Having won the Best Asian Short Film at Screen Singapore with Red Umbrella in 2011, Indonesian indie film director Andri Cung is back with his first feature film – The Sun, The Moon and The Hurricane. Starring Natalius Chendana as Kris, winner of the Most Favourite New Comer in Indonesia Movie Award 2013 whom has previously worked with Andri in 3SUM, The Sun, The Moon and The Hurricane is a promising avant-garde, unconventional and heartfelt project that would help change the attitudes towards homosexuality in South East Asia.
While The Sun, The Moon and The Hurricane is a brave film exploring cultural taboos and social stigma in Indonesia, the film easily relates to its audiences. Being a story of a one man’s journey to find love, happiness and meaning of life, the portrayals presented create a feeling of familiarity to people from all walks of life. Through its beautiful and poetic narration, The Sun, The Moon and The Hurricane portrays the ever-changing nature of human life, their endless struggle to grow up, to search for their own happiness while battling loneliness and people’s expectations.
Some might argue that the first third of the film suffers from narrative inertia, and it’s true that the narrative starts to gain momentum after Kris (Natalius Chendana) disappeared and Rain (William Tjokro) has fully embraced his sexuality. Even so, I find the first third of the film was a necessary accumulation of conflicts for the characters to develop. I love how the combination of one line dialogues, raw and shaky camera movements, and close up shots highlights the characters’ denial and inner struggles, and awkwardness with each other.
The beautiful montage, music and narration on the other hand, create a dreamy and peaceful impression, highlighting the hope and intimacy shared between Kris and Rain. Like life itself, the film presents the sunny, dreamy and dark phases of life almost equally hence its title The Sun, The Moon and The Hurricane. And like life itself, Andri managed to keep it real leaving exaggerated and dramatic climax behind, creating space for audience to reflect on, and perhaps relate to their personal circumstances.
Shot in Jakarta, Bali and Bangkok with micro budget and no more than 20 crew members, The Sun, The Moon and The Hurricane successfully deliver Andri’s intended uplifting and liberal storyline with a joyful ending, and was screened for a total of 3 weekends domestically with R21 rating – certainly a step closer to a progressive Indonesian film industry!
Known for his effort of exploring the country’s social norms and taboos, Andri and his first feature, The Sun, The Moon and The Hurricane might just be the important step we need in fight for queer rights in Indonesia.
Review Score: THREE AND HALF STARS (OUT OF FIVE)
The Sun, The Moon and The Hurricane screened at the Indonesian Film Festival 2016 at ACMI in Melbourne.