Indonesian cinema has a long and rich history, with a diverse range of films spanning various genres and styles. From classic works of Indonesian cinema from the 1950s to contemporary hits of the 21st century, there are many outstanding movies that showcase the country’s culture, history, and artistic talent.

Indonesian cinema has experienced significant growth and evolution in recent years, with a new wave of young and innovative filmmakers pushing the boundaries of the medium and exploring new themes and styles. From action-packed thrillers to thoughtful dramas and romantic comedies, Indonesian movies offer something for every taste.

Some of the most famous Indonesian movies include the classic drama “Tjoet Nja’ Dhien” (1988), the horror film “Pengabdi Setan” (1980), and the action-packed crime thriller “The Raid” (2011). More recent hits include the romantic drama “Laskar Pelangi” (2008), the comedy “Ada Apa Dengan Cinta 2” (2016), and the critically acclaimed drama “Marlina the Murderer in Four Acts” (2017).

Best Indonesian Movies

Indonesian cinema is a vibrant and dynamic part of the country’s cultural heritage, and it continues to produce exciting and innovative works that captivate audiences both at home and abroad.

1. The Raid: Redemption (2012)

“The Raid: Redemption” is a 2012 Indonesian action film directed by Gareth Evans. The film follows an elite SWAT team as they raid a rundown apartment building in Jakarta, which is home to a notorious drug lord and his heavily armed henchmen.

The film is known for its intense and visceral action sequences, as well as its innovative cinematography and sound design. It is also noted for its skilled choreography and martial arts performances, which draw on Indonesian martial arts traditions such as Pencak Silat.

“The Raid: Redemption” was a critical and commercial success, winning several awards at film festivals and receiving widespread praise for its direction, cinematography, and action sequences. It has since become a cult classic and has been credited with revitalizing the action genre in both Indonesian and global cinema.

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The Raid: Redemption [Blu-ray]
  • Factory sealed DVD
  • Iko Uwais, Joe Taslim, Doni Alamsyah (Actors)
  • Gareth Evans (Director) - Ario Sagantoro (Producer)
  • English (Subtitle)
  • English (Publication Language)

2. Impetigore (2021)

“Impetigore” is a 2020 Indonesian horror film directed by Joko Anwar. The movie follows a young woman named Maya (played by Tara Basro) who, after discovering she may have inherited a house in her ancestral village, sets out on a journey to claim it.

However, when she arrives in the village, she soon discovers a dark secret about her past and the origins of her family’s wealth.

The film is known for its atmospheric cinematography, tense and suspenseful scenes, and graphic violence. It explores themes of identity, family, and the consequences of greed. “Impetigore” has been praised for its unique take on Indonesian folklore and its exploration of the country’s history and cultural traditions.

The film premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and has since gained critical acclaim both in Indonesia and internationally. It is part of a recent wave of Indonesian horror movies that have gained popularity for their fresh takes on the genre and their unique cultural perspective.

Impetigore (Region Free Blu-ray) (Hong Kong Version / English subtitled) Indonesian movie aka Perempuan Tanah Jahanam / 凶宅契約
  • Tara Basro, Ario Bayu, Marissa Anita (Actors)
  • Joko Anwar (Director)
  • English, Traditional Chinese, Simplified Chinese (Subtitles)
  • Audience Rating: NR (Not Rated)

3. Eat Pray Love (2010)

“Eat Pray Love” is a 2010 American romantic drama film directed by Ryan Murphy and starring Julia Roberts. The film is based on the memoir of the same name by Elizabeth Gilbert, and follows her journey of self-discovery as she travels to Italy, India, and Bali after a difficult divorce.

The film explores themes of spirituality, personal growth, and the pursuit of happiness. It features a talented cast of actors, including Javier Bardem, James Franco, and Richard Jenkins, and has a beautiful soundtrack that incorporates music from around the world.

   

“Eat Pray Love” received mixed reviews from critics, with some praising its message of self-discovery and others criticizing its lack of depth and reliance on stereotypes. Nevertheless, it remains a popular film for its inspiring message and beautiful visuals, and is a great choice for anyone looking for a feel-good movie about travel and self-discovery.

