Posts Tagged ‘Indonesian indie’

Marlina the Murderer in Four Acts (2017) **** | East End Film Festival 2018

Dir: Mouly Surya  Writer: Rama Adi| Drama | Indonesia | 92′

There a dark humour to this feminist parable set in the enchanting widescreen skyscapes and exotic shady interiors of a remote Indonesian village in the South Pacific, where revenge is a dish best served with calm and a dash of strychnine by the central character Marlina, played gracefully and with deadpan conviction by Marsha Timothy.

Although Mouly Surya’s third feature is a modern story from a Muslim country it feels distinctly stuck in the Dark Ages, certainly where attitudes towards to the fairer sex are concerned. Played out in four segments, as the title suggests, the film explores how a young widow deals with the aftermath of being robbed of her livestock and then raped by seven bandits who seem to think they have done her a favour. Clearly the pleasure is hers, as we discover early on in this amusingly arcane tale.

Yunus Pasolang’s limpid lensing and Zeke Khaseli and Yudhi Arfani’s redolent trumpet soundtrack often bring to mind a Sergio Leone Western, albeit one set in Sumba Island, to the north east of Australia. This languid drama takes its time and is surprisingly gentle and poetic in contrast to its violent subject matter. There are also touches of surreal artistry at play: in one scene Marlina is followed down the dusty road in the sweltering heat by her headless rapist – or perhaps it’s just a mirage. But the tone is gently upbeat, the pace leisurely but bristling with a low level tension as the story unfurls in a seemingly lawless community where casual violence is prone to rear its head at any given moment, and not just on the part of the male population.

Indonesian men clearly think themselves the superior sex, and are a querulous and unsympathetic lot, but women are not always supportive of each other either, in the Solomon Islands. Marlina is plainly irritated by the heavily pregnant Novi (Dea Panendra) who talks none stop and insists on following her to the Police station in the hope of protection and further attack from the rest of the gang. Marlina’s gruesome package is clearly a talking point amongst locals during their bus journey — but the pair eventually reach their destination despite in an eventful journey that’s as breathtaking as it is satisfyingly weird. MT

EAST END FILM FESTIVAL | 2018 | 12 April 2018

Asia House Film Festival 2015 | 27 – 31 March 2015

The 7th Annual Asia House Film Festival which takes place from 27 March to 31 March 2015 at various venues around London. This year’s theme of NEW GENERATIONS reflects on all that’s new about cinema from Cambodia, Myanmar, Vietnam, Indonesian, India, Japan and Uzbekistan, with a special focus and retrospective on Mongolia.

The festival includes an selection of features including two European premieres. Opening the festival on Friday 27 March at the Ham Yard Theatre is the European Premiere of Indonesian film IN THE ABSENCE OF THE SUN, which frames the modern metropolis of Jakarta as never seen before. Directed, written and edited by Lucky Kuswandi (Madame X), it is a bittersweet tale of universal appeal, as its nostalgic memories unfold over the course of a single night.

Closing Asia House Film Festival 2015 on Tuesday 31 March at The Horse Hospital is the UK Premiere of YANGON CALLING – PUNK IN MYANMAR, directed by Alexander Dluzak and Carsten Piefke, an award-winning documentary about Myanmar’s underground punk scene filmed secretly in the former military dictatorship using hidden cameras. It provides a rare portrait of the rebels who really do have a cause, introducing us to their personal lives and their hidden world of rehearsal rooms and illicit concerts.

The European premiere of Kulikar Sotho’s THE LAST REEL presents different versions of the truth unearthed from a lost film, buried beneath Cambodia’s killing fields and the London premiere of PASSION FROM MONGOLIA, a poignant portrait of a man’s struggle to bridge two very different ages, is a great introduction to Mongolian cinema which will be showcased at the Cinema Museum on Sunday 19 April.

The festival will also host the UK Premiere of a musical documentary FLASHBACK MEMORIES 3D, that received the Audience Award winner at the 26th Tokyo International Film Festival. Directed by Japan’s Tetsuaki Matsue, it focuses on the didgeridoo maestro GOMA, who suffers from an inability to form new memories following a traffic accident at the peak of his career. Also on offer is a cult classic Uzbekistani “Red Western”. MT

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VENUES: Ham Yard Theatre, Rich Mix, The Horse Hospital and the Cinema Museum | 27 – 31 March 2015


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