Have you ever heard about Prenjak? Let us introduce you to Prenjak, a movie about money and sex by Wregas Bhanuteja which won an award in the Cannes Festival for Winning Leica Cine Discovery Prize for Best Short Film 55th Semaine de la Critique 2016. The movie takes inspiration from the old tradition in Yogyakarta in which people buy and sell matches to see women naked. The practice known as Ciblek was popular around the 80’s.
The movie starts with Diah’s dialogue with her co-worker, Jarwo by saying “I need your help. I am in dire need of money now.” Diah pulled out matches from her pocket, “I’ll sell the matches to you for 10.000 Rupiah for one matchstick.” Of course Jarwo refused the offer. Then, Diah explained “As long as Jarwo has money, he gets a chance to see Diah naked.” Jarwo accepted the offer.
In the following scene, Prenjak shows how men can be conquered by sex but on the other hand, women can be conquered by money. After the transaction is finished, Jarwo gave Diah some advice about how getting a husband will make her life a lot easier but the fact is, Diah as a woman, is a victim of her husband and her husband is the reason why she sold her body to Jarwo.
In the next scene, Jarwo drove Diah to her home and right after that, a debt collector demanded money from Diah for the sake of her house. Apart from showing Diah as the victim, Wregas also criticized how ironic this society is. The fact that Diah is the only female character in the movie tells how she has close to no power as she is dominated by men. Starting from her husband who put her in the situation, Jarwo who used her body and the debt collector-guy who demanded money from her.
The film is the first Indonesian film to win at the Cannes festival in any category. According to Femina, Charles Tesson praised Prenjak as “a film with surprisingly deep poetry”. Tesson, quoted by Rappler, added that the film is “dark and ornery, about how earning a living is the same as a game of matches.” Rappler also quoted Marie-Paulline Molaret, one of the jury, as saying that “Bhanuteja got rid of the bad impression of peeking and made it as an entertaining, soft poetry.”
After winning the international festival, Prenjak was screened by Kinosaurus, a micro-cinema in Jakarta. The film was also screened at Institut Francais Indonesia Jakarta on 2 June 2016.