Ali Topan

Italian Premiere | In Competition


Guest star:
Tersi Eva RANTI, director
Jefri NICHOL, director


Anna Karenina (Lutesha) is the daughter of a construction magnate whose parents have practically promised to marry her to Boy (Alex Matthew Thomas), the son of a government minister with whom they have close ties. But Anna has no interest in Boy and prefers hanging out with her friend Maya (Anya Zen). Maya takes her to Blok M Square in south Jakarta, an area where young people hang out which is very popular with Gen Z kids. In the concert and performance space known as Warung Seni (literally, “art shop”), Anna encounters Ali Topan (Jefri Nichol), a young man who dresses like a biker: leather jacket, jeans and slicked-back hair. In reality, along with his friends Dudung (Reza Hilman), Gevaert (Bebeto Leutualy) and Bobby (Omara Esteghlal), Ali Topan is a rebel with a cause who as the film opens we see trying to stop the neighbourhood’s street vendors from being evicted under orders of the developers who want the land for building. The meeting between Ali and Anna triggers an unexpected spark of attraction at first sight, but inevitably their Romeo-and-Juliet story is destined to encounter opposition from her family. In fact, Anna’s parents have already disinherited her older sister Ika (Widika Sidmore) precisely because she decided to marry a man they didn’t approve of, with the result that Ika moved to Yogyakarta and cut off all contact with them. To avoid something similar happening to Anna, her parents want to send her to study for a master’s degree in Business Administration in Florida. Ali Topan, meanwhile, is the rebellious son of a contractor who just happens to work with the company belonging to Anna’s parents. Ali’s father Amir cheats on his alcoholic wife, leaving Ali to be raised by their loving housekeeper Mbok Yem (Dewi Pakis). After Boy’s thugs cause a serious incident which threatens the continued existence of the Warung Seni, Ali and Anna decide to escape Jakarta on Ali’s motorcycle. The two set out across the landscapes of Central Java in search of Ika and Bobby, keeping a low profile after the clashes at Warung Seni.

The second feature film directed by Sidharta Tata, who debuted last year with horror film Waktu Maghrib, which was seen by almost two and a half million spectators in Indonesia, Ali Topan is a contemporary adaptation of the novel Ali Topan Anak Jalanan (literally “Ali Topan Son of the Streets” by Teguh Esha). Originally appearing in instalments in Stop magazine in 1972, Ali Topan was published as a book in 1977 and, given its great popularity, was adapted for the screen that same year in a film directed by Ishaq Iskandar. Teguh Esha wrote a series of sequels and the source novel was adapted into a popular sinetron or television series in 1996. For his new version, Sidharta Tata chose to cast the star of the old series, Ari Sihasale, in the important role of Pung, leader of the arts community that gathers at Warung Seni. For the roles of Ali Topan and Anna, Tata managed to conjure up convincing chemistry between charismatic soft-hearted tough guy Jefri Nichol and the luminous Lutesha. But despite all the rock and motorcycle racing, their relationship is about more than just romance. As in other Visinema productions, Ali Topan combines entertainment cinema with social criticism. The character of Ali Topan is declaredly “outside the system” and his meeting and relationship with Anna Karenina also helps her open her eyes to the unscrupulous behaviour of her family. Without being preachy, Ali Topan therefore delivers a challenge to the “system,” conveyed through the fervour of youthful love.

Paolo Bertolin
Film director: Sidharta TATA
Year: 2023
Running time: 115'
Country: Indonesia
01/05 - 9:40 PM
Teatro Nuovo Giovanni da Udine
01-05-2024 21:40 01-05-2024 23:35Europe/Rome Ali Topan Far East Film Festival Teatro Nuovo Giovanni da UdineCEC Udine
Online in Italy until the end of the Festival