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5 Films That Have Represented Indonesia at the Oscar Awards

The news that Ngeri-Ngeri Sedap is representing Indonesia at next year’s Oscars is a source of pride, as it is a film that promotes local languages. But before Ngeri-Ngeri Sedap. There are other Indonesia films that have progressed too, some even use local languages.

The trend of Indonesia’s film industry was indeed towards a better direction in the decade of the 2010s. Where films that present good quality are starting to attract local audiences in the midst of the onslaught of films that prioritize marketing aspects.

What are the five films? Here is a list of them:

5 Indonesia Films That Have Made It to the Oscars

1. Perempuan Tanah Jahnam (Impetigore)

oscars indonesia films
Rapi Films Perempuan Tanah Jahanam

The film directed by Joko Anwar, was released in 2019. But it took two years for Perempuan Tanah Jahanam to be included in the Oscars or Academy Awards (the current name).

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This film tells the story of Maya who struggles to live in the city without a family, she only has a best friend named Dini. When their joint venture needs more capital, Maya learns that she may have inherited some money from her rich family in the village, prompting her to visit the hometown she never visited.

2. Yuni

Starvision Yuni
Yuni (2021) | Starvision

Yuni was included in the Best International Feature Film category at the 2022 edition of the Oscar Cup yesterday. Kamila Andini’s film successfully represented Indonesia because it had previously won the Platform Prize at the 2021 Toronto International Film Festival.

Unfortunately, the achievement was not enough to make Yuni a nominee in the event. This film stars Arawinda Kirana. Who is called one of the most promising Indonesian actresses in the next few years. The story itself focuses on society’s myths about marriage, especially from a woman’s perspective.

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3. Turah


This semi-long film by Wicaksono Wisnu Legowo received many awards at national events. That made the Indonesian Oscar selectors convinced to choose Turah to represent Indonesia at the 2017 Oscar Cup awards.

The film also mostly uses Javanese dialogue typical of Tegal. The story highlights the isolation of the Tirang village community in Tegal. You can watch the film in full on Suara Langit Production’s YouTube account.

4. Kucumbu Tubuh Indahku (Memories of My Body)

Fouc Colours Film Kucumbu Indah Tubuhku
Memories of My Body (2019) | Four-colour Films

Garin Nugroho’s film also represented Indonesia at the 2020 edition of the Oscar Cup. Although previously it had reaped controversy. But the quality of Kucumbu Tubuh Indahku earned it many prestigious awards.

Just like Yuni. Kucumbu Tubuh Indahku also raises taboo and problematic issues in Indonesian society. Where this film focuses on a man who has a super masculine appearance. She has to deal with the fact that she is also a lengger dancer.

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5. Marlina, Si Pembunuh Empat Babak

Marlina si Pembunuh dalam Empat Babak

A thriller, Marlina, The Killer of Four Acts was screened in almost 18 countries. This includes the Americas and other countries in continental Europe and Southeast Asia. The film has won many national awards, even representing Indonesia in the 2019 Oscars.

Starring Marsha Timothy and directed by Mouly Surya. Marlina, The Killer of Four Acts tells the story of a gang of robbers who come to the house of a widow named Marlina. They threatened Marlina’s life, property and honour in front of her mummified husband who was lying in the corner of the room.

Those were five of our local films that successfully represented Indonesia at the Oscars. Are any of the above your favourite movies?

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