Balinale Is Back With Even More Quality Cinema

The Jakarta Globe - Established in 2007 by the non-profit Bali Taksu Indonesia Foundationthe Balinale International Film Festival is currently enchanting movie buffs all over the island with its seventh edition.

Known for throwing its support behind both established and up-and-coming local filmmakers, the Balinale provides a platform for products of the Indonesian film industry while at the same time introducing a colorful program of feature films, documentaries and shorts from around the globe. This year, the program boasts 50 films from more than 20 countries.

More than simply presenting films to its audience, the Balinale also sports a versatile fringe program including workshops, seminars and master class sessions with renowned filmmakers, as well as charity events to support good causes.

The Jakarta Globe has picked out a selection of feature films that shouldn’t be missed from this year’s festival.

‘Where Heaven Meets Hell’

In the rainforests of eastern Java lies the active volcano of Kawah Ijen. Here, day after day, hundreds of sulfur miners make their way through treacherous terrain, inhaling toxic gases, while carrying heavy loads. The documentary puts into focus the personal stories of four miners who have no choice but to risk their lives and health to be able to feed their families. “Where Heaven Meets Hell,” directed by American Sasha Friedlander, will be screened on Tuesday at 12 p.m.

‘9 Summers 10 Autumns’

Based on the novel of the same name by Iwan Setyawan, this film tells the true story of his own life: as the son of a poor minibus driver in Batu, East Java — known as the city of apples — it doesn’t seem like he will be able to lead a better life than his parents. But through hard work, dedication and the loving devotion of his family, he eventually becomes a multinational company director in New York City. This story of following one’s dreams and hopes plays on Tuesday at 5 p.m.

‘Sta Nina’

This drama from the Philippines, the directorial debut of Emmanuel Quindo Palo, follows the story of Paul and a co-worker, who years after a volcanic mud flow has covered a town in Pampagna, dig up a coffin with the remains of his 2-year-old daughter. He is surprised that she doesn’t show any signs of decay. Convinced his daughter may have healing powers, Paul asks the church to declare her a saint. But the girl’s resurgence brings back long-forgotten emotions and unresolved issues for many people. “Sta Nina” screens on Wednesday at 2:30 p.m.

‘Gending Sriwijaya’

Directed by one of Indonesia’s most productive directors, Hanung Bramantyo’s “Gending Sriwijaya” is a film about a fictional empire, ruled by Dapunta Hyang Jaya Nasa and his queen. But when Dapunta decides that his younger son should be the rightful heir to the throne instead of his firstborn, trouble looms. The older son is poisoned with envy and tries to frame his brother, Purnama, for a murder. As a fugitive on the run from his own family, Purnama joins forces with a group of thieves to reclaim the throne and clear his name. This colorful epic can be seen on Wednesday at 5 p.m.

‘The Rocket’

Kim Mordaunt’s “The Rocket” is a drama about a 10-year-old boy named Ahlo who is believed to bring bad luck. This forces him and his family, together with other outsiders and misfits, to travel through Laos in search of a new place they can call home. Because he wants to prove to the world that he is not cursed, Ahlo enters a lucrative but dangerous competition to build a rocket. “The Rocket,” which has also been selected as the Australian entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 86th Academy Awards, will be screened on Wednesday at 7:30 p.m.

‘Don Jon’

A young man from New Jersey, who is addicted to porn and objectifying everything in his life, especially women, grows dissatisfied with his way of life and decides to make a change. Through the acquaintance of two different women, he learns more about true love, relationships and life in general. This comedy-drama, the directorial debut of actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who also wrote the screenplay and plays the main character, will be shown on Thursday at 2:30 p.m.