He may have only recently released his superhero flick Gundala, but writer-director Joko Anwar will soon be going back to his horror roots with the highly-anticipated Perempuan Tanah Jahanam (Women of the Damned Land), which is scheduled for cinematic release on October 17.
Perempuan has been in development for years — there’s even a Twitter account that was created for it back in 2011 — and the film has since become a subject of much speculation among Indonesian film enthusiasts.
You can watch the trailer for Perempuan, which was released yesterday evening, below. Mind you, it can be really frightening, even in broad daylight:
Perempuan tells the story of Maya (Tara Basro) who appears to have no luck making it in the city with her best friend Dini (Marissa Anita). Maya discovers that she may have inherited a fortune from her estranged parents in her hometown, a secluded village. The two best friends take a trip to the village, only to find out that many strange and disturbing things are happening there (bizarre happenings that include one of Joko Anwar’s signature elements: pregnant women).
The film stars a slew of Joko’s frequent collaborators, such as Tara Basro, Marissa Anita, Ario Bayu and Asmara Abigail, among others. But the most surprising addition to the list is legendary actress Christine Hakim, as Perempuan marks her first appearance in a horror movie. The majority of the film was shot in East Java’s Banyuwangi, Lumajang, and Mount Ijen.
At a press conference yesterday, Joko said Perempuan is, in its essence, actually a story about family.
“This film is my meditation on the function of family. Mother, father, and children. I wrote [the script for] this film during a time when my mind was filled with thoughts about family,” Joko told reporters yesterday, as quoted by CNN Indonesia.
Joko is one of the most successful Indonesian filmmakers working today. His first foray into film was as the screenwriter of Nia Dinata’s Arisan! (2003). In 2005, Joko debuted as a writer-director with his first feature film, the romantic comedy Janji Joni (Joni’s Promise). In 2007, he wrote and directed Indonesia’s first film noir feature, Kala (Dead Time), which was screened at several film festivals and was lavished with rave reviews from critics.
In the following years, Joko established himself as a prominent cross-genre filmmaker with thrillers Pintu Terlarang (Forbidden Door) in 2009 and Modus Anomali (Ritual) in 2012, political drama A Copy of My Mind in 2015, and his highly successful remake of cult horror classic Pengabdi Setan (Satan’s Slaves) in 2017.
Aside from his own projects, Joko has also written scripts for other directors, including Quickie Express (2007), Fiksi (2008), Stip & Pensil (2017), and Orang Kaya Baru (2019). His other works include advertorial short films and the HBO series Halfworlds (2017) and Folklore: A Mother’s Love (2018).
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