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Rainbow Troops (Laskar Pelangi)

Laskar Pelangi image
Wednesday, November 18
Korean Studies Auditorium 6:30 PM

Laskar Pelangi, is a film adaptation of Andrea Hirata’s best-selling literary work based on his childhood memories that first appeared on shelves in 2004. Set on the Sumatran island of Belitong, the film opens with the adult Ikal returning to his birthplace after a number of years away. From there it flashes back his first day at school, with two teachers — Muslimah and Harfan — who have been eagerly waiting for students to enroll at their decrepit Islamic primary school. Since the district school board has already declared that their little school must close if it doesn’t meet the ten-student minimum, this particular day is obviously a nervous affair for both teachers. Fortunately, ten students (mostly children of poor laborers) do sign up, forming a small enclave of first-graders christened by Muslimah as “The Rainbow Troops.” Besides Ikal, the eclectic group comprises an assortment of characters — mainly Lintang, a fisherman’s son who turns out to be a genius and Mahar, a musically obsessed dreamer who is never without a radio by his side.

Five years pass, and the majority of the film takes place in the student’s fateful fifth grade, chronicling the ups and downs of the Rainbow Troops through the eyes of young Ikal. The film’s sensitivity captures the struggles of marginalized citizens to achieve their dreams and the beauty of friendship and its ability to save humanity, all set against the background of what was once one of Indonesia’s richest islands.

A fave at the Asian Film Awards and the Berlin International Film Festival, 2009.

-Miles Films


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