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Indonesian Film Festival 2015

Echo Chen

Tue Mar 17 2015


THIS year marks the ten year anniversary of the Indonesian Film Festival! Echo Chen offers her choice selections on what you should see.


The Indonesian Film Festival (IFF) is back to celebrate its 10th anniversary with a larger collection of visual feasts. Returning with the theme “Another Face of Indonesia”, this year’s IFF aims to present Indonesia’s rich and diverse culture that global spectators in Australia have likely yet to discover.

From April 9, audiences in Melbourne can attend the festival and have a taste of the Indonesian culture at the Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI).

Among the selection is the Gala Opening features 3 Nafas Likas (Likas’ 3 Breaths), a recent work by acclaimed Indonesian director Rako Prijanto (Sang Kiai, 2013). It tells the true story of Likas, the wife of famous General Djamin Gintings who fought in the Indonesian Independence War.

More films on offer cover genres including arthouse cinema, horror and documentary which all seek to present Indonesia’s multi-faceted contemporary landscape and its increasingly dynamic entertainment industry.

Below are some of the highlights that we think are worth spending time on.

Dibalik 98 (Behind 98)

Dibalik 98 features a female college student who fights with her fellow activists amid domestic political unrest. Amidst all this, conflicts also arise between herself, her lover and her family members. As the circumstances become increasingly dangerous and violent, the girl and her beloved ones’ lives are turned into tragedies.

The film is set against the historical backdrop of the reformation in May 1998 that led to college student unrest in Indonesia and eventually the fall of President Suharto. As a new release in 2015, the film takes the audience to re-explore a piece of national history that still leaves a significant impact on Indonesian society today.

Tabula Rasa

Tabula Rasa tells the story of Hans, a young man in despair, who meets Mak and gets a job in her humble Minang restaurant. Despite chef Parmanto and waiter Natsir’s initial opposition to Hans’ arrival, they have to unite when their small business is threatened by the opening of a bigger restaurant.

The film is certainly a movable feast for anyone who is into food and especially drawn to Indonesian Minang cuisine. The heart-warming storyline gradually unfolds with rich flavours and colours as the film depicts emotional conflicts while showcasing mouth-watering Indonesian dishes in the making.

Jalanan (Streetside)

Jalanan is an acclaimed documentary that tells the story of Boni, Ho and Titi, three talented street musicians and their personal struggles for pursuing dreams in Indonesia’s frenzied capital city Jakarta.

Jalanan’s compelling depiction of the marginalised sub-cultural characters, as well as its questioning of turbulence underneath Jakarta’s fast-changing urban life, has won the film many awards including Best Documentary at the Busan International Film Festival 2013 and Peoples Choice Award at the Melbourne International Film Festival 2014.

The Indonesian Film Festival will take place between April 9 – 18 at the Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI) in Melbourne. For more information about the film festival, including screening schedule and special events, please visit IFF’s official website.