Jermal (Ravi Bharwani/Rayya Makarim/Orlow Seunke, Indonesia, 2008)
What I mostly hate from Indonesian movies are where every character sounds articulative or smart enough to express their feelings. No matter what their flaws, the main characters are almost always appealing in some way, or even try to appeal us. And if they are lonely, their alienation is grand and alluring. Ravi Bharwani and the gang strip away those idealizations and asks us to spend time with genuinely unromantic characters leading genuinely unsympathetic lives. A boy was sent to a little port to meet his real father, after his mother’s death. His father’s (Didi Petet) life is secluded because of a crime he did in the past regarding triangle love story among him, the boy’s mother, and another guy.
Rather than accepting the boy, the father urges the boy to live and lead the same life as other boys work in that little port. Emotion comes from the laughter and experiences of the boy who tries to learn the work ethic in his new place, because some experiences couldn’t be said, what is seen enough is enough.
To this day, the kids acting are the most natural, also the most interesting of an Indonesian movie (move aside Garin, with your Daun diatas Bantal). Ravi Bharwani surely is the best-kept secret in Indonesian film.
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