Review: In The Absence Of The Sun (Asia House Film Festival)

film reviews | movies | features | BRWC ASIA HOUSE FILM FESTIVAL Announces Its 7th

In The Absence Of The Sun maybe but this sublime, witty and realistic portrayal of life in busy, brilliant and anonymous Jakarta is luminous.

In the bustling, anonymous metropolis where there’s little sun writer, director and editor Lucky Kuswandi gives us a story of one night following the lives of three different women from the different social strata of Indonesian society when they all end up in the same place – the Lone Star hotel. They may be of different ages Gia in her 30s, Indri in her 20s and Mrs Surya in her 40s who just lost her husband but they are all struggling with universal themes of: identity, sense of belonging and looking for sun a metaphor for warmth and attention.

This is a sublime film with laugh out loud moments shining a light on modern life in Indonesia despite it’s advancement in all areas and technology is still quite traditional. The scenes in the restaurant and at Gia’s mother’s house where they are all on their cellphone is both hilarious and tragic.



Lucky Kuswandi manages to capture and translate for western audiences what it means to be Indonesian and yet a foreigner in your own land through the character of Gia. In Indri we see someone who wants to improve her situation the only way she knows how by dating older, richer men no matter how repugnant they may be. However it is in Mrs Surya that the universal truths of betrayal and feelings of a wasted life are richly drawn out not by long monologues but imagery and actions that leave the viewer with enough room to fill in the gaps. The style of film reminded me of Magnolia by Paul Thomas Andersen and if Lucky Kuswandi carries on making films of this calibre we will be seeing a lot more of her.

This is the opening night gala film of the Asia House Film Festival and rightfully so – it captivates – with the fluidity in which it’s shot, the realistic language used and the different subtexts in this comic drama.


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Ros is as picky about what she watches as what she eats. She watches movies alone and dines solo too (a new trend perhaps?!). As a self confessed scaredy cat, Ros doesn’t watch horror films, even Goosebumps made her jump in parts!

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