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Lifestyle in Style

Toronto Hot Docs: “A Punk Daydream”

The last “punk film” I saw was “Pussy Riot”. Although that film was shot in Russia and “A Punk Daydream” is shot in Indonesia in both countries it isn’t easy being a politicized punk.

Indonesia has a history under Suharto, long gone, of having tattooed people mysteriously killed. Having a tattoo in Indonesia equates with criminality except of course for Indonesia’s indigenous people.

This story is about three punk pals in the outskirts of Jakarta trying their best to survive which, of course, is particularly difficult when they are heavily tattooed and punk garbed. The punks shown are no Johnny Rotten but very articulate and politicized. They are neither robots or monsters. One of the punks says in our anti-drug, anti-criminal and anti-radical society we are easy scapegoats. The more scapegoats you have the easier it is for “the authorities” to control the population.

The storyline here is as easy or as complicated as you want to make it. To me that is a mark of great film making.

Aside from the punks that are shunned and easy victims for arrest simply for being punks there is a side story of the indigenous populations of Indonesia and how they are on the path of cultural extinction.

Then there is the complicated question of what exactly is human culture about? How are people manipulated by the political system? What can we learn from indigenous cultures? Can a counter-culture protect us against political repression? Is economic development really beneficial and if so for whom?

Now if you do not want to get tangled up too deeply in the meaning of the film it has a great soundtrack of traditional and punk music. The photography is delightfully lush and at moments artistic and it captures Indonesian punk culture and indigenous culture beautifully. I mean the cinematography is so good you could turn the sound off and watch and enjoy. There is some very interesting cinematographic symbolism at the end of the film and you can draw many analogies from it! Enjoy!

This is a Belgian and Indonesian production and is 65 minutes in length. Its North American premiere will be on April 25th at 8:15 p.m. at TIFF Bell Lightbox and April 26th at 12:00 p.m. at Scotiabank Theatre 8. This 2019 film is directed by Jimmy Hendickx and co-directed by Kristian Van der Heyden.

You can see the trailer here.

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