“A Copy of my Mind” proves that Joko Anwar is a true master of cinema

Shot in just 8 days in true guerrilla fashion, with Joko Anwar placing his actors in neighborhoods in Jakarta that neither police nor army would accompany them, “A Copy of my Mind” proves that talent, planning and expertise do not need time in order to achieve a great outcome. Financed by the S. Korean powerhouse CJ Entertainment, the film is the first part of a trilogy.

Sari works in a beauty salon, but her real passion is movies, particularly “trash” ones, usually involving hybrid monsters like the anacobra. Being poor though, she has to buy her films from shops that sell copied DVD, which usually feature awful subtitles. Alek is responsible for this fact, since he makes a living by writing subtitles for pirate DVD, almost exclusively by using Google Translate. The two of them eventually stumble upon each other as Sari is complaining about the quality of the subtitles, and the shop’s owner turns her to Alek. Eventually the two of them become a couple, and their life seems to be picking up, as Sari gets a job in a more aristocratic beauty salon. However, when she is sent in prison to do a facial to a woman crime lord, their lives become extremely dangerous, since Sari decides to steal a DVD from her that proves to contain a video of her dealings with politicians.

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Joko Anwar directs a film that cruises through the genres, as it begins like a realistic drama, then becomes a romance and eventually a thriller with political elements. Furthermore, his distinct sense of humor is always present, and exemplified in scenes like the one with the gay porn. Apart from that, the movie features much less violence than his previous works (“The Forbidden Door” for example), although it is not completely absent. The political message is quite poignant and derives from the concept of the crime lord and her dealings with the authorities, in a segment that is largely based on true events.

“A Copy of my Mind” is also a hymn to Jakarta, as it highlights everyday life in the capital of Indonesia and features many different aspects of it. In that fashion, Ical Tanjung’s cinematography does wonders in portraying the various locations in the city as realistically as possible, with the element of realism becoming even more heightened by the fact that Anwar did not use artificial lighting at all, just the one already existing in the locations he shot. Along with the precise editing, the movie gives the impression that it is an expensive production, although the case is exactly the opposite.

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Chicco Jericho as Alek and Tara Basro as Sari exemplify their chemistry, and in the process become one of the most likeable couples I have witnessed on cinema, this year at least. Their looks  help much in this aspect, as both of them are gorgeous.  The latter’s performance is evidently on a higher level, since her role is much larger and she responds with elaborateness, as she exemplifies her mischievous but somewhat naive persona.

“A Copy of my Mind” is a great film, that highlights Joko Anwar’s abilities to the fullest. Personally, I cannot wait to see the next two parts of the trilogy.

“A Copy of my Mind” was screened in the Five Flavours Festival in Warsaw.

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