Saturday, July 18, 2015

Fantasia ’15: Indah Citra (short)

Evidently, it takes five directors to make an uplifting animated short about child labor. To be fair, it is quite a tall order and in this case, the final product is absolutely beautiful. In fact, it is rather satisfying to watch one young Indonesian girl challenge authority during both her escapist fantasies and her mundane factory life in Sarah Feruglio, Anthony Oliveira, Pierre-Antoine Naline & Maxime Orhnial’s short film Indah Cintra (excerpt here), which screens as part of Programme International 1 short film block at the 2015 Fantasia International Film Festival in Montreal.

Unlike her fellow sneaker assemblers, our plucky young heroine is not intimidated by the thuggish foreman. She is also a bit of a dreamer, with a talent for puppetry and story-telling. As soon as she falls out of his field of vision, she slips into a daydream set during Early Kingdom era. Naturally, she will lead the revolt against a royal despot. When the foreman rouses her rebellious reverie, he gets more than he bargained for.

Although only six minutes long, Indah Cintra could (and perhaps should) easily be expanded into an epic feature. Visually, it is absolutely arresting, employing 3D animation in the present day and cut-out style animation intentionally evoking Lotte Reiniger’s Prince Achmed for the historical fantasy. The combination of styles, mystical themes, and resourceful young protagonist (a sort of Indonesian Norma Rae and Joan of Arc combo) make it a perfect short to pair up with Nina Paley’s Sita Sings the Blues.

Arguably, one of the best things you can say for a short it could be longer without losing any of its zip. Such is the case with the elegant and inspirational (two words that do not often go together) Indah Citra. Highly recommended, it screens today (7/18) as part of this year’s Fantasia.