Indonesia, 2022, 133’, Indonesian, Javanese
Directed by: Upi
Screenplay: Upi, Joko Anwar
Photography (color): H. Arfian
Editing: Teguh Raharjo
Art Direction: Jafar
Music: Aghi Narottama, Bemby Gusti, Tony Merle
Producers: R. Bismarka Kurniawan, Wicky V. Olindo, Joko Anwar
Cast: Pevita Pearce (Alana), Reza Rahadian (Jatmiko), Christine Hakim (Eyang Mariani)
Date of First Release in Territory: November 17th, 2022
Like a starting pistol signaling the beginning of an intense and violent journey to come, Mount Merapi’s volcano erupts and releases black smoke that engulfs those in the vicinity. Unfortunately, this natural disaster not only brings Alana to the world much earlier than she is scheduled, but also separates her from her parents forever. Luckily, she is adopted by a wealthy woman who guides her to control her mysterious anger and extraordinary strength.
With an adamant heart for righteousness ever since childhood, Alana grows up as a professional fighter who never loses. While struggling with her uncontrollable emotions and strange nightmares, she somehow gets involved with the family of a notorious conglomerate, Prayogo. Her conflict with the rich family leads her to discover the mysteries of her own identity and her ancestor, as well as the bigger meaning behind her existence. Like all superhero movies, she must fight against evil to save the innocent.
Based on the 1954 comic book by R. A. Kosasih, known as the father of Indonesian comics, director Upi and Gundala’s (2019) director and writer Joko Anwar work magic to compose the cinematic world of Sri Asih, the second installment set in the Bumilangit Cinematic Universe (BCU). Challenging Hollywood and superhero films from around the globe, this Southeast Asian version of the superhero franchise brings forth a delightful, beautiful, and kick-ass female superhero, even cooler than Wonder Woman. Pevita Pearce plays the superhero Sri Asih and Alana, who has superhuman strength equalling 250 male adults. Not only does she successfully engage the audience with her superb performance, but she also shows off impressive martial arts skills and her top-notch physique, proving herself the best fit for the role.
Following the success of the first film in the series, Gundala, which screened at the festival in 2020, Sri Asih boasts enhanced CGI and choreography from Indonesia, demonstrating how fast the industry can grow within such a short time. However, the film is much more than an impressive visual spectacle. Of course, it’s hard not to notice the glamorous lighting, CGI, and action, but they’re fundamentally supported by the strong foundation built by Upi’s characters and their deep-rooted backgrounds. The solid and realistic motives behind the characters’ actions make Sri Asih a well-rounded film. It’s also important to note that the sound effects and music are stylish and fitting, and they enhance the visual experience.
Upi’s works have constantly been showcased at the Far East Film Festival, including Radit & Jani (2008), Last Wolf (2009), Shackled (2012), and My Stupid Boss (2016) to name a few. From these titles alone, it’s easy to see that Upi is a versatile filmmaker who can successfully execute films of every genre. Sri Asih allows her to add the superhero genre to her already long list of strong suits.
Including Sri Asih and Gundala, there are 7 titles planned in Volume 1 of the series. The third title just released domestically in March this year. How the stories connect will be the focal point as we follow along the franchise. Sri Asih announces the beginning of Indonesia becoming a power player in the superhero genre as the industry evolves and pushes boundaries outside of the horror genre which used to be its strongest game.
Upi Avianto was born in Jakarta in 1972. She is one of Indonesia’s most popular screenwriter, director, and producer, and with films in every genre under her belt, she is also one of the most versatile filmmakers who is recognized for her artistic talent and commercial success. Out of the 12 features she directed, Sri Ashi is the 7th title to screen at the Far East Film Festival. In addition to her already abundant filmography, Upi also works on television series. Among her films, My Stupid Boss was the most critically acclaimed and won 3 awards at the Festival Film Indonesia and 1 award at the Maya Awards.
2004 – 30 Hari Mencari Cinta
2006 – Realita, Cinta dan Rock’n Roll
2008 – Radit & Jani
2010 – Red CobeX
2012 – Shackled
2014 – Princess, Bajak Laut & Alien
2016 – My Stupid Boss
2017 – My Generation
2019 – My Stupid Boss 2
2022 – Sri Asih