The Seen and Unseen

2017

Drama

124
Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Certified Fresh 100%
IMDb Rating 7 10 26

Synopsis


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August 4, 2020

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720p.WEB 1080p.WEB
756.94 MB
1280*720
Indonesian 2.0
NR
23.976 fps
83 min
P/S N/A / N/A
1.37 GB
1920×1080
Indonesian 2.0
NR
23.976 fps
83 min
P/S N/A / N/A

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by CynthiaMargaretWebb 8 / 10 / 10

Twin children must part as one returns to the Unseen world

"Sekala, Niskala" (The Seen and Unseen) The Javanese film maker, Kamila Andini comes from a mainly Muslim culture in Java, however she has been raised by a father who is also a film director, and one who appreciates and makes films about all of the varied ethnic groups on the many islands of this archipelago that the Dutch called 'the emerald necklace', when they were the colonial power there. So Kamila has a rich inner life and wide understanding of her country. She has now won two major awards at the Asia Pacific Screen Awards, in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia. In 2012, her film about the Bajo people, or "Sea Gypsies" of the Wakatobi region of South Suluwesi won the Best Youth Feature Film Award. Now she has done it again, by winning the same award category, with her film about Balinese twins, entitled "Sekala, Niskala". "The Seen and Unseen", is the best English translation. For the Balinese, the Unseen is just as real and relevant as is the material world. (For those who would like to know more about it, refer to the book "Bali – Sekala and Niskala" by Fred B. Eiseman, Jr which was first published in 1990, by Periplus.) At Tokyo Filmex, two days after the APSA Award was announced, (23 Nov 2017) the Jury couldn't choose between Kamila's film and the film of Mouly Sourya, ( also from Indonesia), entitled "Marlina the Murder, in Four Acts", so they awarded both films the Jury Grand Prize. Rare films from Indonesia showing the richness of the ethnic cultures, the variations from island to island, are often new to the eyes of Westerners. Mysticism and spiritual power that runs strong beneath the visible world of Bali. It comes from a mixture of Hindu/Buddhism and Mysticism. Seen through the eyes of the young, still pure and undamaged by the tourism aspect of life in Bali and the realities of adulthood, that world is revealed to us in Kamila's film. We meet village-dwelling twins, a boy, Putra and a girl, Putri, aged about 10. The names are the male and female version of the same name. Their village is in close proximity to the holy mountain, Gunung Agung, which is thought of as "the navel of the world". They run freely in the rice paddies, and play imaginative games, and can read each other's heart and soul. But, catastrophe strikes. The boy becomes ill with a brain tumor and must go to hospital. His sister is quite terrified at this turn of events, and is afraid to even enter the strange white and sterile room, where he has been settled on a high bed and attached to a drip. Putri finds a way of coping by removing herself into the world of Niskala, where she puts on self-made costumes and dances with him, she plays games with him and is often accompanied on her night time walks by the ghost-children. Her dreams of happier times together when he was well, wake her. The ghost children are also waiting for Putra in this between-worlds place, the hospital. He is in the slow process of leaving the real world, he is not yet in the Unseen world. The passing of the months is communicated to us via the phases of the moon in the night sky. There is very little dialogue between them. It's not needed. Putri does everything she can to hold her twin to her, as he is her other half. She tells him, after one of their duo dances, in wonderful bird costumes that she has created from grass and paint, that she would trade places with him, if she could. She collapses to the floor, and he collapses to the bed – their bird dance has been his final effort in this life. He soon descends into a coma. Balinese spiritual life is linked to the Saka Luna calendar that came from Java, with the migration to the island of Hindu people from Java's Majapahit culture, in the fourteenth century. The calendar is organized around the moon's cycles. Duality (represented by the male and female twins) is potent in Balinese culture. Balinese religious activities, offerings, ceremonies are directed at attempting to keep the balance of good and evil. Their traditional black and white checked "poleng" cloth represents the two opposites. The symbol of eggs, that appear several times, during the film, tell us that these two are really 'one'-- an egg that divided in the womb. A lot of "Sekala, Niskala" is filmed at night by Anggi Frisca, who captures the shadows against a sky often lit up by a full moon, and the silhouettes of mysterious ghost children in the long grass. The sounds of nature are also evocative in experiencing this unique film. The scene of Putri dancing for the moon silhouetted against the night sky, is particularly beautiful. Kamila Andini's primary achievement is in the concept, and her realization that this tale can be told visually. Only the scenes with the adults have dialogue… Putri's mother talks to her a reassuringly, and she witnesses one scene where the village men discuss the crucial to life matters of planting the rice paddies, and sharing the water. We see Putri making an offering to Dewi Sri, on whom all of Balinese life depends - Rice and Water. In a film about death, these scenes about life show duality and balance, so important to the Balinese life. Kamila does everything to keep the subtlety, and sweetness. There is no plot, except that a fateful time is passing in the timeless pace of Balinese life, so closely linked to the sacred world and to nature. We are privileged to be watching through the eyes of the brave little Putri.

