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Indonesia, 1991 (MIFF 1992)

Director: Garin Nugroho

Garin Nugroho's directorial debut, Love on a Slice of Bread, is one of the most unusual films ever made in Indonesia; a modem love story which has a new psychological complexi­ty for Indonesian cinema, a progressive and positive approach to the representation of women, and an openness to formal experimen­tation not often seen in Indonesian cinema.

A young couple, Mayang (who writes a personal advice column in a women's maga­zine), and her husband, Harris, set out on a holiday travelling through Java by car. Topan, a photographer and childhood friend of Mayang, joins them at the last moment when he misses his train.

The film mixes more straightforward nar­rative with poetry, with voice-overs from the radio, and with (sound) collages from Walt Disney and even from children's toys, in depicting the crisis in their lives. As in the films of Antonioni, a relatively unstructured journey becomes the space in which the crisis opens up, and like Antonioni, Nugroho focus­es on male inadequacy.

Essentially the film is a set of reflections on what young people might want from sex and from intimacy and closeness, partly told from the woman's point of view. As we go to press, we hear that while the film won top prize at the 1991 Indonesian Film Festival, it has been banned by the Singapore censors, apparently on the grounds that it inappropriately repre­sents sexuality in an Islamic country.

• David Hanan

See also...

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