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Finding Indonesia

March 25, 2017

Indonesia, a country known for its vibrant culture and breathtaking landscapes, is set to captivate audiences in New York City through a remarkable cinematic experience. The Indonesian Film Forum (IFF) and the Indonesian Student Association (ISA) are joining forces to bring a curated selection of films to the prestigious NYU Global Spiritual Life venue. Supported by esteemed organizations such as the Indonesian Consulate (KJRI) and the Ministry of Education and Culture (kemdikbud), this event promises to be a captivating cultural journey. Let’s dive into the details of this extraordinary showcase.

  • Unveiling Jakarta’s Past: “Balik Jakarta/Return to Jakarta”

Transporting viewers back in time, “Balik Jakarta/Return to Jakarta” delves into the fascinating story of Togar, a fresh graduate working as a motorcycle taxi driver. Directed by Jason Iskandar and produced by Florence Giovani, this 25-minute fiction film takes us on a nostalgic quest with Togar and Günther, a German tourist carrying an old photograph of his childhood home in Kebayoran.

Armed with only a single picture, Togar and Günther embark on a heartwarming adventure to locate the house, relying on their determination and friendship to navigate the bustling streets of Jakarta. As they search for this elusive place, the film beautifully encapsulates the universal longing to reconnect with our roots and the emotions tied to cherished memories.

  • Unveiling the Power of Fear: “On the Origin of Fear”

Stepping into the realm of psychological suspense, “On the Origin of Fear” offers a gripping narrative set entirely within the confines of an audio recording studio. The film revolves around a director who subjects a soldier to immense psychological pressure, compelling him to play both the role of victim and aggressor in an anti-communist propaganda campaign recording.

With tensions escalating and the lines between reality and performance blurring, this thought-provoking film, whose duration and genre are yet to be disclosed, challenges our understanding of fear and its manipulation. The talented director, producer, and ensemble cast weave a captivating tale that will keep audiences on the edge of their seats.

  • Father-Son Bonds and the Crescent Moon: “Mencari Hilal/The Crescent Moon

In a heartwarming exploration of family dynamics and cultural values, “Mencari Hilal/The Crescent Moon” takes us on an unforgettable journey of self-discovery. This feature film, celebrated at the Tokyo International Film Festival in 2015, centers around Mahmud, an Islamic conservative, and Heli, a young liberal. Pushed out of their comfort zones, they embark on a joint quest to find “hilal,” the very first new crescent moon, symbolizing a fresh start and an opportunity to rebuild their strained relationship.

Directed by a visionary filmmaker and brought to life by a talented cast, this touching narrative seamlessly combines elements of spirituality, personal growth, and the search for common ground. Audiences will be enthralled by the emotional depth and cultural nuances depicted on screen, as Mahmud and Heli navigate their differences in the pursuit of understanding and connection.


The Indonesian Film Showcase promises an enchanting cinematic experience, inviting viewers to immerse themselves in the rich tapestry of Indonesian culture and history. As the NYU Global Spiritual Life opens its doors to the world of Indonesian cinema, attendees can expect a diverse range of narratives that transcend borders and create bridges of understanding.

From the nostalgic journey of “Balik Jakarta/Return to Jakarta” to the unsettling exploration of fear in “On the Origin of Fear” and the heartwarming tale of family bonds in “Mencari Hilal/The Crescent Moon,” this film showcase offers a glimpse into Indonesia’s vibrant film industry and its contribution to global storytelling.


Finding Indonesia

NYU Global Spiritual Life Auditorium