Monday, October 17, 2022

Missing Home

Indonesian cinema has not made much of a mark in North America, but keep your eye on it.  They are professional and choosing interesting subjects.

 Expectations, whether they are met or exceeded are key to a film.  My feeling was "Ngeri Ngeri Sedap" (Missing Home 2022)  would be okay, but not extraordinary.  It started out as a comedy.  A married couple were frustrated they were unable to persuade their three sons to come home for a celebration of their Grandmother.  They argued in front of their daughter and in their minds joking about divorce got a strong reaction.  They concocted a way to convince the sons to come home.  They persuaded their daughter that they were serious about a divorce and she phoned her brothers who all trusted her.

We are all anticipating a comedy and for awhile it fits.  The husband and wife did develop a routine that was pretty convincing, BUT the film turned deadly serious.

We learn some of the dynamics that drove the brothers away and later learn all is not well with their sister either. One brother married a woman of a different ethnicity.  Another brother pursued a career as a comic film actor.  The youngest brother had traditionally been expected to take care of his parents in their old age, but had moved abroad.  The daughter seemed reasonably content, but we learn she was not happy.  They could have found some comic mechanism for a reconciliation, but it really took some soul searching and outspoken family criticisms.

There is not a lot of information readily available on cast and crew, but they are spreading outward.  The following names are likely to be more visible in the future.

Benee Dion Rajagukguk originally wrote the novel, then given the opportunity he wrote the script and  directed.  His background includes being an actor and director as well as a script writer.

Music is by Vicky Sianipar and cinematography is by Padri Nadeak.

Aline Jusria was the editor.  Her film credits include "Ali & the Queens" (2021) with Indonesian and English dialogue and set in New York.

Arswendy Bening Swara with 43 acting credits plays the father who at first seems like a fun loving husband who loves his kids, but we do see another side to him soon enough and at the end he goes through some soul searching.

Tika Panggabean played the mother.  She was in "Ali & the Queens" (2021)  She speaks four languages.

The three sons were played by Boris Bokir, Ghita Bhebhita and Lolox while the daughter was played by Indra Jegel.

Foreign films can be educational.  Indonesia is the world's largest Muslim nation although India actually has more Muslims, but is not considered a Muslim nation.  There are many ethnic groups and languages in Indonesia.  I was confused when I heard a reference to Sudanese, but checking it turns out it refers to a group that is sometimes called Sunda and amounts to about 15% of the total population.  They are not to be confused with the Sudanese Africans.

This is a mature film that explores family dynamics of a traditional family that is modernizing.  Much of the world is going through such a transition and to some extent we in the "western world" are part of the process.

Another set of Indonesian films would surprise most Westerners:

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