2009 marked another promising turn for Indonesian cinema. Filmmakers in the country released more than 100 titles, an encouraging number for a once-dead industry. But this year has not just ben about quantity: A variety of films from different genres provided movie buffs a much-needed breath of fresh air.
Although the selection was still dominated by horror flicks and slapstick comedies, we also saw a war movie, “Merah Putih” (Red and White), a martial-arts flick, “Merantau” and a village mafia quintet in “Serigala Terakhir” (Last Wolf). These bold films moved both the heard and mind.
The following lists are as objective as such a list can be.
4. Identitas (Identity)
Directed by Aria Kusumadewa, “Identitas” chronicles the story of Adam, an introverted forensics officer at a Jakarta hospital. Adam (Tio Pakusadewo), who finds companionship in the corpses in the hospital morgue, lives in a house owned by his father. But the house is not legally in his family’s name, which brings about all sorts of problems for Adam.
At the same time, he tries to help a young woman with insurance issues related to her ill father, and soon finds himself taking on the mayor. The young woman is murdered, and Adam tries to save her body from being sold for academic research.
“Identitas” is a powerful portrayal of how brutal society can be for the lower classes, with the rich and powerful determining the fate of all. In independent film, the movie relies heavily on and character interaction, which adds to the movie’s authenticity and successful depiction of the dark truth of the city.