Christine Hakim: Prima Donna Inter Pares


Christine Hakim: Lessons Learnt from An Actress

Can an actress teach one to centre oneself in order to attain success? Absolutely. And no other thespian is more suited to preach this other than the Grand Dame of Indonesian cinema, Christine Hakim. AWANI Review’s Syed Farradino Omar catches up with her in Kuala Lumpur recently for a chat on In Person.

Wouldn’t it be easy to dismiss the idea of a chat with Christine Hakim to be another tête-à-tête about the roles that she has played, or the movies she has acted in, or even her life as one of the best-known actresses in Indonesia? That would, on the surface, be true. But often we forget that the job of a thespian is far removed from the simplistic interpretations so conveniently arrived at. The fact is, to be a good actor, says Christine, you must forget yourself and step out of your skin in order for you to truly be somebody else; the character that you are playing. To be great at acting, you must stop acting and just be.

The question is, how do you do this? How do you jump from being one person to another constantly, alternating between your life and the life of the character? How do you blur the lines between your reality and that of the character without losing it entirely?

I started my conversation with Christine with the hopes of understanding how faith has been her constant companion, centering her at all times. But to my delight, I learnt that this proud Indonesian, a celebrated daughter of Jakarta, lives by a trinity of rules that keeps her checked always; Faith, Focus and a Sense of Responsibility.

And throughout her time as a dramatist, she has done a lot and flitted in and out of personas but never veering too far off from who she truly is. With a 45-year career embellished with no less than nine Citra Awards - the highest accolade for an actor in Indonesia - through carefully chosen roles in more than 30 films, she boils her success down to her three rules that she shares with us in this interview.