In ARKIPEL 2017 - Penal Colony, Film Show, International Competition, News
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Perempuan dan Dunia yang Saling Bernegosiasi Lewat Filem

Perempuan punya dua sisi yang kontradiktif di hadapan dunia, setidaknya ini pandangan saya pribadi saja. Di satu sisi, ia dianggap lemah, maka sampai harus diberikan tempat dan perlindungan spesial. Katakanlah seperti ruang khusus perempuan di Commuter Line dan Transjakarta. Namun, di satu sisi ia dianggap superior sehingga sampai ada istilah “perempuan selalu benar”. Sangat, sangat kontradiktif. Pun sebagai perempuan, saya sering kali menyadari bahwa wacana tentang perempuan, tentang diri saya, dibangun oleh orang lain dan lingkungan sekitar saya. Begitu banyak batasan-batasan yang dilekatkan pada perempuan, contohnya seperti harus menjaga sopan santun, tetap lemah lembut, dll. Perempuan dan gambaran terhadap dirinya sendiri, seolah-olah sudah dikonstruksi oleh dunia. Lalu, bagaimana nasib perempuan memerjuangkan wacana akan dirinya sendiri, yang dibangun dan dibuat oleh dirinya sendiri pula?

Sesaat sebelum pemutaran dimulai.

Filem, sebagai salah satu media yang bisa digunakan untuk aktivisme, memiliki peran untuk mampu membebaskan dan memberi ruang bagi perempuan untuk merebut wacana mengenai otoritas dirinya sendiri. Filem bisa membantu mengurai kesalahpahaman dan penindasan terhadap suatu kaum. Dalam sesi Kompetisi Internasional subprogram 4 ini, perempuan agaknya dengan sengaja dibingkai menjadi tema utamanya. Bertempat di Kineforum, 24 Agustus 2017, penonton diajak untuk bernegosiasi mengenai citra yang selama ini dilekatkan pada perempuan, dan membiarkan perempuan bernegosiasi juga kepada penonton, mengenai citra dan wacana dirinya. Kesempatan ini menjadi sangat baik, karena terjadi komunikasi antara dua pihak yang saling bertentangan, namun saling membutuhkan juga; perempuan dan dunia.

Menjadi transgender di Timur Tengah bagi saya menjadi hal yang sangat tidak mungkin. Saya membayangkan betapa mengerikannya dikucilkan atau diperlakukan semena-mena oleh masyarakat, atau bahkan ada hukuman yang secara khusus disusun oleh pemerintah bagi mereka. Namun, di filem I’m not A Woman karya Hossein Abbasi, saya bisa sedikit bernapas lega dan meredam ketakutan dan kejanggalan yang saya pikirkan. Mezel, seorang trans laki-laki bisa hidup secara bebas dan diterima di desanya. Keterbatasan akses informasi yang dialami oleh masyarakat di desa terpencil biasanya membuat mereka lebih intoleran. Namun, justru di desa ini, Mezel bisa hidup dengan tenang, sesuai dengan jati diri dan maskulinitasnya.

Mezel dan ketenangan hidupnya saat ini bukan berarti tanpa hambatan di awal, ketika ia memutuskan untuk menjadi laki-laki sepenuhnya. Sesuai dengan gambaran saya akan sebuah pertentangan dari keluarga, ia pun ditentang, bahkan dihukum. Rupanya, dalam upayanya untuk bernegosiasi mengenai jati dirinya, pertentangan itu nyata dan selalu ada dengan panji-panji norma dan etika.

Saya memiliki satu kecurigaan tersendiri terhadap keputusan yang diambil oleh Mezel. Kabar bahwa kehidupan perempuan di Iran dan sekitarnya itu keras dan tidak adil sudah sering kali saya dengar. Bahkan, di awal filem saja, sudah ada satu perempuan yang diwawancara dan mengatakan bahwa ia ingin dilahirkan jadi laki-laki dan bisa berenang sepuasnya di sungai dengan teman-teman yang lain. Perempuan dan isu kekerasan memang lazim di sana. Mezel sendiri, menyadari dan mengakui bahwa perempuan itu lemah dan tidak memiliki kebebasan. Rupanya, dalam usaha negosiasinya tentang jati diri maskulinitasnya, ia meminoritaskan perempuan. Tetap saja, perjuangan perempuan di Timur Tengah untuk menciptakan wacana terhadap dirinya sendiri, sepertinya, masih jauh panggang dari api.

