18 January 2017 | richardjameshalstead
Moving portrayal of heroism in the face of oppression.
Wow. Where to begin with this film? Istirahatlah Kata-Kata is about Wiji Thukul, the renowned poet-dissident who disappeared during the late stages of the turbulent Indonesian New Order regime. The film is a brilliant and at times terrifying portrayal of what it's like to live as a fugitive under a repressive government. The performances are routinely excellent and bring a poignancy and humor to the main characters' desperate plight. These are real people in extraordinary circumstances. The writing and direction show an amazingly delicate sensitivity as well, focusing on the psychological conflict rather than cheap external theatricals. The cinematography is notable too for its combination of raw beauty and occasional claustrophobia which hangs over the whole film with a palpable dread.
Istirahatlah Kata-Kata is an important film, but it is also deeply affecting. It manages to entertain without sacrificing its greatness. I wholly recommend it.