"Opera Jawa" Movie Review (1)

Here is the week's exotic jewel: an intricate oddity that is hugely admired in many quarters and which I certainly found engaging, if unvarying. It is a gamelan musical by the Indonesian film-maker Garin Nugroho, based on the story The Abduction of Sinta from the Hindu text The Ramayana. A potter, Setio (Martinus Miroto) has a wife, Siti (Artika Sari Devi), with whom the butcher Ludiro (Eko Supriyanto) is violently in love: a fateful intrigue develops. There are vast numbers of extras, bewildering and gorgeous settings, sumptuous choreography. It is rich and strange, and though the latter might be slightly in excess of the former, the strangeness in itself is diverting. I remembered what Kenneth Tynan said about Godot: go and see it, and the worst that can happen is that you will see an oddity, a four-leaf clover. But it could yet be a wonderful experience.

Reviewed by Peter Bradshaw
Published on Friday September 7, 2007, The Guardian

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