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Shape of the Moon (2004)
"Stand van de maan" (original title)

7.4
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Ratings: 7.4/10 from 168 users  
Reviews: 1 user | 5 critic

Three generations of one family weather the challenges of living in modern-day Indonesia, the largest Muslim community on the globe.

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Title: Shape of the Moon (2004)

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Three generations of one family weather the challenges of living in modern-day Indonesia, the largest Muslim community on the globe.

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6 January 2005 (Netherlands)  »

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Shape of the Moon  »

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A unique and wonderful documentary about modern Indonesia
17 September 2006 | by (Australia) – See all my reviews

I'm surprised this film isn't more well known, at least judging from the lack of information shown here. This is the story of Christian family living in Indonesia - their daily struggles, the world they live in. Nothing stunningly dramatic happens but every scene is utterly compelling and even the smallest exchange sheds light on their situation, the characters, and the society as a whole. It has a wider political and religious context but for me the personal story is what it's all about. These are people we get to know and love. You really have to see it to understand.

The plight of Christians in Indonesia is to be always just a little on the outs - not necessarily discriminated against but just never quite part of the mainstream, sometimes not able to join in with the activities of the majority. This means the family in this film is looking at Indonesian society at a slight remove at times and this is fascinating. But they're also just poor people trying to get by and do the best for each other in difficult circumstances. They're sometimes comical, sometimes not even admirable - but they really get under your skin.

This seems like a wonderful old-fashioned observational style documentary - and it is, but it's also just as much an essay film, juxtaposing ideas and images in sophisticated ways to build up a picture, a stream of ideas. It's bold, and not afraid of using technique, and some people will call this 'showy' - I call it brave and entertaining. Visually, this is a fascinating film, full of clever shots and strange angles - all of which allows you to see reality, and the reality of the characters' lives, in a new way.


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