2009 marked another promising turn for Indonesian cinema. Filmmakers in the country released more than 100 titles, an encouraging number for a once-dead industry. But this year has not just ben about quantity: A variety of films from different genres provided movie buffs a much-needed breath of fresh air.
Although the selection was still dominated by horror flicks and slapstick comedies, we also saw a war movie, “Merah Putih” (Red and White), a martial-arts flick, “Merantau” and a village mafia quintet in “Serigala Terakhir” (Last Wolf). These bold films moved both the heard and mind.
The following lists are as objective as such a list can be.
In King, directed by Ari Sihasale, a love of badminton runs in the family. Guntur (Rangga Raditya) and his father, Tejo (Mamiek Prakoso), idolize Indonesia’s top badminton star, Liem Swie King, and they all aspire to be just like him. Guntur’s father is the commentator for his village’s badminton competitions and he collects goose feathers for shuttlecocks in his spare time.
Since Guntur was young, his father has been feeding him stories about the badminton legend King. The young Guntur dreams of becoming the country’s number one shuttler, with the help of best friend Raden (Lucky Martin). He decides to do all he can to make it to the big league, but his poverty does not make it easy.
There are two aspects to this film that tug at the emotional heartstrings. The first is the dramatic, yet realistic, relationship between Guntur and his father. The second comes from Guntur’s relentless struggle to reach a near-impossible goal. The two elements make “King” a movie of inspiration and hope.