What we can promise is that this smart, charming and energetic film will remind you why you’re flipping through this catalogue right now – your love for movies! Writer/director Joko Anwar, himself a prominent Indonesian film critic, completely nails our movie-going obsession by opening the film with a rollickingly hilarious lampoon of prototypical moviegoers (he names ten types – try picking them out while watching this film!). And this is just the tip of the cinephilic trivia.
But Anwar’s intent is not to just cater to the cineastes – indeed, this romantic comedy is as accessible as they come for an indie film. Executed with such panache and intelligence, Joni’s Promise not only perfectly showcases the new Indonesian cinematic renaissance that began with Nia Di Nata’s taboo-breaking Arisan! in 2003 (co-written by Anwar), it also makes us wonder why Hollywood can’t create something with just as much fun.
Our intrepid protagonist, the boyishly good-looking Joni, is just your regular film delivery Joe, shuttling prints between cinemas so bigwigs can show films in more theatres without doubling their print costs. But on this particular day, he meets the girl of his dreams…and suddenly his perfect delivery record goes to hell. So he takes off in his Run Joni Run mode (replete with a rocking soundtrack and frenetic camerawork), avoiding various mishaps while chasing down that elusive missing print. Reminiscent of the madcap cinema of Japanese iconoclast Sabu, Anwar’s directorial debut is as disarmingly comic and appealingly youthful as they come.
Joko Anwar was born in Medan, North Sumatra, Indonesia in 1975. He started off as an Aeronautical Engineering major in university but spent those years instead making a number of short films. In 2000, he joined the Jakarta Post as a contributing film writer. Arisan! (2003) marked his first foray into feature filmmaking as both writer and First Assistant Director. Joni’s Promise (2005) is his debut feature film.