Martin Scorsese picks legendary Indonesian psychological drama ‘Lewat Djam Malam’ for Criterion release

Actors A.N. Alcaff and Netty Herawaty in ‘Lewat Djam Malam (After The Curfew)’, a 1954 psychological drama/neo-noir film by prominent film director Usmar Ismail. The film is included in the third edition of Martin Scorcese’s World Cinema Project released by the Criterion Collection. Photo: The Criterion Collection
Actors A.N. Alcaff and Netty Herawaty in ‘Lewat Djam Malam (After The Curfew)’, a 1954 psychological drama/neo-noir film by prominent film director Usmar Ismail. The film is included in the third edition of Martin Scorcese’s World Cinema Project released by the Criterion Collection. Photo: The Criterion Collection

A recently restored classic Indonesian movie is about to be available for home viewing in the US and Canada thanks to legendary filmmaker Martin Scorsese.

Lewat Djam Malam, released internationally as After The Curfew, is a 1954 psychological drama/neo-noir film by prominent film director Usmar Ismail, a man regarded as the pioneer of Indonesian cinema. 

The film is included in the third edition of Martin Scorsese’s World Cinema Project released by the Criterion Collection, an American home video label popular among cinephiles for their specialization in licensing eclectic classic and contemporary films. Aside from releasing the films in Blu-ray format, Criterion also streams many in their lineup online.

Written by poet/writer Asrul Sani, After The Curfew follows the story of Iskandar (A.N. Alcaff), a former soldier unable to readjust to civilian life in postcolonial Indonesia. He eventually went on a run from the authorities in Bandung, which was still under curfew, after committing vigilante actions against a corrupt former commander.

Other than After The Curfew, this collector’s set comprises five other remarkable international films with stories of “revolution, identity, agency, forgiveness, and exclusion” throughout the different eras of cinema. The other four films are Mexican melodrama Dos monjes (Two Monks, 1934), Cuban drama Lucía (1968), French-Mauritanian drama Soleil Ô (Oh, Sun, 1970), Iranian drama Downpour (1972), and Brazilian crime drama Pixote (1981). This project was established by Scorcese in 2007, and the Blu-ray/DVD boxset is available for pre-order on Criterion’s website for US$99.96.

The idea to restore After The Curfew reportedly came from Indonesian film journalist JB Kristanto. The project started in 2010 and was conducted by film restoration lab L’Immagine Ritrovata in Italy, while being led by the National Museum of Singapore (NMS) and Indonesia’s Konfiden Foundation, in collaboration with Scorsese’s World Cinema Foundation, Indonesian film archive Sinematek, and Jakarta Arts Council’s Kineforum. 

The restored film was screened for the first time at NMS in 2012, and later shown at the Cannes Film Festival as a World Classic Cinema entry. After The Curfew had a theatrical release in Indonesia in mid-2012 and was also screened at the London Film Festival later that year.

Correction: The Criterion Collection only ships within the US and Canada, not around the world as previously stated in this story. We also incorrectly spelled Martin Scorsese’s name. We apologize for the error.

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