Hot Docs review: A Punk Daydream

Director Jimmy Hendrickx’s winsome and melancholy doc explores punk and tattoo subcultures in Indonesia

A PUNK DAYDREAM (Jimmy Hendrickx, Belgium/Indonesia). 64 minutes. Rating: NNNN

Indonesia is home to thriving punk and tattoo scenes, but youth who throw themselves into subculture can find themselves marginalized. The fierce urge to avoid the country’s military culture while battling the depression that comes with social alienation is the focus of this winsome and melancholy doc revolving around charismatic Jakarta street punk Eka.

Director Jimmy Hendrickx’s roving camera follows Eka and his friends as they goof around, hustle for money and interact with family members, some more accepting than others. He also draws parallels between punk culture and traditional tattoos of the Indigenous Dayak people, who live under the spectre of industrial and government encroachment.

Associative editing and an emphasis on shifting landscapes give the punk imagination a compelling visual metaphor. Though Hendrickx cravenly cribs from landmark Indonesia-set doc The Act Of Killing with staged surreal touches and by having Eka act out traumatic situations on a stage, A Punk Daydream offers a unique view into the damaging effects of capitalism and nationalism.

Apr 25, 8:15 pm, TIFF 4 Apr 26, noon, Scotiabank 8

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