Credit by Screening poster of "Marlina, Murderer in Four Acts" at the special session of Cannes Film Festival. © Director's Fortnight
Marlina, the only Southeast Asian feature film at Cannes 2017

Marlina, the only Southeast Asian feature film at Cannes 2017

In the deserted hills of an Indonesian island, Marlina, a young widow, is attacked, raped and robbed for her cattle. To defend herself, she kills several men of the gang. Seeking justice, she goes on a journey for empowerment and redemption. But the road is long, especially when the ghost of her headless victim begins to haunt her.

This is the synopsis of Marlina, the Murderer in Four Acts as describe by the Director's Fortnight.

Director's Fortnight is an independent section held by French Directors' Guild to support and introduce film talents to the public and critics. In parallel to the Cannes Film Festival, it showcases a programme of shorts and feature films and documentaries worldwide.

Many renowned directors, such as Werner Herzog (Into the Inferno), Jim Jarmusch (Gimme Danger) and Sofia Coppola (Between Two Ferns with Zach Galifianakis), have had their works featured at the event.

Cannes Film Festival or Cannes, is one of the industry’s most prestigious events held in Cannes, France, which previews new films of all genres, including documentaries, from all around the world. Marlina the Murderer in Four Acts has joined the coveted list of nominees for prizes to be awarded at the Cannes Film Festival.

Mouly Surya, a young Indonesian film maker, is the director of the movie. This original title Marlina, Si Pembunuh dalam Empat Babak is the only Southeast Asian feature film selected on Cannes this year. This is also the third Indonesian feature to bow in Cannes, after Tjoet Nja' Dhien (1988, won the Semaine de la Critique section), Daun di Atas Bantal (1998, Un Ceritain Regard) and Serambi (2006, Un Ceritain Regard).

In a year when revenge stories are everywhere at the Cannes Film Festival, one film has stood out as a "gem" of the genre. Marlina the Murderer in Four Acts is that very rare beast, an Indonesian feminist western with a neat line in dry humour. Critics have been jumping over themselves to praise it with Screen International calling it a "thoroughly enjoyable, visually ravishing gem that gives world cinema a good name," reported AFP.

It is not like any film you have ever seen before. And not too many films with a heroine who spends most of her time travelling by bus and horseback with a severed head in her bag are praised for their subtlety. "It's not in your face. That is not the Indonesian or the Asian way," Surya told AFP.

Marlina, the Murderer in Four Acts or Marlina for short, is screened three times alongside other selected films in Cannes from May 24th to 26th, as well as in other European cities, such as Marseille, France, Geneva, Rome, Milan, Florence and Brussels.


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