We don’t know about you guys, but we feel it’s about time for a trip to Bali. Conveniently, this year’s Bali International Film Festival, AKA “BALINALE”, provides the perfect excuse. Fast approaching from Sept. 24 – 30, it promises to bring its usual mix of award-winning local and international fiction, documentaries, and short films to a discerning audience of locals and expats. The offerings are as rich and varied as always, so here’s our special Coconuts Curated Guide to help you pick your way through. All you have to do now is pull a sickie and book your flight!
Friday Sept. 23
7pm: Festival Countdown – Featuring Coconuts TV!
Head to the Open Air Cinema at the entrance of Lippo Mall for the official countdown from 7pm on Friday (all outdoor screenings are free!). Here’ll you’ll get a sneak peak of trailers and highlights to come, as well as Indie Movies and award winning shorts from Go-Jek and yours truly, Coconuts TV. For our part, we’ll be showcasing “Borneo’s Haze Heroes: The firefighters who risk their lives battling a never-ending inferno” and “I Wayan Mudana: One of Bali’s last master woodcarvers”.
Saturday Sept. 24
5pm: Negeri Van Oranje
Start the festival off with something local in the form of feature film “Negeri Van Oranje” by Indonesian director Endri Pelita. Showing at 5pm on Saturday Sept. 24 at Cinemaxx Lippo Mall, Kuta, (where all indoor screenings are held) this charming picture revolves around a woman named Lintang. On the day before her wedding, she recalls a bond and a journey shared between herself and four male friends while living abroad.
7pm: Hunt for the Wilderpeople
New Zealand film “Hunt or the Wilderpeople” takes the headline spot at 7pm at the indoor cinema on opening night. Under the steady graze of director Taika Waititi, this fun, action-packed picture is about a down and out, hip-hop obsessed city kid Ricky, who gets a fresh start with a foster family in the New Zealand countryside. When tragedy strikes, he and his cantankerous uncle are forced to go on the run in the bush as a national manhunt unfolds.
9pm: Signature Shorts
For those with short attention spans and eclectic taste, various “Signature Shorts” will be shown from 7pm at the Open Air Cinema and 9pm at the indoor cinema.
Sunday Sept. 25
5pm: My Stupid Boss
For a bit of light relief on a Sunday afternoon, sit back and enjoy “My Stupid Boss” by Indonesian director Upi Avianto. We’ve all suffered under an infuriating supervisor at one time or another, but with Kuala Lumpur Bossman (Reza Rahadian), whose motto is the “Bossman Is Always Right”, things are taken to a whole new, and highly comical, level.
Epic drama “Numb” comes in fresh from chilly Canada via director Jason Goode. The gripping tale sees a couple in financial distress partner with a mysterious pair of hitchhikers in order to hunt for hidden treasure they believe is planted at GPS coordinates in the remote winter wilderness.
7pm: Zach’s Ceremony
If it’s a nice evening on Sunday, however, take a seat at the Open Air Cinema instead and witness a high-stakes rite of passing in the Aboriginal lands of Australia. Earning nonfiction Foxtel Movies Audience Awards at the Sydney Film Festival, “Zach’s Ceremony” is a documentary that follows Indigenous teenager Zacharias Doomadgee from the age of nine to 16 as he fights prejudice and prepares for an initiation ceremony the will see him become a man in the eyes of his community.
From 7pm at the Open Air Cinema.
Monday Sept. 25
Showing in the top spot at 7pm on Monday night is Philippe Faucon’s “Fatima”, a French film about an immigrant woman working hard to support her two teenage daughters. When she falls ill, she begins to write to her daughters in Arabic, telling them what it seems she was never able to say in French.
At 9pm, be sure to catch the deeply affecting documentary on Marco Archer “Curumim”, a Brazilian drug trafficker who, after spending 10 years on death row in Indonesia, invited director Marco Prado to make a film about his life. Curumim had an important story to tell and did not want to merely be remembered as the first of his countrymen to be executed by firing squad.
Tuesday Sept. 26
5:30pm: I’ll Be Home
The work of four Korean directors – Sang-Rok Lee, Hee-Jin Kang, Sang-Hee Yoon, Byung-Jae Song – “I’ll Be Home” is a moving documentary based on interviews with dozens of family members forced apart when Korea divided 70 years ago. If you can get off work early to catch this on Tuesday at 5:30pm, you’ll learn what it means to those living through this pain that the promise “I’ll be home soon” still hasn’t been kept.
9pm: All The Best
Presented in Croatian, English, Italian and Spanish with English subtitles, “All The Best” is one of those ever-enjoyable films where seemingly non connected people find their stories crossing over in the most unexpected of ways. Let Croatian director Snjezana Tribuson lead you through the web of lives belonging to the likes of a pastry-shop worker and an opera singer both longing for love, a farmer with unusual talents, a horny handyman, and a strangely sexual, ill old lady.
Wednesday Sept. 28
5:30pm: Death or Liberty
Ever wondered why there’s a running joke that all Australians are criminals? You can find out on Wednesday Sept. 28 with the documentary “Death or Liberty”. Directors Steve Thomas and Keith Farrel dramatize the very real hardships endured and the often astonishing acts of bravery committed by some of the dissenters and rebels banished to Australia by the British government between 1793 and 1867.
7pm: A Copy Of My Mind
Get a taste of local love at 7pm as Indonesian film “A Copy Of My Mind” comes to the screen. In Joko Anwar’s romantic drama, we meet a young woman working in a cheap beauty salon in Jakarta and a man who makes his living subtitling pirated DVDs. They inevitably fall in love, but their future is threatened by the political instability in Indonesia.
Thursday Sept. 29
7pm: Eddie The Eagle
Despite perhaps being the most commercial film on offer at BALINALE (we saw it on a plane recently), “Eddie The Eagle” from American director Dexter Fletcher is still well worth a watch. More of a classic British flick than a American blockbuster, it tells the true story of Michael “Eddie” Edwards, an unlikely and rather un-honed British ski-jumper who won hearts around the world because he never stopped believing in himself, even though the odds were massively stacked against him.
Friday Sept. 30
5:30pm: Train Station
If you’re one of those people who likes to have everything at once, make sure to see “Train Station” at 5:30pm on the last day of the festival. The feature is a collaboration of 40 different directors, each of whom has filmed a different outcome in the story of a man who is forced to change his plans after a train crash.
7pm: Early Winter
The finale film of BALINALE, Michael Rowe’s “Early Winter”, is showing at 9pm on Friday Sept. 30. This dramatic work of fiction follows a man who toils all hours god sends to buy his wife and their two children the latest mod cons. When he begins to suspect his wife is having an affair, however, humdrum life as they know it begins to unravel.
From 7pm at the Open Air Cinema.
Saturday Sept. 1
With the program finished, there’s nothing left to do on Saturday Oct. 1 but head to the Open Air Cinema for the Wrap Party and Awards Ceremony, where the audience choice for BALNALE’s best movies will be announced.
That’s a wrap, guys! For more information, visit the BALINALE website.
Coconuts Media is Media Partners with Bali International Film Festival.