Blind Pig Who Wants to Fly presents a series of bizarre vignettes about eight eccentric characters all yearning to be someone else. Linda is a fourth-generation Chinese Indonesian who eats firecrackers to expel ghosts. Her childhood friend, Cahyono, is a Japanese Indonesian who wears a baseball uniform so people don’t think he’s Chinese. Her mother, Verawati, is a former national badminton champion. Her father, Halim, is a blind dentist who will do anything to become more Indonesian, including eye surgery, a religious conversion, and whatever else it will take to win the hand of his Javanese dental assistant Salma who wants to be a Planet Idol pop star. Family friends Romi and Yahya too are happy to help out—if they’re given a little help themselves.
Shot in short portraits of past and present, Blind Pig Who Wants To Fly reflects on the impact of the 1998 riots in Indonesia, when food shortages and widespread unemployment triggered violent attacks on the ethnic Chinese minority. Hundreds of people were killed, women were raped and local businesses were destroyed, and the aftermath left Chinese Indonesians anxious and alienated.
Director Edwin brings out the absurdity in racist concepts of national identity, while creating a stunning film that is beautiful and poetic. Noteworthy is the common—and rather odd—thread running through the film: Stevie Wonder’s hit song “I Just Called to Say I Love You.”
— Heather Keung