Promised Paradise

  • Indonesia
  • Netherlands

Banned in Indonesia, Promised Paradise follows the quest of an Indonesian puppeteer to meet three men convicted of the 2002 nightclub bombings in Bali. Along the way, director Leonard Retel Helmrich shows the puppeteer’s unique method of exploring the issue of terrorism through puppet shows, featuring – among other things – a dancing Osama Bin Laden doll and a shadow-play attack on the World Trade Center.

In a suburb in Jakarta, the capital of Indonesia, the largest Muslim community of the world, encased in a cardboard television set, troubadour Agus re-enacts the September 11, 2001 attacks in New York in front of a public of children, using the packaging of a toy featuring the Word Trade Centre and a weird looking fish-plane. "Everything you see on your television is a lie: in this cardboard television the people are made of flesh and blood," he explains. Looking for answers, Agus tries to encounter terrorist Imam Samudra, the organizer of the 2002 discotheque bombing in Bali, in his cell in order to better corner him. He even consults a paranormal medium to enter in contact with one of the suicide bombers who died during the attack, and ask him if he regrets his act. Promised Paradise confronts reality to theatrical performances through scenes inspired by acts of violence that shatter the country and the confusions that plague Indonesian society.

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