Reviewed by howard.schumann 7 / 10 / 10

A dreamlike tale of childhood

"I feel like I am the moon, so bright. But after a while, the brightness is fading away" - Tantra The Persian poet Rumi said, "The nature of reality is this: It is hidden, and it is hidden, and it is hidden" In Bali, Sekala and Niskala refer to the everyday world we see through our senses and the deeper reality hidden from our conscious vision. Translated into English as The Seen and Unseen, Indonesian director Kamila Andini's ("The Mirror Never Lies") haunting second feature poetically explores both worlds through the vision of the twins, Tantri (Thaly Titi Kasih) and Tantra (Ida Bagus Putu Radithya Mahijasena), her 10-year-old brother. The inseparable siblings are referred to in Balinese culture as "buncing" (boy-and-girl) twins, a symbol of "balance" in which they "complete each other." In The Seen and the Unseen, Andini evokes a dreamlike tale of childhood that suggests the influence of Indonesian director Apichatpong Weerasethakul whose films of death and rebirth live on the border between the objective world and that of the spirit. Eliciting strikingly real performances from the child actors, the film explores the influence of tradition, the innocence of childhood, and the emotional strength required to cope with trauma. Revealed to be suffering from a brain tumor that is slowly shutting down his body, the film opens as Tantra is being moved to a hospital bed as sister Tantri and mother Ibu (Ayu Laksmi) look on, displaying profound grief. In flashback, we see the twins running through the fields, planting rice, and Tantra providing eggs for Tantri to cook. Though she does not like egg yolks and he dislikes the whites, in a scene that seems to foretell the future, Tantri peels a boiled egg, but there is no yolk inside. When her parents move to the city to make sure that Tantra is provided with the best care, Tantri is left to seek her brother in her imagination. Shown from Tantri's point of view and enhanced by the music of Yasuhiro Morinaga, the film finds its center in the world of images using mystical songs, poems, and dances from the Balinese culture to express the sibling's emotional distress. Helping to bring the film's mystical elements to life, the cinematography of Anggi Frisca provides a balance between the two aspects of reality as exhibited in a stunning "moon" sequence in which we see a full moon, a bamboo tower, and a spirit dancer. Making use of shadows, Tantri stages a puppet show from behind his hospital bed, singing about the moon goddess Ratih and the headless demon Kala Rawu. Ultimately, Tantri is only able to fully express her rage by dressing as a monkey using leaves and branches and performing a wild and uninhibited "Totentanz," a dance of death. In the dream world, a heartbroken Tantri tells her brother, "If only I could replace you, I'm willing to feel the pain. I'm willing to be sick," but the universe, which is always perfect, has other plans.

Reviewed by jeannefrancoise 7 / 10 / 10

The representative movie of daily life in the mind of Balinese children

Dear film festival observers, this movie is the best movie to be screened in film festivals because it shows up the meaning of being a child, the humanity behind Balinese culture and tradition, the meaningful scenes of expressions of having a serious disease, and what is the point of having traditional family to face the signs of spirituality. This movie has strong characters of the actors, the very professional cinematographer, and genuine main story that leads us to question ourselves to believe in 2 parts in this world, the seen and the unseen; "Sekala Niskala" in Balinese language. As an Indonesian, I am really proud to share this movie for my fellow film makers around the world, because it has the rich of Balinese culture and tradition, especially how Balinese people really takes deep attention and high appreciation to their unseen gods, to give gifts and lives to their seen things, for example here many scenes about rice field and foods. If you go to Bali, you can see that Balinese people gives many offerings to their gods everyday and each day has unique representation of meaning, that sometimes tourists still don't understand completely. What the guide said is sometimes not so clear and not so philosophical explained. Here in the Sekala Niskala movie, for me this movie is the representative movie of daily life in the mind of Balinese children, how they must preserve the tradition despite of the reality that life is so hard and each family must raise up each other to follow the ancestors rule. I give 7 stars for this movie, it would be more than 7 if the story has some social critique of The Seen and The Unseen in the context of social life, for example here the brother has some serious disease, so it could be better if there were plots related to poverty and how government of Bali, that is so religious (The Unseen), can give real help to the poor people of Bali (The Seen). So for me the Sekala Niskala meaning is not just ghost or spirit around the real people, but the gap between religiousity and policy. But still, this movie deserves many film festival awards ahead. Congratulation!!

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