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Plaza Indonesia Film Festival shouts for love

A. Kurniawan Ulung

The Jakarta Post

Jakarta  /  Mon, February 26, 2018  /  08:37 am
Plaza Indonesia Film Festival shouts for love

I see you: A scene from Kamila Andini’s Sekala Niskala: The Seen and Unseen, which opened the Plaza Indonesia Film Festival. ( Team)

Although the month of love is coming to an end, it is never too late to celebrate love through movies.

Director Kamila Andini cannot hide her gratitude for her critically acclaimed film, Sekala Niskala: The Seen and Unseen, the first full-length Indonesian film to win Best Picture in the Generation KPlus category at the prestigious Berlin International Film Festival in Germany.

In the run-up to its nationwide release on March 8, 29 communities in 25 cities — from Medan in North Sumatra to Ambon in Maluku — will hold discussions and screenings of her previous movies until March 6, including her much-lauded debut The Mirror Never Lies.  

“I am very happy, because these films will be discussed together and [the views] do not come from their makers only,” the daughter of renowned director Garin Nugroho wrote on her Instagram account, @kamilandini.    

Sekala Niskala was the opener of the Plaza Indonesia Film Festival (PIFF) that runs until March 2 at Plaza Indonesia shopping center in Central Jakarta. This film tells the story of Tantri (Ni Kadek Thaly Titi Kasih) who always stays by the side of her twin, Tantra (Ida Bagus Putu Radithya Mahijasena). 

Other selected local films are Hanung Bramantyo’s The Gift, Pritagita Arianegara’s Laut Bercerita (The Sea Speaks His Name) and Emil Heradi’s Night Bus, the winner for the Best Picture award at the 2017 Indonesian Film Festival (FFI).

Curated by curator-collective Pabrikultur, the nine films, which are free to watch during the festival, vary in genres and languages, but they have one thing in common — celebrating love.

“Love is a universal thing, always interesting for discussion and it inspires everyone who feels it,” Plaza Indonesia public relations manager Quartantyo Yoga Utomo said.  

He added that Sekala Niskala was chosen as the festival opener because people could not wait any longer to watch it, thanks to its accolades. 

Other than local films, the PIFF is also screening five award-winning foreign movies, including Loving Vincent, the world’s first fully painted feature biopic that is nominated for Oscar for Best Animated Feature Film.

Like Sekala Niskala, Loving Vincent is about love in kinship, portraying life after the death of famed painter Vincent van Gogh (Robert Gulaczyk) with his last letter to his loved brother, Theo (Cezary Lukaszewicz).

The festival also features workshops and open clinics for visitors who are interested in breaking into the film industry.

On the first day of PIFF, Reza Rahadian, a four-time FFI winner, shared his knowledge and skills in an acting clinic with senior actress Christine Hakim.

On Wednesday, director Mouly Surya, who stole last year’s spotlight for her brilliant drama, Marlina The Murderer in Four Acts, taught directing at a directing clinic, teaming up with director Lucky Kuswandi, whose film, The Fox Exploits The Tiger’s Might, competed at the Cannes Film Festival in 2015. 

The clinic for scriptwriting took place on Friday and featured stand-up comedian and director Ernest Prakasa, who took home the Best Director trophy at FFI last year for his comedy flick Cek Toko Sebelah (Check the Store Next Door), which grabbed over 2.6 million viewers. 

Those clinics were appreciated by Patriot Film Bekasi community founder M. Rizky Kurnia as they accommodated those who wanted to be filmmakers. 

He is also a fan of Kamila’s films and he cannot wait to watch Sekala Niskala. For him, it is one of the most anticipated Indonesian movies of 2018, and he has put it on his watch-list.  

Being aware of many people who have yet to watch Kamila’s films, he screened them at the office of the Bekasi Embassy community in Bekasi, West Java, on Saturday. 

“I have observed how Kamila developed through her movies,” he said. “Every film that she made is women-centric and it is interesting to watch not only for women, but for men as well.”