Love story shines light on political turbulence

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Love story shines light on political turbulence

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Joko Anwar

BUSAN - In Joko Anwar’s latest film “A Copy of My Mind”, the precarious lives of youngsters in Jakarta intersect sharply with the political turmoil in Indonesia, particularly around the 2014 presidential election.

At its core, the film - which was invited to this year’s Busan International Film Festival’s “A Window on Asian Cinema” section - is a romantic love story of Sari, a young woman who works at a facial massage shop and Alex, a young man who makes subtitles for pirate DVDs.

But at the same time, it is a socially conscious film that shows the lives of this humble couple whose lives are dismantled when a DVD obtained by Sari turns out to contain footage of highly controversial transactions between high-profile political figures.

In addition to plots inspired by real incidents, the film captures every nook and cranny of contemporary Jakarta, from the back alley of a village that houses a cluster of shabby cottages and the sounds of Muslim prayers that are repeated every dawn.

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A still from “A Copy Of My Mind.” Provided by the festival

Mostly filmed on location with some 20 staff in less than 10 days, the film is a very raw reflection of Jakarta, being “authentic,” “realistic” and “organic”, according to Anwar.

It is the fourth time Anwar, one of the most renowned directors in Indonesia, has visited Busan, including his last visit in 2014 which earned him an award of $10,000 from CJ Entertainment for his project of the then-unfinished “A Copy Of My Mind.”

Anwar says he wanted to make the film a “time capsule”, during an interview with the Korea JoongAng Daily in Busan.

“I wanted to portray the mind of Jakarta. It was intended to be a time capsule to show how people lived today,” he said.

The mind that Anwar had to portray however wasn’t pleasant all the time.

“The last two years have been turbulent years for Indonesians. While we didn’t have a physical clash in supporting the presidential candidate, we had very bad clash mentally and ideally. It split the country in half,” he said,.

He said many of his acquaintances went through divorces or cut off friendships because of disagreements in politics.

However, because of the clashes, Anwar says, Indonesians have become more aware of the politics and he believes his film will have critical meaning in the future.

“Most Indonesians became aware of the politics last year in particular and now we make decisions on how we want to support the government.

“The results, we wouldn’t know. However, 10 years from now, if we want to look back on what we did, if the society has become better or worse, what we did wrong and right, they can look through it in this film,” he said.

Anwar said he intends to make a trilogy out of this film where the two that follow will have the titles of ‘A Copy of My Soul” and “A Copy of My Heart.”

With young people living in contemporary Jakarta as the penetrating theme, the trilogy is intended as a “love letter to Jakarta,” he says.

Also another film titled “Eksekutors,” which will be a politics-conscious film, is slated to open next year in his home country.

The BIFF runs until Oct. 10.

BY JIN EUN-SOO [jin.eunsoo@joongang.co.kr]
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