Celebrating 11 Years of Screening Southeast Asian Cinema 2004-2015
Wednesday, October 28, 2015 at 6:30pm
St. John Plant Science Lab Auditorium Rm 11
Indonesia (2007, 120 min)
Indonesian w/English subtitles
Director: Joko Anwar
Screenplay: Joko Anwar
Music: Haris Khaseli & Aghi Narottama
Cinematography: Rahmat Syaiful
Film Editing: Wawan I. Wibowo
Cast: Donny Alamsyah (as the Henchman Leader), Fachry Albar (as Janus), Ario Bayu (as Eros),
Fahrani (as Ranti), Shanty (as Sari), Sujiwo Tejo (as Ronggoweni), Frans Tumbuan (as Bambang Sutrisno), Agung Udijana (as Bimo)
“It’s at Bendonowongso Hill, before the seven-step temple…” Whispered words on a tape recording–from a woman who dies in a traffic accident soon after she speaks them – are the key to a supernatural mystery in director Joko Anwar’s absorbing thriller. The period and setting are not specified, but the film noir atmosphere and styles of clothing and transport strongly suggest the police-state Indonesia of Suharto’s heyday; this is that rarest of genre movies, a ghost story with a political subtext–complete with police brutality, vigilante mobs, bureaucratic stonewalling, governmental corruption and an increasingly cowed and repressed general public, not to mention a series of gruesome deaths.
Actually, the film traverses genres as confidently and unpredictably as Hong Kong movies once did, here evoking Costa-Gavras, there evoking Highlander. One of its two protagonists is a relatively clean-cut, uncomplicated hero (he’s an honest cop who lives up to his name: Eros) but the other is as unconventional as they come: a harried journalist named Janus, who succumbs to narcolepsy whenever he’s stressed or frightened. Janus has just been divorced by his wife and is about to lose his job at the newspaper; just as his life is falling apart, people around him start dying strange deaths. This is Joko Anwar’s second movie as director, and it suggests a talent at the top of his game. KALA is seriously entertaining. – VIFF
The CSEAS Film Series is hosted by the Center for Southeast Asian Studies, University of Hawai’i, in support of the course ASAN 491G Cinema of Southeast Asia. Partial funding to purchase the films comes from the U.S. Dept. of Education and generous contributions from our loyal film fans.