As an expressive medium, short films in Indonesia are far from the prying eyes of censorship boards, and also far from market demands. This allows short films to thrive, not only as grounds for wild experimentation, but also as articulations of radical condor. In fact, until today, various dark episodes–from anti-communist massacres in 1966-1967 to military aggression in Papua and East Timor–are more widely and fluently discussed in short films. The alternative screen becomes a sanctuary for those of us who wish to acknowledge all the trauma and sorrow of our being together.

This compilation presents films that narrate Indonesia through a face of scars. These films are also the face of Indonesia in various international film festivals. Perhaps this is a call from history. Three of the five films in this compilation are painfully connected to the 1998 Reformation–a moment that toppled three decades of military dictatorship, which in the process silenced many of the minority groups and brought forth the Indonesia we know today. Vania on Lima Street highlights this complexity by facing the innocence of a girl amidst a city in full of chaos. The Rootless Bloom and Sawo Matang explore a similar thread, albeit through a more intimate scope. One is about a family, while the other is a teenage love story.

Basiyat: Bathe My Corpse With Wine and Basri & Salma in a Never-ending Comedy serve as an afterword and afterward of the 1998 Reformation. Both of them encapsulates history of violence and efforts to marginalise “the different”. The desire to control others emerges in Basri & Salma, who yearn for a peaceful life free from pressure and intervention. Meanwhile, Basiyat reflects on a natural end of life, that is sadly being rattled by stigma and conflicts of belief.

These films are the histories of our togetherness. These films are the face of Indonesia.

This programme is co-curated by Jakarta Film Week and CinemAsia Film Festival.


Jakarta Film Week x CinemAsia: The Histories of Us

Vania on Lima Street

Bayu Prihantoro Filemon | 2022 | 24’ | Indonesia | Language: Indonesian

Vania lives with her grandmother in a Chinese medical store. On a quiet night, while she is left alone to tend the store, she finds an injured thief running away from mobs. Finding courage, she takes in the thief into the store and begins to treat her secretly.


Basri & Salma in a Never-ending Comedy

Khozy Rizal | 2023 | 15’ | Indonesia | Language: Indonesian

Basri and Salma, a husband and wife spend their days entertaining and taking care of other people’s children without any of their own. Between meddling relatives, self-doubt, and an explosive confrontation, they uncover why they have not been blessed with a child.


The Rootless Bloom

Rein Maychaelson | 2023 | 15’ | Indonesia | Language: Indonesian

As their parents’ divorce looms, siblings Jena and Cindy are asked to choose between their parents. Amid their parents’ fierce arguments, Jena and Cindy decide to run away from home and revisit and cherish their happy childhood memories in the city where they grew up.


Basiyat: Bathe My Corpse With Wine

Ahmad Faiz | 2022 | 19’ | Indonesia | Language: Madura

Sarmadin’s final wish is to have his corpse bathed in wine and be accompanied by the beats of the saronèn as he is prepared for burial, alongside the slaughtering of his son’s cow to celebrate his passing. However, fulfilling these requests presents a dilemma, as they challenge both tradition and the Shari’a.


Sawo Matang

Andrea Nirmala Widjajanto | 2022 | 21’ | Indonesia, Canada, USA | Language: Indonesian

In a speculative post-New Order Jakarta, Pribumi Indonesians are allowed to perform the black magic ritual “Babi Ngepet” to balance their economy against Chinese Indonesians. When Kai, a Chinese Indonesian boy, needs money for university, he asks his best friend Nala, a Pribumi girl, to perform the ritual for him.

Lux Nijmegen - Sun 12 May, 19:30


Mariënburg 38 – 39
6511 PS Nijmegen

Program Duration
94 mins