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Eat Pray Love
  • Factory sealed DVD
  • Julia Roberts, Javier Bardem, Viola Davis (Actors)
  • Ryan Murphy (Director)
  • English, French, Spanish (Subtitles)
  • English (Publication Language)

4. The Fall (2006)

“The Fall” is a 2006 adventure fantasy film directed by Tarsem Singh. The film tells the story of a Hollywood stuntman, Roy Walker, who is hospitalized after a stunt gone wrong. While recovering in the hospital, he befriends a young girl named Alexandria who is also a patient.

To pass the time, Roy starts telling Alexandria an elaborate story about five heroes on a quest to defeat an evil ruler. The story unfolds in Alexandria’s imagination as Roy’s storytelling takes on a life of its own. As the story progresses, Roy becomes more emotionally invested in the outcome, and the line between reality and fantasy begins to blur.

“The Fall” is known for its visually stunning cinematography and surreal, dreamlike imagery. The film was shot in 20 different countries over a period of four years, with a focus on natural landscapes and vibrant colors. The film’s story-within-a-story structure and the performances of the lead actors, Lee Pace and Catinca Untaru, have also been praised.

Despite receiving mixed reviews upon its initial release, “The Fall” has gained a cult following over the years, with many viewers praising its visual artistry and unique storytelling style. It is a must-watch for fans of visually stunning films and those who appreciate unconventional storytelling.

The Fall
  • Factory sealed DVD
  • Lee Pace (Actor)
  • Tarsem Singh (Director)
  • English, French (Subtitles)
  • Audience Rating: R (Restricted)

5. The Act of Killing (2012)

“The Act of Killing” is a 2012 documentary film directed by Joshua Oppenheimer, Christine Cynn, and an anonymous Indonesian filmmaker. The film examines the Indonesian killings of 1965–66, in which an estimated one million people were killed by the government and paramilitary groups.

The film follows several former death squad leaders, who openly discuss and reenact their role in the killings. They are given the opportunity to make their own films about their experiences, which often take on surreal and fantastical tones.

   

Through their self-portrayals, the film exposes the moral and psychological dimensions of genocide, and the ongoing political implications of the killings in Indonesia.

“The Act of Killing” has been widely praised for its innovative and impactful approach to documenting the atrocities of the past. It won numerous awards, including the BAFTA Award for Best Documentary, and was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature.

The film is widely regarded as a powerful reminder of the importance of confronting and acknowledging past crimes in order to build a better future.

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6. The Look of Silence (2014)

“The Look of Silence” is a 2014 documentary film directed by Joshua Oppenheimer. The film is a companion piece to Oppenheimer’s previous documentary, “The Act of Killing,” and explores the Indonesian genocide of 1965-66, in which an estimated one million people were killed.

The film follows an optometrist named Adi Rukun, whose older brother was among the victims of the genocide. Adi sets out to confront the men responsible for his brother’s death, including those who still hold positions of power in the Indonesian government.

“The Look of Silence” is known for its powerful and emotional storytelling, as well as its unflinching examination of the legacy of the Indonesian genocide. The film is also noted for its striking visuals, which use close-up shots of Adi’s face and eyes to convey his emotions and reactions to the interviews.

The film received widespread critical acclaim and won numerous awards, including the Grand Jury Prize at the Venice Film Festival and the Best Documentary award at the Asia Pacific Screen Awards. It has been credited with bringing attention to the ongoing human rights abuses in Indonesia and inspiring a national conversation about the need for reconciliation and justice.

7. Gundala (2019)

“Gundala” is a 2019 Indonesian superhero movie directed by Joko Anwar, based on the Indonesian comic book character of the same name created by Harya Suraminata. The movie follows the story of Sancaka (played by Abimana Aryasatya), a man who discovers that he has superhuman powers and becomes the vigilante superhero, Gundala.

Set in a dark and gritty world, the movie explores themes of corruption, social inequality, and political unrest. The film features action-packed fight scenes, special effects, and a dramatic score. It also features a diverse cast of characters and a mix of Indonesian cultural elements and western superhero tropes.

“Gundala” was a critical and commercial success in Indonesia and has gained a following internationally. It is considered one of the first Indonesian superhero movies and has paved the way for other movies in the genre. The film also sets up a potential cinematic universe for future Indonesian superhero movies.

