Indonesia has picked Joko Anwar's gory but stylish horror film Impetigore to represent the country in the 2021 Oscar race in the international feature category.
The selection was unveiled earlier this week by the Indonesian Academy Awards Selection Committee, and promoted by Anwar on Twitter. "Hopefully this film can be a good representation and raise the international audiences' interest in Indonesian films," the director said in a statement.
Impetigore (titled, Perempuan Tanah Jahanam in Indonesian) premiered at Sundance in January and was picked up by Shudder, where it is streaming exclusively.
Indonesian arthouse director Garin Nugroho, who heads the country's Academy Awards Selection Committee, praised Anwar's refined filmmaking chops, while also noting the story's "cultural background regarding mysticism in Indonesia, which is also the film’s strongest element." Nugroho's controversial coming-of-age drama Memories of My Body was Indonesia's Oscars selection last year.
Impetigore stars Marissa Anita, Tara Basro, Christine Hakim and Asmara Abigail. Its official summary is as follows: "After surviving a murder attempt in the city, Maya (Anita), a down-on-her-luck young woman, learns that she may inherit a house in her ancestral village. With her friend Dini (Basro), Maya returns to the village of her birth, unaware that the community there has been trying to locate and kill her to remove the curse that has plagued the village for years. As she begins to discover the complicated reality about her past, Maya finds herself in a fight for her life."
The film was co-produced by Indonesia's Base Entertainment and Rapi Films, with financing and support from Ivanhoe Pictures (Crazy Rich Asians), and South Korea' s CJ Entertainment (Parasite). The film is the first release from a slate of Anwar-directed projects planned under a co-production deal unveiled in 2018 between the four companies.
Impetigore recently received 17 nominations from the Indonesian Film Festival's awards, including best feature, cinematography, editing and music.
The 2021 Academy Awards will take place April 25, 2021. The Oscar nominations will be announced on March 15.