Filem kedua sangat menghibur buat saya. Filemnya berupa stop motion yang terdiri dari potongan-potongan gambar lukisan perempuan telanjang, hasil karya para seniman Eropa di masa lampau. Selama empat menit, penonton disuguhkan gambar-gambar perempuan telanjang dengan pose-pose yang khas ala seni lukis klasik; ya, seperti yang kita semua tahu, biasanya posenya sedang rebahan di sofa dengan anggun, atau pose-pose lain yang menunjukkan kelemah-lembutan seorang perempuan. Saya sempat berpikir nakal, kenapa tidak ada pose perempuan telanjang sedang duduk mengangkang di bangku, atau memanjat pohon, mungkin berdiri saja sambil memegang sebotol anggur, atau pose-pose yang binal atau berantakan?  Lewat filem itu, rupanya saya disadarkan bahwa pose-pose lukisan adalah bagaimana para pelukis dan dunia memandang perempuan, setidaknya di era klasik Eropa. Perempuan itu submisif. Hingga saat ini pun, ternyata masih banyak iklan-iklan (atau hal-hal secara visual lainnya) yang menggambarkan perempuan sebagai A, B, C, dst. Seolah-olah didikte, negosiasi tentang kesetaraan rasanya semakin jauh untuk diraih. Sebab kita juga hanya menurut, tanpa ada pertanyaan, boro-boro pemberontakan.

Filem ketiga, secara visual dan estetika sinematiknya begitu memukau saya secara pribadi. Alurnya lambat, berwarna hitam putih, dan visual yang menggambarkan keresahan dan ketakutan yang mandalam seseorang. Semacam terpelatuk, saya begitu menikmati sekaligus ngeri menonton filem karya Allan Balberona yang berjudul Alaalang Walang Malay (atau Unsonscious Memory) ini. Filem yang terinspirasi dari kisah nyata kekerasan terhadap para aktivis—terutama perempuan—di era Presiden Marcos, begitu membuka mata para penontonnya tentang perjuangan yang berakhir pada maut.

Jargon-jargon semacam “hidup adalah perjuangan”, klise namun tetap saja menjadi landasan bagi banyak orang. Bagi para aktivis, tentu hidup adalah perjuangan terhadap diri sendiri dan sesama, dengan selalu mengibarkan bendera kemanusiaan. Namun, apa yang saya tonton di filem itu sedikit menciutkan nyali saya, karena perjuangan dengan niat baik itu berujung pada sesuatu yang begitu ditakutkan oleh banyak atau malah semua perempuan, yakni pemerkosaan. Bagi saya, pemerkosaan adalah paket lengkap kekerasan yang dialami seseorang, sebab fisik dan psikis sama-sama dihancurkan dan diinjak-injak ketika hal itu terjadi. Menonton filem ini, kita dibawa pada sebuah flashback seorang perempuan yang trauma berat karena mengalami kekerasan dalam proses investigasinya terhadap satu pabrik yang limbahnya mencemari sungai.

Ada satu pertanyaan menarik yang ditujukan untuk Allan selaku sutradara, mengenai tokoh perempuan sebagai investigator, sederhana saja pertanyaannya,”Mengapa tokoh utamanya perempuan?”. Allan secara perlahan dan getir menceritakan bahwa kekerasan terhadap aktivis perempuan bisa dikatakan lebih kejam, karena mereka dibunuh pelan-pelan; diperkosa ramai-ramai dan dijadikan budak seks, baru kemudian dibebaskan. Tanpa bermaksud untuk merendahkan aktivis laki-laki, tapi memang secara subjektif ia menilai hukuman bagi aktivis perempuan kala itu lebih berat. Mereka dibiarkan hidup dengan luka menganga yang belum tentu sembuh sampai akhir hayat, sedangkan aktivis laki-laki hanya ditembak lalu mati dan dilenyapkan dari muka bumi tanpa pernah ditemukan kembali. Lewat filem tersebut, pada akhirnya terbukalah mata kita semua, bahwa rupanya masih ada ketimpangan yang terjadi di antara kedua gender, yang padahal sebenarnya saling melengkapi.

Kiri ke kanan: Gelar Soemantri (kurator), Hossein Abbasi (sutradara I’m not A Woman), Pingkan Polla (penerjemah), dan Allan Balberona (sutradara Unconscious Memory).

Sebagai penutup, Gelar Soemantri selaku kurator menegaskan bahwa negosiasi antara perempuan dan dunia sebenarnya tidak hanya dapat dibahas dari feminisme saja. Melebihi itu, ia menawarkan solusi untuk melakukan negosiasi dengan cara kemanusiaan. Dengan memandang perempuan sebagai manusia yang punya hak dan kewajiban yang setara, tanpa embel-embe gender. Sebab, di dunia yang serba patriarkis ini, laki-laki pun turut menjadi korban. Sinema pada akhirnya, punya andil untuk turut dalam medan perjuangan; mencerabut label-label yang meracuni dan mematikan wacana negosiasi manusia terhadap manusia lainnya. ***

English

Women and a World that Mutually Negotiated through Film

Woman has two contradictory sides in the face of the world, at least in my personal view. On one side, she is considered as weak, thus she needs to be given special place and protection. Say, like in a special space for women in the Commuter Line and Transjakarta. But, on the other side she is considered as superior and there’s a term “women are always right”. They were very contradictive. Also, as a woman, I often realize that the discourse about women, about myself, is constructed by others and the environment around me. So many boundaries embedded to women, must maintain good manners for instance, stay gentle, etc. Women and the depiction of her, seems like it has been constructed by the world. Then, how is the destiny of women in struggling for the discourse about herself, which was constructed and made also by herself?

