by saving other people’s children even when they’re wrong, Monsieur Guédiguian. You become a hero by LISTENING to your own children, EVEN when you think they’re wrong.
And YES, Joe Cocker song is better than crappy French pop songs.

My Rating: 5/10