Another dose of quality Indonesian cinema makes its way to Melbourne this April. Stevi Lee has the details on what you can expect from this year’s rich program.
For a twelfth year, the Indonesian Film Festival returns to Melbourne and brings with it yet another showcase of the richness of Indonesian language and culture.
From April 8 to 13, this year’s festival is themed ‘Fragments of Time’ and will explore the transformative strides and cinematic developments that Indonesian cinema has undergone throughout the years.
The Indonesian Film Festival will be returning to ACMI for its entire six-day run and each film will only be screening once.
Main festival lineup
Saturday, April 8 (7.30pm)
Opening the festival is Emma’ (Athirah) an alluring story about a woman named Athirah (played by Cut Mini) who struggles to live alone under the social and cultural norms placed on women during 1960s Indonesia.
In a society and country where polygamy is legal, Athirah is faced with the hurt and humiliation of her husband’s decision to be with another woman. Meanwhile, Athirah’s eldest son Ucu (Christoffer Nelwan), struggles with the changes in his family while also simultaneously falling in love with Ida (Indah Permata Sari).
Sunday, April 9 (7.00pm)
Action fans won’t want to miss out on the bloody and violent Headshot, starring Iko Uwais (The Raid) and Julie Estelle (The Raid 2).
When a mysterious young man loses his memory after a bullet goes straight through his head, he is nursed back to health by a young student-doctor who then renames him as Ishmael.
The two grow close but their lives are soon rocked when Ishamel’s dark past catches up with him. As a gang of dangerous criminals chases after Ishmael, he must confront the violence of his former life and find out his true identity.
Monday, April 10 (7.00pm)
If you’re after a deeper understanding of Indonesian cinema, look no further than this digitally restored version of classic, Tiga Dara.
Screening in 4K, this Indonesian classic from 1957 follows the lives of three young ladies, Nunung, Nana and Nenny, who live with their grandmother following their passing of their mother.
This musical is heralded as a classic and what better way to see a landmark film in Indonesian history than on the big screen!
Tuesday, April 11, (7.00pm)
In this romantic-drama, busy workaholic Adeline (Raline Shah) meets and Rafian (Fachry Albar) during a visit to Jakarta.
Rafian believes their encounter was not due to coincidence but Adeline believes otherwise. Intent on proving his belief to Adeline, Rafian wants to know the probability of them meeting each other again and determine whether or not their chance encounter was just that or if it was meant to be.
Three Sassy Sisters (Ini Kisah Tiga Dara)
Wednesday, April 12 (7.00pm)
Three sisters, Gendhis (Shanty Paredes), Ella (Tara Basro) and Bebe (Tatyana Akman), move to the Indonesian island of Flores with their father where they are entrusted with the responsibility of running the family hotel business in Maumere.
But once their grandmother arrives (Titiek Puspa), the lively sisters begin to question their dreams and ambitions, especially when Oma tries to choose a partner for their marriage.
Three Sassy Sisters is Nia Danata’s homage to 1956 musical-comedy Tiga Dara and is also a musical that focuses on female empowerment and redefining the roles of women in Indonesia.
Letters from Prague (Surat dari Praha)
Thursday, April 13 (7.00pm)
Selected as Indonesia’s entrant into this year’s Academy Awards for Best Foreign Language Film, closing night film Letters from Prague is a drama about a young woman, Larasati (Julie Estelle) who, upon the request of her mother’s will, travels to Prague to deliver a case and a letter to a man named Jaya (Tio Pakusadewo).
Growing up in a broken home, Larasati soon accuses Jaya and his letters as the cause of her family’s issues. Guilty, Jaya explains his sacrifice and exile from Indonesia.
Letters from Prague was inspired by the events of the 1966 coup, where many Indonesian scholars were exiled due to fears of persecution.
Under the Stars (Pre-Event)
If that wasn’t enough, the Indonesian Film Festival will hold its pre-event ahead of the main festival to get people excited for what’s to come.
The pre-event will take place on March 24, inviting everyone for a night under the stars. A screening of Indonesian comedy, Single, will take occur at the Indonesian Film Festival’s outdoor cinema located at SiteWorks (33 Saxon St, Brunswick) from 6.00pm.
Other festivities that you can expect at this pre-event include dance performances, photo booth sessions and a variety of food to choose from!
Best of all, the pre-event is FREE!
The Indonesian Film Festival will take place from April 8 to 13 at ACMI, Federation Square. The Under the Stars pre-event in the lead-up to the main festival will take place at SiteWorks in Brunswick.
Tickets to the main film festival are currently available for purchase online or on the spot. Opening and closing night films go for $20 per ticket while the rest of the program’s films go for $18 per ticket. For more information, please visit their website.