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Siti

[…] There is no spatial depth in «Siti», no horizons – which seems to reinforce the closure of her destiny. That’s why the landscape has a very powerful function of rupturing, and it arrives like a rupture. Siti’s search for integrity necessarily implies the breaking of her social network: the recuperation of her integrity comes just when she risks complete disintegration.

With the woman as the general theme for this year’s Festival International de Films de Fribourg, Siti can be seen as a paradigmatic film, as its focus on an Indonesian woman is able to stress not only the difficulties women face today, but also the complexity of their role and identity without falling into the trap of victimization or hero-ization. Through a fiction with a strong documentary style, Eddie Cahyono immerses us into the story of Siti, a woman for whom the loneliness grows insofar as she needs to multiply her faces. There is a Siti mother, Siti wife, Siti daughter-in-law, Siti friend, Siti worker, Siti lover; and they are all different. Under the pressure of compelling needs and necessities, the woman has to cope with the irresponsibility of men, she has to assume responsibility for the life of the family, and finally she finds herself obliged to lose her integrity. It is through the simple narration of Siti’s different relationships that the film stresses the multiple perspectives that deconstruct her. At the same time, the splendid black-and-white camera remains obsessively close to its main character, as if it wouldn’t lose her. There is no spatial depth in Siti, no horizons – which seems to reinforce the closure of her destiny. That’s why the landscape has a very powerful function of rupturing, and it arrives like a rupture. Siti’s search for integrity necessarily implies the breaking of her social network: the recuperation of her integrity comes just when she risks complete disintegration. The long final sequence, in which the woman carries on into the desert landscape towards the sea, is certainly one of the strongest scenes in the film. However, this is not the only scene to remain engraved in our memory, because the entire film impresses with its aesthetic coherence, creating one entity with its emotive atmosphere.

Text: Giuseppe Di Salvatore

First published: May 09, 2016

Siti | Film | Eddie Cahyono | IDN 2014 | 95’ | FIFF 2016 | Cinéma Rex

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