Highlights among the more than 100 films and videos from 25 Pacific Rim countries are reviewed here:
Indonesia Screens today at 8 p.m. at Los Feliz Theater, 1822 N. Vermont Ave., Hollywood; Thursday at 6 p.m. at Melnitz Theater, UCLA
This Indonesian film--the equivalent to an American liberal "problem" soap opera--confronts a stalwart matriarch with a seemingly endless series of romantic and social quandaries inflicted by her offspring, ranging from adultery to miscegenation to simple bad manners. The images are wide-screen and colorful, the decor sedately middle-class, and the actors restrained. As a contrast, the film juxtaposes, against all this bourgeois comfort and dissonance, a violent period melodrama: a stage play in which one of the mother's sons has an inappositely daredevil role. Interesting only as a seemingly realistic reflection of Indonesian culture and family life, "Mother," despite all the sibling trouble and turbulence, never explodes into much dramatic fire or emotion. It's not exactly a lifeless film, but it's certainly a careful one.