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huaiyen

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6 out of 6 people found the following review useful:
Funny, troubling and familiar...a great film about Indonesia and universal themes., 24 January 2012
9/10

I'm not going to debate whether or not this is a "documentary." Because there must obviously be some scripting, in some ways it probably more closely resembles (shudder) so-called reality TV. But I don't mean to denigrate it in any way by that observation. Essentially, this film is the third in a trilogy that follows a three-generation family over the course of many years, documenting their little and big squabbles and the events that unfold in their lives.

Without getting too much into the plot, this third film's focus seems to be on Tari, the granddaughter who is graduating from high school. It's true that some of the characters aren't 100% likable, but really, who is always likable? Having watched all three films, I found it interesting how most of the characters didn't change at all - the exception being Tari.

van de Sterren has the eye of a photographer coupled with the soul of a storyteller. There's definitely a very composed look to each shot and often it is very breathtaking and vivid. He also seamlessly weaves together related stories/vignettes with beautiful visual transitions so that the whole film feels like a coherent whole despite there not really being a traditional plot. I really loved how there would often be a visual comparison between the human behavior & then cut to a similar insect or animal behaviors. I found this to be not only very tongue-in-cheek but also a nice way to provide a very subtle commentary without talking down to the audience. His humor provided a nice contrast to some of the grim, depressing realities of life in Indonesia.

I lived in Jakarta many years ago and the film is very true-to-life. In fact, it brought back not only memories, but the cadence, smells and ethos of the country. Impressive.