Italian cinephiles received a taste of Indonesian filmmaking through 11 movies screened at the first Indonesian-only film festival held in Rome.
The four-day festival, titled Indonesian Cinema Days, was held at Cinema Farnese in Rome’s Campo de’ Fiori district from Thursday to Monday.
The 11 films screened at the festival were curated by artistic director Italo Spinelli, a noted film director familiar with Indonesian cinema.
The chosen films are A Copy of My Mind, Kucumbu Tubuh Indahku (Memories of My Body), Da’wah, Mata Tertutup (The Blindfold), Athirah, Banda the Dark Forgotten Trail, Istirahatlah Kata-kata (Solo, Solitude), Sekala Niskala (The Seen and Unseen), Marlina Si Pembunuh dalam Empat Babak (Marlina the Murderer in Four Acts), Nyai A Woman from Java, and Ada Apa Dengan Cinta? 2 (What’s Up With Cinta? 2).
The festival was attended by actress Ayu Laksmi representing Sekala Niskala, actor Christoffer Nelwan representing Athirah and producer Anastasia Rina Damayanti representing director Garin Nugroho’s films.
Christoffer said Athirah, which was screened on Friday, had received an enthusiastic response from the local crowd, noting that many of them uttered the words “magnifico” and “bravo” as they exited the cinema.
“As an Indonesian, I’m very proud to see the warm appreciation from local cinemagoers. With this event, I hope Indonesian film will also be appreciated more by Indonesians,” Christoffer told The Jakarta Post in a phone chat on Monday.
Film talk: Actress Ayu Laksmi, actor Christoffer Nelwan and producer Anastasia Rina Damayanti join a discussion held as part of the film festival. (Courtesy of Indonesian Embassy in Italy/-)
Christoffer also served as a panelist during a talk show on the film industry, speaking with the perspective of someone from the younger generation on issues like the increasing digitalization and improving technology for young filmmakers.
Rina was also happy about the enthusiasm expressed at the festival – and to see The Blindfold make it to the list of curated movies.
“With this festival, many of the movies also focused on Garin Nugroho and his diverse styles of storytelling, from the simple and realistic approach in The Blindfold to the experimental 90-minute one-take in Nyai, A Woman from Java, as well as his most recent Memories of My Body, which was embroiled in controversy regarding LGBT issues,” she told the Post.
“This has been an incredible appreciation that also shows the world-class quality of Indonesian art films.”
Along with the screenings, the festival also held a discussion on recent political, economic and cultural developments in Indonesia by professors Romeo Orlandi of Bologna University, Antonia Soriente of Napoli L’Orientale University and journalist Emanuele Giordana.
The festival is part of the celebrations surrounding 70 years of diplomatic relations between Indonesia and Italy. It was organized by the Indonesian Embassy in Rome and the Ministry of Education and Culture’s Center for Film Development along with the Joint Cultural Initiative.
Indonesian Ambassador to Italy Esti Andayani said in her opening remarks that she was elated to see the first Indonesian-only film festival held in Rome.
“I hope that, through the screenings, Italians can learn more about Indonesia, which will enable future cooperation across all departments,” Esti said.
Giada, a festival attendee, expressed her amazement at the movies she watched. “The films are really interesting and have a special message for the viewers. I asked my Italian friends to come and watch the movies.” (ste)
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