OPENING & CLOSING FILMS
The Man From the Sea
Koji Fukada/107 minutes/2018/Japan, Indonesia, France/Fiction
In Indonesia’s Aceh, where the villagers still struggle with the aftermath of the earthquake and tsunami disaster from a decade ago, a mysterious man emerges from the sea and collapses on the beach. Takako, a Japanese woman working for a non-profit organization with her son Takashi, brings the man home and gives him the name ‘Laut’, the Indonesian word for sea. Takako’s niece Sachiko finds the village while in pursuit of secrets from her deceased father’s past, and befriends Takashi’s friends, who are making a docu`mentary. As the youngsters roam over the island, little by little, strange phenomena begin occurring in the presence of Laut. Fukada Koji’s previous work, Harmonium, won the Un Certain Regard Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival in 2016. In his new film, a global co-production where good intentions could end up going bad, the director portrays a strong balance of liveliness and composure in the breathtakingly gorgeous scenery. While the dialogue consists of Indonesian, Japanese and English, it does not feel disjointed, due to solid acting from the cast.
Thundenek (Her. Him. The Other)
Asoka Handagama, Vimukthi Jayasundara & Prasanna Vithanage/113 minutes/2018/Sri Lanka/Fiction
An ex-militant videographer from LTTE (the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam), travels to the South in search of a young widow, to relief his conscience. Having been raised in a religion that believe in reincarnation, a Sinhala teacher tries to deceive his own conscience by refusing to believe in the re-birth of a Tamil militant into a Sinhala man even if he witnesses it with his own eyes. One might be a hero or a traitor, but how many wars must a man go through before he understands the suffering of the other?