“When I leave, what do you fear from a distance?”

According to his biography, Indonesian director Arhan Arunika or Muhammed Abdillah Farhan has already directed a number of feature films and documentaries. He still studies Film and Television at Jakarta University of Arts and if you care to look at his profile on Facebook, he is “living [his] dream” of being a freelance writer and filmmaker. His latest short feature is called “Fana” and deals with the beginning and end of a relationship.

Fana (Alfpinka Mutia) and Bara (Fery Ardian) have been a couple for some time now and are still very much in love. However, as another man (Rizky Yudha) enter their relationship, jealousy takes hold of their relationship and first arguments start between them.

On the surface, “Fana” with its almost four minutes of running time tells possibly one of the oldest, but nevertheless universal stories there is to tell. The images of Muhana Raihan’s camera capture the idyll of a love relationship with the stereotypical, almost corny sequences of the male playing the guitar to impress the girl, them holding hands at the beach and sitting by a cozy campfire. Even as the eventual first cracks in this relationship become obvious, “Fana” never truly leaves this kind of approach to the story.

However, given the duration of the film and the contrasting nature of the images, there may be a hidden truth underneath this narrative. Indeed Arunika has organized his feature not as a “mere” narration but as a symbolic work, boiling down the essence of love as well as its eventual absence. Jealousy is a dark chamber in which the one affected is tied down helplessly, trying to figure out the meaning of certain acts, pictures or statements. The pose of a person in a picture, as one of the characters points out, may be “unnatural” but in a symbolic, heightened reality, such as the one in this film, this reveals the true crime of being held hostage by perhaps misleading emotions.

In the end, “Fana” is an interesting short film, well-executed and photographed by Arunika and his crew. Given his approach to cinematic symbolism, the structure of each frame as well as the sheer beauty of the film, this is a director you should watch out for. Hopefully, this talented young director will make a longer feature soon for this short one holds a lot of promise.

Ever since I watched Takeshi Kitano's "Hana-Bi" for the first time (and many times after that) I have been a cinephile. While much can be said about the technical aspects of film, coming from a small town in Germany, I cherish the notion of art showing its audience something which one does normally avoid, neglect or is unable to see for many different reasons. Often the stories told in films have helped me understand, discover and connect to something new which is a concept I would like to convey in the way I talk and write about films. Thus, I try to include some info on the background of each film as well as a short analysis (without spoilers, of course), an approach which should reflect the context of a work of art no matter what genre, director or cast. In the end, I hope to pass on my joy of watching film and talking about it.