List Film

Opera Jawa (3 stars)

Opera Jawa

(12) 120min (Yume Pictures DVD retail/rental)


One of a handful of films commissioned to celebrate the 250th anniversary of Mozart’s birth, this generally hugely successful project (other films in the series have included Syndromes and a Century and I Don’t Want to Sleep Alone) has in Opera Jawa its weakest link. An adaptation from the classic Indian text The Ramayana this is a lusciously colourful dance extravaganza where the dance isn’t quite as extravagant as we might have hoped, and the colours still less exuberant than we’ve come to expect from films like Hero. Much respected Indonesian director Garin Nugroho has been referred to as an eclectic filmmaker, but that sounds suspiciously like a talent capable of hits and misses. This tale of a local businessman determined to seduce a potter’s wife and the problems that ensue is one of the misses. Let’s hope, though, that his other works are made available. Minimal extras.


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