Science of Fictions (Hiruk-pikuk si al-kisah, Yosep Anggi Noen, -2019): Indonesia

Reviewed by Brittany Carriger- Viewed at AFI Fest 2019

I am partial to any film that uses cobalt blue in the mise -en-scene as much as this film does. It is visually stunning. As a self proclaimed cinephile I was overwhelmed by the irony of having seen a film that focuses so heavily on the faking of the moon landing, right after having engage in a conversation with my college over whether the rumors were true of Kubrick’s involvement in the hoax. Even so there is a heavy 2001 Space Oddessy influence that can be found in the film’s  pacing and use if music.

The film takes place in modern times, yet it does seem ancient. It traces the story of a dancer, played by renowned South East Asian leading man Asmara Abigail, after his tongue is cut out, and he is made mute  by foreign armed militia. The film chronicles his finding his way back to his creative freedom. Much of the film Abigail can be seen walking incredibly slowly, as if he were in zero gravity. This is surely a reflection of his training as this technique is recognizable in Japanese style Kabuki theater.

It is, in my opinion the performances from Abigail that steals the heart. He can be compared to a modern day Buster Keaton in the expressiveness of his face through out his performance. Noen is very insightful in his presentation of our reliance upon what we see in a frame to help us to verify if something is real. From his use of Go-pro footage to the storytelling device of a camera crew that pops up periodically in the film. Even the final scene is phones out looking directly at us. It causes us to ask the questions: What is real, What do we see: real life or memory?

This films pacing is steady, but not typical to a western drama in speed. It will require a painters eye, and is certainly for a person who might be partial to French impressionist films.

At the very least, you must see this film for the space ship constructed of dishwashers and microwaves.



About this entry