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‘Basri & Salma’ becomes Indonesia’s first short film to compete in Cannes

Radhiyya Indra The Jakarta Post  Mon, May 1, 2023

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Global prestige: A still from Indonesian short film ‘Basri & Salma in a Never-Ending Comedy’, which is selected to compete in Cannes Film Festival, shows the two main characters. (Courtesy of Hore Pictures)  

 JAKARTA – The 2023 short film Basri & Salma in a Never-Ending Comedy is Indonesia’s first short film to enter the official selection of the prestigious Cannes Film Festival.

The 2023 Indonesian short film Basri & Salma in a Never-Ending Comedy will be the first short film from the country to get into the official selection and compete in the highly-regarded Cannes Film Festival in Cannes, France.

 Directed by Khozy Rizal, known for his other festival-winner short films Makassar is a City for Football Fans (2021) and Ride to Nowhere (2022), the short film tells the story of Basri (Arham Rizky Saputra) and Salma (Rezky Chiki) who are yet to have a child after five years of marriage.

The couple work as operators of an odong-odong (mini carousel) in a carnival in Makassar. The short film became one of 11 selected among the 4288 submitted and will compete to win the grand prize the Short Film Palme d’Or.

Basri & Salma is also the only short film from Asia this year.

Previous nominees from Indonesia that have competed in Cannes Film Festival are feature-length film Daun di Atas Bantal (Leaf on a Pillow) by Garin Nugroho in 1988 and documentary Serambi in 2005 by Garin Nugroho, Tonny Trimarsanto, Lianto Suseno and Viva Westi.

Both films competed in the Un Certain Regard category.

“The idea actually came from the odong-odong itself. I get home from work by motorcycle and I [always pass] an odong-odong at night, and they seem so beautiful, so bright and colorful,” Khozy said during a press conference on Thursday.

“So I thought it’d be nice to make a film about them visually, and I started digging for an actual story from there,” he added. The short film includes a modern family problem and cultural expectations, relating to the commonly asked question to married couples who have yet to have a child.

“I also have a disconnect with my family. They are very conservative Muslims and they would ask questions that made me feel uncomfortable, so I would often answer them harshly. And then we’d fight,” Khozy explained.

“But that’s comedy as well because we do that all the time, every time we meet.” Produced by John Badalu, who produced Khozy’s Makassar is a City for Football Fans in 2021, Basri & Salma was shot in Makassar and involved a local cast and crew from the city.

It was sponsored by Singapore International Film Festival through the Southeast Asian Short Film Grant. This year’s Cannes Film Festival will run from May 16 to 27.

After its premiere in Cannes, Basri & Salma in a Never-Ending Comedy will also hit other festivals. “With this [Cannes selection], I hope Indonesia’s film industry will put more focus on films made by us in other cities beyond Java,” Rezky Chiki, who plays Salma, said during the press conference.

Arham, who plays Basri, also sees how Java-centric the current local film industry can be. “Only recently do we see a bigger focus on Makassar, Sulawesi. […] Hopefully, the films made in other parts of the country will thrive even more, and this needs support from the government and other institutions,” Arham said.

SOURCE: The Jakarta Post, Indonesia Mon, May 1, 2023

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