Indonesian Romantic Comedy “Republik Twitter”
This modern love story will make hearts Twitter patter. In a tale that captures his native country’s adoration of the social media site, Indonesian filmmaker Kuntz Agus makes his big-screen debut with the release of Republik Twitter tomorrow.
The film details the story of two Twitterati, Sukmo and Hanum. It has the classic “out-of-my league” element: Sukmo is an undergrad from Yogyakarta while Hanum is a journalist in Jakarta. When the two start a conversation using Twitter, it’s love at first tweet. But when Sukmo goes to see Hanum in Jakarta after the two make plans to meet, he catches a clandestine glimpse of the girl of his dreams with another guy and realizes she is more gorgeous in person than her profile picture does justice.
The two meet face-to-face, but the witticisms formerly exchanged online are lackluster in person. As Sukmo readies to go back to Yogyakarata, however, he gets hired to manage social media for a political campaign, revealing the underlying plot to the romance. Sukmo not only competes with co-workers to get the team’s politician’s name to be a “trending topic,” but also turns to Twitter for advice on his love life.
Republik Twitter‘s dual story lines of love and politics through the social site reflect Indonesia’s widespread infatuation with social media. Time reports the country’s inhabitants are the world’s “most prolific” users of Twitter, and Tech Wire Asia notes that collectively, the country’s population sends out more than one billion tweets per day. Indonesia also ranks fourth in the world for Facebook usage.
“We called the film ‘Republik Twitter’ because it’s all about Indonesian Twitter users,” Agus told the Jakarta Globe. “And like Kemal says in the movie, the voice of Twitter is the voice of the nation.”
Though Tech Wire Asia notes that the film was originally intended to depict a Twitter conspiracy theory, Agus says the feel of the finished project takes its cue from (500) Days of Summer. He also believes that while Twitter is a tool for communication–“numerous hookups and breakups happen on Twitter,” he tells Time–the director doesn’t necessarily believe that the site alone can affect major social change.
“It changes how we interact, but too few people use it for it to be turned into a real movement,” he said. “In my hometown in Boyolali [East Java], probably nobody uses Twitter,” he noted in the Globe.
But will it help Sukmo get the girl? Viewers will find out at the film’s opening tomorrow.
Watch: Republik Twitter