Gundala [DVD]
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8. Marlina and The Murderer in Four Acts (2017)

“Marlina and the Murderer in Four Acts” is a 2017 Indonesian film directed by Mouly Surya. The film tells the story of Marlina, a young widow who seeks justice after a gang of men break into her home, rob her, and attempt to rape her. Marlina takes matters into her own hands and embarks on a journey of revenge across the rugged landscapes of Sumba Island.

The film explores themes of gender violence, power, and justice, and offers a unique perspective on the struggles facing women in Indonesia. It features a talented cast of actors, including Marsha Timothy, Egy Fedly, and Dea Panendra, and has a visual style that blends elements of traditional Indonesian culture with modern storytelling techniques.

   

“Marlina and the Murderer in Four Acts” has received critical acclaim from audiences and critics alike, winning numerous awards at international film festivals. It is a powerful and thought-provoking film that offers a powerful critique of patriarchal power structures and the resilience of women in the face of adversity.

Marlina The Murderer In Four Acts
  • Marsha Timothy (Actor)
  • Mouly Surya (Director)
  • English (Subtitle)
  • Audience Rating: NR (Not Rated)

9. Mystics in Bali (1981)

“Mystics in Bali” is a 1981 Indonesian horror film directed by H. Tjut Djalil. The film follows a young American woman named Cathy who travels to Bali to learn about the local black magic practices. She meets a powerful sorceress named Mahendrata and becomes her student, but soon discovers the horrifying truth behind her teachings.

The film is known for its surreal imagery, including scenes of supernatural creatures and transformations. It also explores themes of power, greed, and the consequences of seeking knowledge beyond one’s understanding.

“Mystics in Bali” gained a cult following for its unique blend of horror and mysticism, as well as its bold and unusual visuals. The film was notable for its depiction of Indonesian folklore and black magic practices, which were relatively unknown to Western audiences at the time of its release.

Despite being a low-budget production, “Mystics in Bali” has been influential in shaping the horror genre in Indonesia and inspiring future filmmakers to explore similar themes and imagery. It is a must-watch for fans of horror films and those interested in exploring the unique cultural traditions of Indonesia.

10. Paradise Road (1997)

“Paradise Road” is a 1997 Australian war drama film directed by Bruce Beresford. The film is based on the true story of a group of women who were imprisoned in a Japanese internment camp in Sumatra during World War II.

The film depicts the struggles faced by these women as they try to maintain their dignity and sanity in the face of extreme hardship and brutality.

The film features an ensemble cast that includes Glenn Close, Frances McDormand, Pauline Collins, Cate Blanchett, and Julianna Margulies, among others. The performances in the film were widely praised, as was its sensitive and nuanced portrayal of the experiences of women in wartime.

“Paradise Road” was also noted for its use of music, with the women in the internment camp forming a choir and using music to cope with their situation. The film’s score, composed by David Hirschfelder, was nominated for the ARIA Award for Best Original Soundtrack Album.

Overall, “Paradise Road” is a powerful and moving film that offers a unique perspective on the experiences of women in wartime. It has been widely praised for its performances, direction, and sensitive treatment of its subject matter, and is regarded as a significant contribution to Australian cinema.

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Paradise Road [DVD]
  • Paradise Road - DVD Brand New
  • Glenn Close, Frances McDormand, Pauline Collins (Actors)
  • Bruce Beresford (Director) - Betty Jeffrey (Writer)
  • English, Spanish (Subtitles)
  • Audience Rating: R (Restricted)

11. Dilan 1990 (2018)

“Dilan 1990” is a 2018 Indonesian romance film directed by Fajar Bustomi and Pidi Baiq. The film is based on the novel “Dilan: Dia Adalah Dilanku Tahun 1990” by Pidi Baiq, and follows the story of a high school girl named Milea who falls in love with a charismatic and rebellious boy named Dilan.

Set in 1990s Indonesia, the film explores themes such as young love, friendship, and the challenges of growing up in a society undergoing rapid change. The film is known for its nostalgic portrayal of the 1990s era, including the music, fashion, and cultural references of the time.

“Dilan 1990” was a commercial and critical success, becoming one of the highest-grossing Indonesian films of all time. The film was praised for its engaging storyline, strong performances, and its ability to capture the spirit of young love and nostalgia.

It has since become a beloved classic of Indonesian cinema and has spawned sequels and spin-offs, including a TV series adaptation.

