The 5 must-see Indonesian
films of 2012

Audiences in Indonesia have, since a few years back, become very picky about film. Film quality therefore needed to be elevated. In 2012 the Indonesian film industry grew, with 86 titles released over the course of the year. Although there were some films with similar themes, there were many more dynamic and interesting films on offer.

Below are some of the must-see Indonesian films of 2012 that you don’t want to miss.

Tanah Surga, …Katanya (Land of Heaven, …They Said)
A story revolving around the life of a family residing in a village on the border between Indonesia and Malaysia, the film satirizes people on the margins of this country. Packed with stunning cinematography that captures the simple and beautiful parts of Borneo, a peaceful soundtrack and expressing the spirit of nationalism, the film is touching and sometimes humorous, discussing life, family and the idea of being Indonesian.

Directed by Herwin Novianto, Tanah Surga, …Katanya reminds us once again about the importance of supporting this nation and repairing its current condition. Tanah Surga, …Katanya won the FFI (Indonesian Film Festival) award for best film in 2012.  

Habibie & Ainun

A beautiful love story about the former Indonesian president, B.J. Habibie, and his wife, Ainun, arouses the audience’s emotion through all the film’s ups and downs. Apart from a powerful story about staying together, Habibie & Ainun also shows the sacrifices they made on the way.

Directed by Faozan Rizal, the movie is a recent hit with around 700,000 viewers in just 5 days (as of Dec. 25). The astonishing performance of Reza Rahardian in portraying Habibie has been praised by many because of the way the actor was able to embody the gestures, accent and facial expressions of the ex-president. The film is still in cinemas.
Mata Tertutup (The Blindfold)

Fundamentalism and violence are what this movie is trying to oppose. The film by Garin Nugroho revolves around three different characters involved with the acts of religious fundamentalists.

It tells of the social and psychological issues that drive normal young people (influenced by provocation) to acts of radicalism and how those acts can influence a person’s life.

The film was made on a minimum budget and based on research conducted by Maarif, a cultural organization. The film reminds viewers not to be easily influenced by provocation in the name of religion. Mata Tertutup has opened our eyes to the issues and the threats of radicalism.

Rayya, Cahaya di Atas Cahaya (Rayya, Light upon Light)

This road movie focuses on Rayya (Titi Sjuman), a successful actress, musician and model who has a romance problem and journeys to Bali with Arya, a photographer who has a similar problem with his wife. This leads them to share their journeys while also meeting people with life lessons on the way.

Directed by Viva Westi, the film has strong cinematography, capturing an interesting and exotic natural background and meaningful dialogue written by poets Emha Ainun Najib and Viva Westi.

The Raid
This is an action film at its best. Gareth Evans successfully directed a thrilling and mesmerizing film that pushes one’s adrenaline. The Raid has a simple story about a group of special forces centered on the character Rama (Iko Uwais).

The group is initially trying to raid a building in order to arrest a mafia boss. When things start to stutter, they’re trapped in the building and have to fight their way out.

Filled with the local martial art silat, as the foundation of the fighting choreography, a powerful cast, mind-blowing action, and a fitting soundtrack, The Raid has made a name for itself globally as potentially one of the best action films to emerge from the country.

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