...And the Moon Dances

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A young man and woman, both from troubled backgrounds, come to Surakarta to study under Waluyo, a master of traditional Javanese arts. The boy, Ilalang, wants to write music but seems trapped in memories of childhood traumas; the girl, Bulan (= Moon), is simply trying to find herself. The suppressed violence which haunts their lives - which, the film implies, may be endemic in Indonesian society - surfaces when their master dies in an accidental fire. Nugroho's exquisite film doesn't tell a story so much as it explores ambiguities of mood, texture, light and meaning. There's nothing folksy or 'Third World' about this daringly modernist film which uses a rich sound design to point up submerged emotional truths.

By: TR

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