Looking at an Indonesian Cinematic Experience “Through the Lens”

Arguably, no other festivals offer a more close-knit and inclusive audience engagement than a film festival – and it is easy to see why. Held on Thursday, 28th March 2018 from 5:30 P.M. to 9:00 P.M. at Forum Theatre PAR-Arts West at the University of Melbourne, Through the Lens allows movie enthusiasts and avid moviegoers an exclusive screening session for some of their own Short Film Competition winning screenplay. Among the media partners and moviegoers, you can also see students gathering up for the screening session. The panelists consisting of Mrs. Siobhan Jackson and Mr. Andrew O’Keefe share their expertise on the discussion while Mr. Arsisto Ambyo moderates the evening panel. With the lights dimmed, the evening is set to begin.

The first screening of the evening is a short film titled “I Am Zal”, a short film of an Albino Iranian boy who struggles with his everyday lives both in his family and school environment. It tells about how his family is ashamed of him and how he is alienated by his friends in school. His only light is the fact that he gets to play as the main character in the upcoming school drama named “Zal”. But now, he might even lose the chance to play as “Zal”. The raw emotion captured in the film truly is something else. Mrs. Siobhan comments on how the pure raw emotion of the story moves the heart of all the audiences, making it even more relatable. There is truly no unnecessary frill and touch up on the whole movie, making it feel even closer to reality. The prejudice experienced by the boy is presented in all its entirety – and it works just fine.

The second screening is the movie “Sepatu Baru” by Mr. Aditya Ahmad. This short film has been chosen as the winner of Short Film Competition and was originally made as a last year university project by Mr. Aditya – talk about a welcomed twist! The story is inspired by the mythical belief of that throwing your underpants onto the roof will help stop the rain. The anonymous girl in the movie simply wishes to wear her new shoes outside and is willing to do anything to stop the rain – even when it means believing in a fallible myth. Audiences were kept in suspense throughout the beginning of the movie as they do not know what the girl is doing until the ending comes. It is a clever use of folklore in a movie and it is sure to put a smile on your face. It is not surprising that laughter can be heard echoing throughout the room at the end while the panelists are left smiling to themselves.

There are many more surprises in store in the 2019 Indonesian Film Festival. This year’s theme, An Enchantment of Authenticity, promises a lineup of original and bold movie selections that is sure to satisfy your inner moviegoer spirit. So come on down and join in the fun. After all, it only comes once a year!

Text and photo: Edward Tanoto