Indonesian movie ‘Vengeance Is Mine, All Others Pay Cash’ wins best film at 2021 Locarno Film Festival

The film, directed by Edwin, adapts the novel of the same name by Eka Kurniawan

Indonesian action black comedy Vengeance Is Mine, All Others Pay Cash has been named Best Film at the 2021 Locarno International Film Festival.

The film, also known as Seperti Dendam, Rindu Harus Dibayar Tuntas, received the top honour or the Golden Leopard at the Swiss film festival on Saturday (August 14), per The Hollywood Reporter.

Directed by Edwin, the film is an adaptation of the 2014 novel of the same name by Eka Kurniawan, who also wrote its screenplay.

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Vengeance Is Mine follows the story of Ajo Kawir (played by Marthino Lio), a fearless fighter who hides a secret: his sexual impotence. Along the way, he comes across a female fighter named Iteung (played by Ladya Cheryl). Iteung beats Ajo in battle, but the latter soon falls in love with her.

The film also introduces musician Sal Priadi in his acting debut, playing Ajo’s childhood friend Tokek.

In his remotely delivered acceptance speech, director Edwin noted that the Golden Leopard win is also a “celebration for Southeast Asian cinema”. He added: “I hope Southeast Asian cinema is always bringing us a lot of colours and flavours, and most importantly, always dares to speak out against injustice or anything that kills our humanity.”

When announcing the winning film, the festival’s jury president Eliza Hittman praised Vengeance Is Mine for how it “playfully and artfully pays homage to pulp revenge drama from the ’80s and ’90s, but as a jury we were touched by the sensitive and subversive exploration of masculinity and femininity in a violent and macho world.”

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Vengeance Is Mine, All Others Pay Cash had its world premiere at Locarno, and is next slated for a screening at the Toronto International Film Festival in September. A wide release for the movie has yet to be confirmed.

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