Directed by Garin Nugroho | Indonesia/Austria | 120 min.
Opera Jawa is a sumptuous and exotic gamelan musical, strange and alluring, inspired by the "Abduction of Sita" episode from the Ramayana. It was commissioned for Peter Sellars' New Crowned Hope Festival in celebration of the 250th anniversary of the birth of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, alongside Tsai Ming-liang's I Don’t Want to Sleep Alone (2006) and Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s Syndromes and a Century (2006), all three absolutely central works of twenty-first century cinema. Grown from the rich soil of Javanese culture and tradition, Opera Jawa tells the story of a potter, his wife, and a possibly malevolent butcher obsessed with the latter. The lives of the potter and his wife parallel the mythical tale of Sita and Prince Rama, which the couple used to reenact in their past lives as performers. The film features transporting music by Rahayu Supanggah, awe-inspiring choreography, stunning photography, and widely celebrated production design by Nanang Rhamat. You are guaranteed to have never seen anything quite like Opera Jawa.
- Written by Jason Wierzba