‘Love for Sale’ is an Indonesian film released in 2018. The film follows the story of Richard (Gading Marten), a middle aged man trying to find a woman to be his date to a wedding. Desperate, Richard decides to reach out to ‘Love Incorporated’, an online platform which promises love and will find him a date, for a price.
The main thing I noticed from this film was the vast differences that exist between my own culture and the culture portrayed in the film. I am Australian, of British heritage, and so my experiences are based heavily on Western culture and living in Australia. While I try to actively challenge my perspectives and develop my understanding of life experiences different to my own, this was my first time watching Indonesian cinema. Because of this unfamiliarity, I think I experienced some level of disconnect with the film. However, this disconnect is in part caused by my inability to relate to the character or his story on a personal level. One thing that resonated with me this week was that it often takes personal connection to unlock interest in another country’s nuances. While I believe that this shouldn’t be the case I can acknowledge that it is in my experience with this film. I also think that by acknowledging one’s own shortcomings we are better equipped to correct them in the future and to see beyond our own experiences.
I believe that the film should be appreciated for the successful use of character development. In this process, Richard learns to love and be more open and it could also be inferred that Arini has changed him for the better. However, the nature of their transactional relationship made the character developments seem more superficial to me. This is mainly because Richard was provided with a paid service and so the ideas that he could actually fall in love and believe that she might stay with him, made me see the character as gullible. The tweeting process during this screening was useful as it highlighted the varying influences everyone’s personal and cultural experiences have on their perceptions and interaction with the film. I believe my personal/cultural experiences made me feel disconnect towards the film as I didn’t like the characters intentions.
Some examples of different reactions to the film:
To me, noticing these differences illustrated Ellis’s (2011) view that personal perspective is both the process and product. I believe people can look at other cultures and experiences with the intention to learn and expand their own understanding. However, I agree with Ellis that the process of acculturation means that your own personal perspectives will always partly inform your views, interactions and reactions. This means that the way I viewed ‘Love for Sale’ and what I was able to take away from the film is different to the person next to me and theirs different from the person next to them. At its core, I think this explains ethnographic research perfectly, because we do not have one shared personal perspective and therefore there is no one shared cultural perspective either. Ellis et al (2011) stated that “different kinds of people possess different assumptions about the world—a multitude of ways of speaking, writing, valuing and believing”. I found this reading to be useful because it showed the beauty in different experiences and that there is no right or wrong way to view, interact with and appreciate a text.
Ellis, Adams & Bochner, 2011. ‘Autoethnography: An Overview’ , https://www.qualitative-research.net/index.php/fqs/article/view/1589/3095
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