Monday, December 5, 2011

Kaki Bakar & Jogho, directed by U-Wei Bin Hajisaari

Kaki Bakar and Jogho are two films written and directed by U-Wei Bin Hajisaari by the year of 1995 and 1997. Kaki bakar (The Arsonist) is a film about Kakang who proud of his Javanese heritage is trying to bring up his children in Malaysia and instill them his own traditional values and beliefs. Seeing clearly the social inequalities that allow him to be exploited his defiance results in profound consequences for his youngest son, a boy who shares his father's uncompromising integrity. Meanwhile, Jogho is setting in the bull-fighting Patani Malay community of Southern Thailand. An ungracious loser in the arena kills his rival, whose brother Mamat (Khalid Salleh) then vows to get even. His wife Minah (Normah Damanhuri) fails to stop this cycle of vengeance, which will also affect the younger generation.

These two films have the similarities which both of them examine about the religion, tradition, culture and identity. In ‘Kaki Bakar’, Kakang who was emigrated from Indonesia, appreciated the adat and tradition of their religions. He is trying to instill his own Javanese values and beliefs to his son, Kusuma. He always reminds his son not to forget their roots and origins and teaches him how to become a real man. While in ‘Jogho”, Mamat thinks that he is the pillar in his family and he needs to play role in his responsibility. Mamat and Lazim are the leaders in a small village that depends mostly on the money won from gambling in bullfights for its sustenance. He involves in the bull-fighting game to gain respect as well as reputation and status from the society.

In U-Wei’s film always shown family love and identities as a theme to implant his idea and massage to his audiences. From the character of Kakang in ‘Kaki Bakar’ or Mamat in ‘Jogho’ , it’s highlighted the Malay’s identity and represents the Malay dilemma or the social deficiencies like the gender roles in the society, and different generation (Old Malay versus New Malay). He is using the characters of his film to show the inequality of the gender roles. For example, ‘Jogho’ retains in their shared critiques of contemporary Malay/ Malaysian identities and their forthright characteristic in daily lives.

In the films, the importance and high status of men can be shown. Men always portrayed as the dominant gender and main financial income in the family. In ‘Kaki Bakar’, wherever there is something happened, the family member will always looks up to their father Kakang and the daughters are refused to listen to their mother; while in ‘Jogho’, Mamat’s wife, Minah obey and never oppose to what did his husband asked her to. This can be seen in the scene of Mamat asked Minah to take the only money for family living to feed Calet, the bull although she know the money was the only support of their family.

We can easily found that the shooting style and technique that U-Wei using in these two films is unique and representative. He likes to use slow dolly tracking shot to reveal the mise-en scene. This can be found in the scene of a guy complaining the fire of his house with crowd of people. A slow dolly tracking shot was used to show the expression of each listener in the grocery store and the shot ended with the guy who is actually speaking. Almost the same techniques also apply during the staring of Jogho where a slow pan and tracking shot started from the scenery of Patani and ended with the funeral of Lazim. In addition, the use of diegetic sound with the camera movement is what the director trying to do in order drag audience to the source of the sound and this also highlighted the event that seen after the end of the camera movement is important throughout the films.

We can notice that the changing of the lighting technique reach a big improvement from ‘Kaki Bakar’ to ‘Jogho’. The lighting was bad and dark in ‘Kaki Bakar’ making the storyline pause and do not go smooth. Fortunately, there is a better and brighter lighting can be seen in ‘Jogho’ compare to the previous film.

Through this analysis, we can found that U-Wei’s film is unique with his own style and technique to inject his idea to the audiences. He prefers people to watch his film and judge it, rather than selling a story to the audiences.

Wong, L. H. (n.d.). Plot Summary for Kaki bakar (1995) . Retrieved December 3, 2011, from
Full synopsis. (n.d.). In Jogho | Synopsis. Retrieved December 3, 2011, from
Anne, T. C. (n.d.). Contemporary Asian cinema: popular culture in a global frame, Retrieved December 3, 2011, from

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