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The Mirror Never Lies

According to Bajo tribal folklore, a ritual mirror can display an image of a missing fisherman who will return from the sea. Twelve-year-old Pakis clings to this mirror, searching for her father’s magical reflection. Debuting director Kamila Andini (daughter of master Indonesian filmmaker Garin Nugroho) draws upon her personal history with the Bajo tribe, known as the “Sea Gypsies,” and frames this exotic gem of a film in the lush Wakatobi archipelago. The largely Bajo non-professional actors shine, including the young lead, Gita Novalista, who perfectly captures the spectrum of emotional experiences that Pakis faces: familial loss, goofy first love, conflict with her grieving and emotionally absent mother, her own blossoming womanhood and, eventually, her journey toward the acceptance of her father’s death. Featuring a strong ecological message and a celebration of the Bajo’s sustainable way of life, the film is both global and highly personal. In Indonesian with English subtitles. Directed by Kamila Andini. Produced by Garin Nugroho, Devy Wildosari Suradji.

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