The Seen and Unseen
Gateway | Dragons & Tigers
Children and their imaginative subconscious are explored with great finesse in one of the most haunting Asian films in years. Kamila Andini is living proof that the most exhilarating female voices in Asian cinema are coming out of Indonesia and are resonating around the world. Having wowed audiences with her gorgeously shot coming-of-age directorial debut The Mirror Never Lies (VIFF 11), Andini delves deeper into her cultural roots to create a simpler, yet even more ravishing mindscape.
Ten-year-old Tantri is hospitalized for a brain tumour; his twin sister Tantra tries to cope by reliving their happier days frolicking in their rural hometown. Through stories enacted by shadow puppets, the siblings reunite in a magical realm at night when spirits come alive. Reflecting the influence of classical Javanese music-and-dance films by her father Garin Nugroho (not so much the influence of Apichatpong Weerasethakul, as some critics misconstrue), Andini draws on Indonesian mythical creatures and their representations in dance to conjure dream sequences of ineffable grace. The film won top prize in the Berlinale’s Generation K-plus section and shared the Grand Prix with compatriot Mouly Surya at the Tokyo FILMeX Festival.
"As a reflection of humanity’s attempts to process the world around us, a child’s wide-eyed face proves one of cinema’s standout recurrent images."—Sarah Ward, Screen
Grand Prize, Generation Kplus, Berlin 18