below: JIFFest logoThe Jakarta International Film Festival began yesterday, which is like Christmas, New Year's and the Brattle Theatre all rolled into one. German short films! Iranian documentaries! Indonesian dangdut teen flicks with English subtitles! In a movie theatre world dominated by the lousiest Hollywood products, it's a mini-revolution.
Like all revolutions, it has its bumpy moments. Last night we went to see a documentary about an elephant rescue in Sumatra. It turned out to be a double feature with a doc about the Bali bombings, which was all well and good. But there were no tickets or assigned seats so everybody had to line up at the door. For an hour. And more. The start time came and went. "15 more minutes," said a nice guy with big crazy aspiring-filmmaker hair. It got hot and stuffy. Finally crazy-hair propped the door open, took the first guy's ticket, ripped it halfway ... but then changed his mind and handed it back. He handed it back! Despair swept over the crowd.
Well, that was opening night. We'll have to go to matinees for the rest of the week because I'm working evenings, so the crowds should be smaller. We're going to miss the last half of the festival to go to language school in Yogya anyway. It's all okay. It's a movie festival! Right here in Jakarta! We just can't be unhappy about that.