Here’s a genuine oddity: a clinical study of the modern Indonesian family told over three interlocking chapters in three seemingly incompatible genres. As Ramadan comes to an end, a trio of siblings – closeted homosexual Ragil, ladies’ man Raga and troubled, sarcastic sister Ade – meet at their father’s house for a fast-breaking feast. When the meal is over, all three go their separate ways, and the film splinters accordingly.
The first chapter, a realist drama in which Ragil wonders how to break the truth to his father, is the weakest: the characterisation is great, but the lack of incident frustrates. The second part is simply stunning, as a late-night encounter shatters the mood and sends Ade into a spiralling nightmare of mistrust and violence. The third chapter is hard to pin down: it’s part social satire, part romcom and part dramatic tragedy, always watchable if wildly uneven.
Which could be said for the film as a whole: the best scenes here – most of which involve Ade, her mother, a Stanley knife and a banana tree – are truly striking: fans of old-school, out-of-your-skin shocks are urged to seek this out. And if a certain cultural subtlety is perhaps lost in translation, the film as a whole is unique and fascinating.
Cast and crew
Vino G Bastian