Thursday, September 17, 2009

Jermal (2009)

Title : Jermal
Director : Ravi Bharwani,Rayya Makarim,Orlow Seunke
Genre : Adventure | Drama | Family
Cast : Iqbal S. Manurung,Didi Petet,Yayu A.W. Unru,Rudi Hartono
See : Trailer

Synopsis :
Jaya (12) just lost his mother and is immediately delivered to the only member of his family who is alive, his father, Johar (48). Johar works in the restricted and remote area of the jermal where hard labour and isolation is the daily routine. A dark past hovers over Johar that forbids him to return to land. Exactly 12 years ago, Johar learnt that his wife was unfaithful, and so assaulted the man she was having an affair with and left him for dead. Johar will surely be arrested if he ever returns to land. Jaya arrives on the jermal by boat only to be immediately rejected by Johar who s shocked by the information that Jaya is his son. Fully aware that he cannot return to land to bring the boy back, Johar is forced to accept Jaya as a worker on the jermal.

Coming to terms with the news, both man and boy don’t know how to manage their newly found situation.

Jaya tries to blend into the crowd of other boys on the jermal, but fitting in is an arduous task.

With his boyish looks and schoolboy demeanour, he is a visible contrast to the sun-drenched hard working boys. Jaya spends the day working hard and adjusting to the harsh and new environment while secretly desiring the approval of his father. Instead, Johar completely denies that he has a son, even when provoked by his friend, the cook, Bandi (45). The situation is further aggravated by the boys who
taunt and bully Jaya to no end.

Jaya can’t seem to adjust quickly enough to his new environment, and Johar is no help. By denying the fact that he has a son, Johar destroys Jaya’s expectation of ever finding a haven he has hoped and longed for. Feeling dejected, Jaya attempts to escape, but fails. He is brought back to the jermal and is punished. The boys are taken aback by Jaya’s bold move and gains a little bit more respect from them.

Life on the jermal continues, but this time Jaya decides to take fate into his own hands. He gives up hope on being accepted by his father and concentrates on surviving on the jermal instead. Jaya learns the skills and attitudes needed to survive on the jermal. Jaya increasingly becomes like the other boys: tough, rough—a survivor. Johar observes the change in Jaya, and gradually opens up to the past
through letters from his wife that he never opened before.

Faced by remnants of the past that one cannot escape, as well as the unrelenting limited space of a location such as the jermal, Johar tries to make amends by slowly opening up and showing initiative to get to know his son. Jaya, however, has become increasingly numb emotionally, losing the sensitivity and warmth that he had before.

Eventually, Jaya’s survival efforts go beyond boundaries. His character gets harsher and harder, and it finally culminates into a big fight, where Jaya beats another boy to a pulp. Johar is reminded of his past and sees history repeating itself. Johar reveals his dark secret from the past, and Jaya breaks down realizing what he has become.

Johar recognizes that Jaya’s place is not at the jermal and that the boy has the potential to be much more than what he is now. Johar makes a plan to leave the jermal so Jaya can go back to school, but Jaya says that Johar should not think about such things, especially with the knowledge that he will be captured once he reaches land. Nevertheless, Johar insists that they leave. He is tired of hiding and
he wants to do something for his only son.

Johar accepts his past, while ignoring all the risks that come with it. In the end, man and boy set for land not as strangers, but as father and son.

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Credited to barrock

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