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Quarantine Tales has been one of Indonesia’s best omnibuses in recent years. In fact, of the five directors who handled the five 87-minute fill segments, only Ifa Isfansyah had experience working on feature films. Jason Iskandar, Sidharta Tata, and Aco Tenriyagelli are better known in the short film scene, while as we all know, Dian Sastrowardoyo has just made her debut. Top Movie Site

The reason Quarantine Tales stands out from its peers is that the comparison of the quality of each segment tends to be balanced, so that the dynamic is maintained consistently. Besides being directed, Nougat was also written by Dian Sastrowardoyo himself, opening Quarantine Tales through the story of three sisters, who grew up together, but as they got older, their relationship became more tenuous, and only communicated via video calls.

Ubay (Marissa Anita) stays away from her two younger siblings after marrying a man who controls her life, the youngest Deno (Faradina Mufti) is finishing college, while Ajeng (Adinia Wirasti), who still lives in their late parents’ house, is a figure trying to unite his family . It’s no surprise that I mention that the three actresses are the main movers of Nougat. Adinia who is more quiet, Faradina who is cheerful, and Marissa who quickly gets hot, made me willing to sit for hours listening to the chat of the three. In the realm of writing, rather than taking a pandemic background, Dian cleverly chose to create comparisons. Even without COVID, we are already distant.

Prankster as the second segment is the weakest. The story of a “Youtuber prank” named Didit Iseng (Roy Sungkono) who is doing a live broadcast with Aurel (Windy Apsari), the guest star, is actually not bad, it’s just filled with the cliche of the revenge horror / thriller genre. The script made by the director, Jason Iskandar, needs to provide a smarter plan of revenge for his character, which doesn’t make him appear “digging his own grave”. At least, the audience’s latent desire to punish the real world pranksters was able to be represented by Jason. Best Movie

The Cook Book segment, which was written by Ifa Isfansyah and Ahmad Aditya, followed later. Narrating the efforts of Chef Halim (Verdi Solaiman) to write a recipe book in the middle of a quarantine period, the Cook Book inserts one of the nation’s tragedies, in a narrative about longing for “ties”. In the midst of loneliness due to quarantine, that feeling strengthens, and we begin to miss our loved ones, including those who have left us. The Cook Book presents a bitterness that many viewers can understand.

Aco Tenriyagelli’s Happy Girls Don’t Cry is my favorite segment. Sri Arawinda Kirana plays Adin, a teenage girl whose family is plagued by continuous problems due to COVID. His younger brother (Muzakki Ramdhan) has just died, while his parents (played by Teuku Rifnu Wikana and Marissa Anita) are deeply in debt. Adin dreams of winning a giveaway from his favorite YouTuber to improve the family’s financial condition. But when that dream came true, a bigger problem approached.

Aco presents a sharp and intriguing satire about the exploitation of poverty on social media, at a time when people are hoping to get “shock money”. The insinuation was fair, because Aco flicked all parties, both rich and poor. You’ll say, “Ah, this segment is on A’s side”, then, “Oh, it turns out B”, before finally realizing, neither has Happy Girls Don’t Cry. There is no laughter that is not accompanied by pain in this segment.

To conclude is Sidharta Tata’s The Protocol, where a man (Abdurrahman Arif) is confused, when he finds out that his traveling companion, Icuk (Kukuh Prasetya), died in a car after showing symptoms of COVID. Next, we are shown ridiculous scenes when the protagonist is confused, how to take care of his friend’s body. The Protocol is so effective at provoking laughter in the first minutes, but when humor of a type is repeated over and over, its power slowly fades. It is not an extraordinary ending, at least this segment successfully ends a film about difficult times with happy laughter. Movie Review

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