Novel Pidi Baiq : Dilan 1990, 1991 & Milea
  • Popular Novel Collection from Pidi Baiq :
  • Dilan 1990
  • Dilan 1991
  • Milea
  • English (Publication Language)

12. One Day We’ll Talk About Today (2020)

“One Day We’ll Talk About Today” is a 2020 Bangladeshi drama film directed by filmmaker and artist, Abdullah Mohammad Saad. The movie follows the story of a family who is forced to confront their secrets and past trauma when a mysterious stranger arrives at their doorstep.

The film explores themes of family, loss, and grief, and takes a nuanced approach to mental health and the impact of trauma on individuals and their relationships. The movie also touches on issues such as economic inequality, corruption, and social stigma.

“One Day We’ll Talk About Today” is known for its strong performances, realistic portrayal of Bangladeshi society, and its sensitive treatment of complex issues.

The movie has been praised for its storytelling and for its ability to bring awareness to important social issues in Bangladesh. It has also been recognized with several awards and nominations at international film festivals.

3 Characteristics of Indonesian Movies

Cultural diversity: Indonesian movies often showcase the country’s cultural diversity, which is reflected in the many ethnic groups, languages, and traditions that exist across the archipelago. Indonesian films frequently explore themes related to traditional customs and practices, as well as contemporary issues related to social and political change.

Strong storytelling: Indonesian movies are known for their strong storytelling and character development. Many Indonesian films have compelling narratives that incorporate elements of drama, romance, and action, and feature complex and relatable characters.

Social and political relevance: Many Indonesian movies tackle important social and political issues, such as corruption, inequality, and human rights. Indonesian filmmakers often use their movies as a platform to raise awareness of these issues and encourage public discourse and action. Additionally, many Indonesian films reflect the country’s unique position as a developing nation with a rich history and culture, offering a window into the challenges and opportunities of contemporary Indonesia.

3 Reasons To Watch Indonesian Movies

Diversity: Indonesia is a country with a rich cultural heritage and a diverse population, and this is reflected in its cinema. Indonesian movies cover a wide range of genres, including drama, comedy, action, horror, and romance, and often explore themes that are unique to Indonesian culture. By watching Indonesian movies, you can gain a deeper understanding of the country and its people.

Unique storytelling: Indonesian movies often feature unconventional storytelling techniques and bold, experimental cinematography. Many films explore themes of spirituality, mythology, and the supernatural, providing a fresh perspective on storytelling. Indonesian cinema is also known for its social commentary and its exploration of contemporary issues facing the country, such as political corruption and environmental degradation.

Talented filmmakers and actors: Indonesia has a thriving film industry with a wealth of talented filmmakers and actors. The country has produced many award-winning directors, such as Garin Nugroho and Nia Dinata, who have gained international recognition for their work. Indonesian actors are also known for their expressive performances and ability to connect with audiences.

In summary, Indonesian movies offer a unique and diverse perspective on storytelling, with themes and styles that are often distinct from Hollywood or other Western cinema. By watching Indonesian movies, you can gain a greater appreciation for the country’s culture, its cinema, and its talented filmmakers and actors.

Best Indonesian Movies – Wrap Up

In conclusion, Indonesian cinema has a rich history and a diverse range of films that showcase the country’s culture, history, and artistic talent. From classic works of Indonesian cinema to contemporary hits of the 21st century, Indonesian movies offer something for every taste.

Some of the most famous Indonesian movies include the classic drama “Tjoet Nja’ Dhien” (1988), the horror film “Pengabdi Setan” (1980), and the action-packed crime thriller “The Raid” (2011). More recent hits include the romantic drama “Laskar Pelangi” (2008), the comedy “Ada Apa Dengan Cinta 2” (2016), and the critically acclaimed drama “Marlina the Murderer in Four Acts” (2017).

Indonesian cinema has experienced significant growth and evolution in recent years, with a new wave of young and innovative filmmakers pushing the boundaries of the medium and exploring new themes and styles. This has resulted in an exciting and dynamic film industry that continues to produce exciting and innovative works that captivate audiences both at home and abroad.

Overall, Indonesian cinema is an important part of the country’s cultural heritage, and it has the potential to continue making a significant impact on the global film industry.