If you have a strong stomach and don’t mind surrealism and ambiguity, go and see “Blind pig who wants to fly”, and Indonesian film just shown at Osaka Asian Film Festival. This is a summary of the gallery of characters in the movie: a female teenager who eat firecrackers, a dentist obsessed with Stevie Wonder’s song who decides to became a Muslim and selfmutilates himelf, a forgotten wife, a Muslim assistant who wants to be a TV rock-star, a politician and a military in a homosexual relation, a pig in the montains who wants to escape, and old man playing billiards and giving advice about life to his grand-daughter with a Dutch line: “Shot your arrow. But don’t hit me in the eyes. My eyes are to see the beautiful world around me. But my heart is only for you”.
Actually, the movie is about the Chinese minority in Indonesia, their lack of identity, and the riots of 1998, where hundreds of Chinese were killed and/or raped by a mob fighting the government and desperate because of an economic crisis. (Me, personally, I did’t know about this, or at least, I don’t remember it from the news, but I saw something similar in Argentina in December 2001 when the “corralito”: people took the streets and looted the small shops owed by the Chinese, although their objective was basically monetary and violence was not exerted to that point. In Indonesia there was real hatred towards the Chinese).
With this movie be ready for a good deal of thinking and symbolism, something extraordinary in an era like our’s when everything is so explicit and easy-to-understand for the average dumb Hollywood movie-watcher.
I think the director chose this way -even including humor- of showing such a high degree of violence because there wouldn’t be another way for us to digest it. It reminds me a little bit to Argentinan playwriter Griselda Gambaro’s “Teatro de la crueldad” (Cruelty Theater) in the 70’s.