Letter to an Angel (Surat Untuk Bidadari) (1994) | Asian Restored Classics 2019

  • September 8, 2019 | 5:00 PM - 7:00 PM | Sunday
  • Oldham Theatre


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Director: Garin Nugroho
Runtime: 118 minutes
Country: Indonesia
Language: Indonesian, Sumbanese with English subtitles
Rating: NC16 (Some Violence and Disturbing Scenes)
Restored Version

30 Aug, Friday – 8PM *Director will be present for a post-screening discussion.
08 Sep, Sunday – 5pm

The film was the first to be shot on Sumba island, one of the last bastions of pre-Hindu animism. Made with help from locals, this fairy tale follows Lewa, a boy who believes in an angel that looks after the earth. Having lost his mother early, Lewa writes to the angel for answers, but is frustrated with the lack of reply. After a tourist gifts him with a Polaroid, Lewa looks for his mother through this new medium. However, his incessant photography brings disaster to the island. Adapting a story then banned under Suharto, the film shows traditional Indonesian society to be at odds with modernity, its mix of folk music and experimental electronica heightening the sense of cultural clash.

Restoration Notes
The restoration of Surut Untuk Bidadari or Letter to an Angel by the Asian Film Archive was made possible using two surviving 35mm release prints – one from the collection of Sinematek Indonesia, and the other one from the Japanese Foundation that contained English and Japanese subtitles.

After inspection and comparison, the print from the Japan foundation was found to be a complete version of the film and was used as a secondary source to replace missing frames from the Indonesian print.The print from Sinematek Indonesia was affected with dirt, shrinkage, and numerous thick scratches on the emulsion and base of the material.

The film was scanned and restored in 4k resolution by Eclair Cinema in 2018 and completed in 2019. The restoration work included scratch removal, destabilising, deflickering, and colour correction. Additional audio processing such as noise, clicks and hum removal had to be carried out to ensure a better auditory experience.

To Note:
– All film screenings are held at Oldham Theatre, National Archives of Singapore.
– Tickets can be purchased at the Oldham Theatre Box Office. Click here for opening hours.
– Concession tickets apply to Students (Local & Overseas), Full-time National Servicemen (NSF), and Senior Citizens (55 years old and above) only.
– Please check the film rating before purchase of tickets. Please note that you may be asked to present your ID at the door (this applies to concession tickets as well).