Contemporary World Cinema | 2015 | 116 minutes
Stranger Says: A movie-crazy Jakartan salon worker strikes up a romance with a handsome subtitler of cruddy bootleg DVDs. Things take a grim turn, however, when they accidentally watch the wrong clip. The plot proper may take way too long (over an hour!) to get started, but the two leads are pretty terrific throughout, particularly Tara Basro, as a woman who refuses to take even the smallest iota of shit. She makes the final minutes both linger and sting. (ANDREW WRIGHT)
SIFF Says:Sari works in a third rate beauty salon and spends her evenings at home in a cramped and dark room watching pirated films, while Alek ekes out a living producing subtitles for illegal DVDs. When Sari complains about the poor quality of the subtitles to her regular DVD dealer, he passes her on to Alek to deal with. Soon these two are not just watching films together, but becoming romantically involved. Meanwhile Sari has found a new job at a more upscale beauty salon. Her new boss asks her to give a facial to high-profile convict in prison—and one of his best customers—Mrs. Mirna. Being a “special prisoner,” Mrs. Mirna is afforded the luxuries of an air conditioner, fridge, home theater, and a DVD collection in her cell. When Sari steals a DVD from Mrs. Mirna, mistakenly believing it to be a monster movie, she comes to find out that it contains evidence of political corruption in a presidential campaign. Soon enough Mrs. Mirna notices the DVD has gone missing from her shelf, and Sari and Alek become ensnared in the web of lies and deceit to cover up the conspiracy. Director Joko Anwar conveys the political and social turmoil faced by so many in Jakarta, and how two people deal with the systemic corruption and inequality of the Indonesian government.
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