A moment before the screening started.

Film, as one of the media used for activism, has the role able to liberate and give space for women to seize the discourse about the authority of herself. Film can help to decipher the misunderstanding and subjugation toward a community. In this International Competition 4 program, women seem to be deliberately framed as the main theme. Located at Kineforum, August 24 2017, the audiences were invited to negotiate about the images which were embedded to them for all this time, and let the women to negotiate to the audience too, about the images and discourse of their selves. This opportunity was very good, because the communication occurred between the two contradictory parties, who also mutually need each other; women and the world.

Being a transgender in the Middle East, for me, is also a very impossible thing. I imagined how dreadful it is to be exiled or be treated arbitrarily by the people or even there is a punishment specifically made by the government for them. But, in the film I’m not A Woman by Hossein Abbasi, I could slightly breathe a sigh of relief and lessen the fear as well as oddity I think about. Mezel, a trans man who could live alone freely and be accepted by his village. Limitation on the access toward information experienced by the people who live in the remote village usually made them more intolerant. Instead, in this village, Mezel can live peacefully, in accordance with his selfhood and masculinity.

Mezel and his peaceful life also experienced obstacles at the beginning, when he decided to be a man thoroughly. In accordance with my depiction about the opposition from family, he was also opposed, even punished. Evidently, in his struggle to negotiate his selfhood, the opposition was real and always existed along with standard of norms and ethics.

I have one suspicion about the decision taken by Mezel. I have heard so many times word saying that life of women in Iran and around it was hard and unfair. In fact, in the film, there was a woman who was interviewed and said that she wanted to be born as men and be able to swim as much in the river with other friends. Women and the issue of violence were common there. Mezel also realized and admitted that women are weak and possess no freedom. It turned out that in his effort to negotiate his selfhood and masculinity, he put women as minority. Still, the struggle of women in Middle East to create the discourse on herself, seem to be, still far from the desired accomplishment.

The second film was very entertaining for me. The film was a stop-motion consisted of snippets from paintings of naked women, the result of European artists in the past. Within 4 minutes, the audiences were given images of naked women in typical poses of classical paintings; as we all know, usually the pose is by lying on the couch with grace, or other poses that indicate the softness of a woman. I had naughty thoughts, why there is no pose of naked women sitting on a stool, or climbing a tree, maybe by just standing holding a bottle of wine, or other rebellious or messy poses? Through that film, apparently I was awakened that the poses in paintings are how the painters and the world gaze at women, at least in the classic European era. Women are submissive. Until today, there were many advertisements (or other visual things) which depicting women as A, B, C, etc. As though being dictated, negotiations on the equality seem to be far from reach. Because we only agree, with no question, even less insurgent.

The third film, its visual and cinematic aesthetic mesmerized me personally. The plot was slow, in black and white tone, and its visual depicted deep anxiety and fear of someone. Kind of triggered, I enjoyed and horrified at the same time when watching this work of Allan Balberona entitled Alaalang Walang Malay (or Unconscious Memory). The film which was inspired by the real story about the violence experienced by the activists — especially women — in the era of President Marcos, opened the eyes of the audiences about the struggle of activists which end up in death.

Jargons like “life is struggle” sound cliché but still become the foundation for many people. For the activists, certainly life is a struggle for self and fellows, by always raising the flag of humanity. However, what I watched in the film slightly shrieked my guts, because the good-willed struggle culminated in something so feared by many or even all women, which is rape. For me, rape is a complete package of violence that a person experiences, because both physical and psychic are destroyed and trampled when it happens. Watching this film, we are taken on a flashback of a woman who is traumatized by violence in her investigation on a factory whose waste polluted the river.

One interesting question was directed to Allan as the director, about the female character as an investigator, the question was, “Why the main character is a woman?”. Allan slowly and bitterly told that violence against women activists could be said as more cruel, because they were murdered slowly; gang-raped and turned into sex slaves, then released. Without intending to undermine the male activist, but indeed subjectively he considered the punishment for female activists, at that time, were more severe. They were left alive with gaping wounds that may not heal until the end of their lives, while male activists were only shot then died and disappeared from the earth without ever being rediscovered. Through the film, our eyes were finally opened, that apparently there is still an imbalance that occurs between the two genders, which actually are complementary.

From left to right: Gelar Soemantri (the curator), Hossein Abbasi (filmmaker of I’m not A Woman), Pingkan Polla (interpreter), and Allan Balberona (filmmaker of Unconscious Memory).

As closure, Gelar Soemantri as curator confirmed that negotiations between women and the world were not only discussed from solely feminism. Beyond that, he offered a solution by negotiating with humanity. By looking at women as human being who have equal rights and obligations, without gender as it appendage. Because in this patriarchal world, men can also be the victims. Cinema in the end has its share to participate in the field of struggle; uprooting the poisoning labels and turning off the discourse of human negotiations against other human beings. ***

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