Directed by: Adam Taufiq Suharto
Written by: Adam Taufiq Suharto
Starring: Luqman Nasaruddin, Sadiq M. Jamil
The chair creaks ominously as an editor fidgets while going through one of the videos sent to him. A brief shot of four sticky notes informs us about his deadlines. His desktop wallpaper screams “GET SHIT DONE” to keep him motivated for his work. That doesn’t prevent him from taking a break from his computer screen. However, as soon as he gets comfortable lying on his bed in peace, a politician’s voice from a video hits his consciousness with a stick. What does he say? The poor are poor because they are not productive. This touches the editor’s “productive juice,” and he sits again to continue his work on the video. He does not plan on being poor in this life.
It’s hard to pack Adam Taufiq Suharto’s Gelora in a specific genre when it refuses to stay in the same lane. You think it’s about this editor and his work, but when he notices “something” in the video, Gelora turns into a thriller. Suharto smartly keeps this “something” blur, allowing us to fill in the blanks with every horrid detail possible. The black-and-white aesthetic adds to the mystery. This color palette also puts style in normal activities like smoke escaping from the tip of a cigarette.
Suharto is a visual storyteller. During the thriller portion, we watch a man in a suit buried under the weight of files and folders. Is he conveying that the corporate employees don’t create anything - to steal the word from the politician - productive? Most likely. Suharto merges the clock, and the editor in one frame to either indicate how time-consuming video editing is or to bring out the corporateness in the editor’s work (they too sweat in front of their computers and have to complete the task before a particular time).
Gelora is adapted from a short story named Footage, which according to an interview, was also written by Suharto himself. In this short film, the director goes meta and references his writing by inserting the pages (at least the title page) on the floor of the editor’s house. Gelora becomes distracting when it employs ostentatious tricks like the moment where a shot of the waves is permeated over the editor’s face as he wrestles to make a decision. It’s a bit too much. Since we are on the waves. Suharto could have surrendered to the force of the water (go for a cliché), but he fights it and tries swimming in the opposite direction (went for something different). Gelora is not without its flaws, yet it deserves a look.