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3 user 18 critic

Sekala Niskala (2017)

A young girl seeks out imaginative ways to cope with the death of her twin brother.

Director:

Kamila Andini

Writer:

Kamila Andini
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6 wins & 10 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview:
Thaly Titi Kasih Thaly Titi Kasih ... Tantri
Ida Bagus Putu Radithya Mahijasena Ida Bagus Putu Radithya Mahijasena ... Tantra
Ayu Laksmi Ayu Laksmi ... Ibu
Ketut Rina Ketut Rina ... Ayah
Happy Salma Happy Salma ... Suster Ida
Ni Gusti Ayu Putu Raka Suryaningsih Ni Gusti Ayu Putu Raka Suryaningsih ... Nenek
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Storyline

One day in a hospital room, 10-year-old Tantri realises she will not have much more time with her twin brother Tantra. Tantra's brain is weakening and he has begun to lose his senses one by one. He now spends most of his time lying in bed, while Tantri has to accept the reality that she must soon face life alone. This situation opens up something in Tantri's mind: she keeps waking up in the middle of the night from a dream and seeing Tantra. The night becomes their playground. Tantri experiences a magical journey and an emotional relationship through body expressions, finding herself between reality and imagination, loss and hope. Written by filmindonesia.or.id

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Genres:

Drama

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Details

Language:

Indonesian | Balinese

Release Date:

8 March 2018 (Indonesia) See more »

Also Known As:

The Seen and Unseen See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Color:

Color
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Trivia

World premiere at Toronto International Film Festival, 16 September 2017. Selected for Platform section. See more »

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User Reviews

 
A dreamlike tale of childhood
23 October 2018 | by howard.schumannSee all my reviews

"I feel like I am the moon, so bright. But after a while, the brightness is fading away" - Tantra

The Persian poet Rumi said, "The nature of reality is this: It is hidden, and it is hidden, and it is hidden" In Bali, Sekala and Niskala refer to the everyday world we see through our senses and the deeper reality hidden from our conscious vision. Translated into English as The Seen and Unseen, Indonesian director Kamila Andini's ("The Mirror Never Lies") haunting second feature poetically explores both worlds through the vision of the twins, Tantri (Thaly Titi Kasih) and Tantra (Ida Bagus Putu Radithya Mahijasena), her 10-year-old brother. The inseparable siblings are referred to in Balinese culture as "buncing" (boy-and-girl) twins, a symbol of "balance" in which they "complete each other."

In The Seen and the Unseen, Andini evokes a dreamlike tale of childhood that suggests the influence of Indonesian director Apichatpong Weerasethakul whose films of death and rebirth live on the border between the objective world and that of the spirit. Eliciting strikingly real performances from the child actors, the film explores the influence of tradition, the innocence of childhood, and the emotional strength required to cope with trauma. Revealed to be suffering from a brain tumor that is slowly shutting down his body, the film opens as Tantra is being moved to a hospital bed as sister Tantri and mother Ibu (Ayu Laksmi) look on, displaying profound grief.

In flashback, we see the twins running through the fields, planting rice, and Tantra providing eggs for Tantri to cook. Though she does not like egg yolks and he dislikes the whites, in a scene that seems to foretell the future, Tantri peels a boiled egg, but there is no yolk inside. When her parents move to the city to make sure that Tantra is provided with the best care, Tantri is left to seek her brother in her imagination. Shown from Tantri's point of view and enhanced by the music of Yasuhiro Morinaga, the film finds its center in the world of images using mystical songs, poems, and dances from the Balinese culture to express the sibling's emotional distress.

Helping to bring the film's mystical elements to life, the cinematography of Anggi Frisca provides a balance between the two aspects of reality as exhibited in a stunning "moon" sequence in which we see a full moon, a bamboo tower, and a spirit dancer. Making use of shadows, Tantri stages a puppet show from behind his hospital bed, singing about the moon goddess Ratih and the headless demon Kala Rawu. Ultimately, Tantri is only able to fully express her rage by dressing as a monkey using leaves and branches and performing a wild and uninhibited "Totentanz," a dance of death. In the dream world, a heartbroken Tantri tells her brother, "If only I could replace you, I'm willing to feel the pain. I'm willing to be sick," but the universe, which is always perfect, has other plans.


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