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"Shadow" Bridges Indonesia and Japan

2018/10/13 Report

The film “Shadow” (“Kage” in Japanese) which screened at Toho Cinemas Nijo on October 13 is a work that connects Indonesia and Japan. The dialogue is a mix of Indonesian and Japanese, and the film’s creators have close ties with both countries.

The screenplay was written by Novinta Dhini, who was a member of the Indonesian pop group JKT48, which is a sister act of Japan’s widely popular idol unit AKB48. Dhini also stars as the main character Emma—a young Indonesian woman who has long lived in Japan but is bored by her daily routine. She breaks up with her Japanese boyfriend over the phone, but later learns she is pregnant. This prompts her to go home to Indonesia to search for her roots. She reconnects with her mother and goes on a search through Jakarta for the musician father she never knew.

There is a parallel story about a young Japanese novelist who has come to Indonesia, where is books are successful. The writer is played by Japanese comedian Genki Sadamatsu, who lives and works in Indonesia as part of Yoshimoto Kogyo’s “Asia Sumimasu Geinin Project.” The novelist connects with a local fan played by Indonesia actress Claudia Suwardi.

After the screening, the cast and the director Frits J. Robert greeted the audience. Dhini said “we are still so surprised to be here. We didn’t think we could make it to KIFF. We just wanted to make art. But now that we are here, we fell like our heart is here.”

Sadamatsu explained that he was the only native Japanese speaker on the set. He joked that at times he wasn’t sure if he had delivered his lines well, but the director would say “OK, we got it! Let’s move on.” On a more serious note, Sadamatsu said he was thankful to the director for giving him a dramatic role since he mainly does comedy.

Sadamatsu also served as a language coach for Claudia Suwardi, whose lines in the film are mostly in Japanese. When asked if she remembered any Japanese that she has been able to use during her time in Kyoto, Claudia said “onaka tsuita!” means “I’m hungry!” getting a big laugh from the audience.

The warm welcome the Indonesian and Japanese filmmakers got from the audience in Kyoto was a sign of how film can transcend borders.

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