A still image from Mouly Surya's satay western 'Marlina the Murderer in Four Acts.' (Photo courtesy of Cinesurya)

Satay Western 'Marlina the Murderer' to Represent Indonesia at the Oscars


SEPTEMBER 19, 2018

Jakarta. Indonesia is set to submit the satay western, "Marlina the Murderer in Four Acts," to this year's Academy Awards in the foreign-language category.

Directed by Mouly Surya and produced by Rama Adi and Fauzan Zidni of Cinesurya Pictures, "Marlina" premiered in the Directors' Fortnight section at the 2017 Cannes Film Festival. The program recognizes films by young and talented directors from around the world and only screens a select few from thousands of submissions.

The female-driven film starring Marsha Timothy in the title role, tells the story of a widow living in a remote village on Sumba Island in East Nusa Tenggara. She survives robbery and rape attempts by a group of local marauders. After the world premiere in Cannes, American trade publication Variety noted that the film was Mouly's response to westerns and praised the Indonesian director for pioneering a new genre.

The 2019 film selection committee, made up of 13 people, was led by award-winning actor Christine Hakim. The committee discussed and deliberated 100 national films before selecting "Marina" as its final choice.

"The elements we considered for this category included all things, such as theme and all the supporting elements," Christine said. "Marlina" is chosen because the selection committee believes the film suits Oscars characteristics.

Mouly said in a statement that she was happy with the recognition from Indonesian filmmakers and audiences who have been participating in the social media campaign, #marlinafortheoscars.

"Even though 'Marlina' was released last year, its presence is still felt. This [submission] is extraordinary and I am very touched. I hope 'Marlina' will go at its furthest in representing Indonesia," she said.

The Association of Indonesian Film Companies (PPFI) selects a local film every year to submit in the foreign-language category. The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences, as the organizer of the annual Academy Awards, appointed the PPFI to perform this task.

The Academy Awards, or Oscars as it is more popularly known, were first held in 1956. Indonesia has submitted 19 films to the annual awards, the first being "Nagabonar" by M.T. Risyaf in 1987. The country has yet to receive a nomination.

"Buffalo Boys" by Mike Wiluan has meanwhile been selected to represent Singapore in the same category at this year's award. The cowboy drama, which is set in Java, mixes Western and Indonesian aspects. The film was produced by Infinite Studios, Zhao Wei Films and Screenplay Infinite Films.