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Edwin, you are now in quarantine back in your country, Indonesia. How do you feel about winning the Pardo d’oro?
Of course, I’m very happy. None of us thought it was even possible to win a prize like that. We needed this energy, now is not such an easy time. It’s a great support for the movie.
Cinema is a collective effort, a recognition for every people that worked at the film.
I remember we were around 140 people at the maximum, because we had to restrict numbers for the pandemic protocols. It was really a great effort from all of us, since the beginning, the pre-production process, when we were a very small group. All the cast and crew started to grow with the progress of the filming. 140 people at the most, but then we were less and less while we were in the editing room. A good crew, for a process that lasted around five years. The spirit of everyone involved in Vengeance is Mine, All Others Pay Cash was really amazing. We were able to stay safe during the shooting and now at the Locarno Film Festival. Meeting the audience was very special.
Your movie is an Indonesian story which was pretty much able to communicate with other cultures. It has been really appreciated by an international public and jury.
We are all human, even if coming from different geographical places. We are connected through emotional approach, hopes and imagination. That’s the power of cinema. Maybe there are some contexts missing, but we speak the same language, the language of movies.
What’s the situation of contemporary cinema in Indonesia?
It’s still young, like cinema in most of Southeast Asia, a region I feel very much connected to. We are all facing more or less the same spirit and problems. We have censorship and violence here and there. Speaking also on behalf of friends that are from the same region, we are very excited for the growth of our cinema. Even in this very difficult time we can find the energy that keeps us together. Celebrating ourselves, but at the same criticizing, facing our problems through cinema.
What would you say to a younger cinema student trying to become a director?
I would say to all filmmakers, young or old, that in this period we should enjoy our profession even more. We can celebrate our passion in cinema and at the same time share our energy with other people. I would say something to younger generations: it’s the most incredible time, making the first film. Please, just enjoy the process.
Do you think that the pandemic will influence the way you’ll make movies in the near future?
I think so. The pandemic is something we cannot avoid, with all the world facing the same enemy. Some countries made it better, others, like Indonesia, didn’t do so well. But we understand the feeling of what it means living in this period. The cinema itself is adapting and absorbing what happens in the world and in society. It’s very connected with the time the film is made. I think we must re-evaluate everything about before the pandemic, all our world is changing. It’s a very interesting time for cinema, I’m looking forward to seeing what kind of beautiful movies can follow all of this.