A friend updated a status in his Facebook account few times ago, “Looking at what’s coming soon in 21cineplex.com and I’m about to faint reading the title: Cin, Tetangga Gue Kuntilanak”
His reaction was normal. Even I myself was shocked, though I did not want to faint like him. Another friend in his Blackberry Messenger in a joking tone called it ‘the movie title of the century’
What’s wrong with the title anyway?
Honestly, there is nothing wrong with it. The late SM Ardan, a movie critic and ex head of Sinematek, ever wrote in daily paper Kompas that enhanced spelling is not really a big deal for a movie. As an example, the first movie in Indonesia was silent movie Loetoeng Kasaroeng (1926) that was remade in 1952 with the title Lutung Kasarung and was again remade in color in 1983.
Meanwhile, still from Ardan, cineaste Syuman Djaya made Si Doel Anak Betawi (1973) and continued with the sequel Si Doel Anak Modern (1976). Though enhanced spelling system in Indonesian language has been there since 17 August 1972, Syuman maintained the title Si Doel rather than Si Dul. And it’s still like that when Rano Karno made the TV series of it in 1994 entitled Si Doel Anak Sekolahan.
In short, the title Cin, Tetangga Gue Kuntilanak, is acceptable from the linguistics point of view since the title of a movie may or may not follow the rule of language.
The title is however still problematic. With Cin, it obviously wants to employ contemporary term. Cin is a slang short for cinta that now has replaced pronoun you originally to call someone else that the speaker loves. The meaning of cin then broadens not only to call the loved ones but also any other people.
In Jakarta, particularly when you hang out with people from the entertainment society, so many people use cin or say (short for sayang) to greet the others. It’s a fashion for Jakarta todays and this is the problem. I’m not sure that the use of such kind of words is already widespread in the country. When the movies are premiered in the other regions, people there might not really understand the meaning of cin actually. What is cin? If it stands for cinta, does it refer to the people they love? To whom should we call cin then?
Only from the title, we can already predict what the movie is about. Even it also represents the evolution of quality of the film. The point is it’s just getting worse.
The title of the movies recently is different from the titles in 70s or 80s. From the legendary Warkop DKI, for instance, we have amusing word play like Maju Kena Mundur Kena, Kesempatan dalam Kesempitan, Atas Boleh Bawah Boleh, Depan Bisa Belakang Bisa, Bisa Naik Bisa Turun, Lupa Aturan Main, and many more. While from drama movies in 80s, the titles are romantically poetic as in Seputih Kasih Semerah Luka, Serpihan Mutiara Retak, Seputih Hatinya Semerah Bibirnya, Senyum di Pagi Bulan Desember, Terang Bulan di Tengah Hari, or Tatkala Mimpi Berakhir.
In the early 2000s, we have Ada Apa Dengan Cinta? This title then becomes popular as a pop culture vocabulary that’s often used by media product in writing the title of news like Ada Apa dengan Fulan? or Ada Apa dengan Whoever? This phenomenon ever happened in the 70s where there was a movie with the title Apa Yang kau Cari Palupi?
From the funny, poetic, and memorable ones, the titles then degrade. For these past several years, what we may read in the theatre are Maaf, Saya Menghamili Istri Anda, Hantu Binal Jembatan Semanggi, Hantu Puncak Datang Bulan, and the one we’ve discussed before Cin…Tetangga Gue Kuntilanak or maybe Susah Jaga Keperawanan di Jakarta. After reading those titles, I was thinking, well, is it really that hard to make a title? Is it easier for those in a particular region? What’s in the director’s mind when they decide to use the title? And then these questions are just questions without any response in the form of better change from our moviemakers.
Film critics and editor at tabloidbintang.com