13 International Movies Shot in Indonesia

By Thibaud (Jakarta100bars)
There aren't that many international movies shot in Indonesia, either from Hollywood or Bollywood. The main problem is that the country does not offer tax incentives at the moment so film producers usually prefer shooting in Malaysia or Thailand. Indonesia is also considered more bureaucratic when it comes to getting permits delivered.

Still, there are a few movies with famous actors that were either entirely shot in the country or with some scenes only. I managed to download and watch all the following movies from internet (legally of course). They provided me with an interesting look at how Indonesia is perceived abroad.

Blackhat (2015) - Hollywood
Chris Hemsworth, wisata di Sunda Kelapa
One of the best international movies to have ever been filmed in Indonesia, Blackhat stars Chris Hemsworth (Thor) and was directed by Michael Mann. The last 20 minutes of the movie are in Jakarta in locations such as the airport, Tanah Abang, the Papua Freedom Monument or Sunda Kelapa.

Eat, Pray, Love (2010) - Hollywood
I don't think it's necessary to introduce Eat, Pray, Love as it is the most successful movies to have ever been shot in Indonesia. Starring Julia Roberts and Javier Bardem, it is so popular that you have tours in Bali where customers can visit the locations used in the film. Most scenes were taken in the surroundings of Ubud and Padang Padang Beach.

Java Heat (2013) - Hollywood
Kellan Lutz and Ario Bayu in Yogyakarta
Starring Kellan Lutz from the Twilight movies and Mickey Rourke, Java Heat was entirely shot in Indonesia in Yogyakarta and Magelang. Locations of the movie include the Station Leumpuyangan, the Tamansari palace and Borobudur.

A funny scene is when Kellan Lutz ask a police officer who is having a nasi goreng: "How do you eat that shit?"

After the Dark (2013) - US/Indonesia
The movie, initially released under the name "The Philosopher" was entirely shot in Indonesia with an international cast. The main actors are not big stars but they all had minor roles in famous Hollywood productions:  Sophie LoweFreddie StromaRhys Wakefield, Katie Findlay, Bonnie Wright, James D'Arcy and Daryl Sabara. The beautiful Indonesian actress Cinta Laura also played a part.

The funny thing about this movie is that it opens with a semi-nude love making scene and you also have a nude gay sex scene in the middle. Both of them could be considered as porn according to the 2008 Pornography Law. The director, the actors and the Indonesian producer (SCTV) risk up to 12 years in jail for that.

I could recognize several locations in the movie such as The National Archive Museum, the Monas, Prambanan Temple, Sewu Temple, Belitung Island and the Bromo.

Rogue Trader (1999) - UK
Ewan McGregor and Anna Friel having a bintang and mie goreng
Starring Ewan McGregor and Anna Friel who can both be seen in Jakarta for about 10 minutes, it tells the true story of the trader Nick Leeson who caused the bankrupt of Barings Bank. During a street food dinner somewhere in the city, they have this conversation: "Anna Friel: When they told me I was going to Jakarta I had to look on a map. Ewan McGregor: As a matter of fact so did I".

Iseng (2016) - Malaysia/Indonesia
Shot entirely in Jakarta with Indonesian actors but a Malaysian director/producer, Iseng is one of the few films in Bahasa that are being released with English subtitles. It will premiere in March 2016 and I advise you to watch it. It follows several characters in Jakarta who are flirting with the limits of morality, living their life without thinking about the consequences: Prostitutes, gangsters, lovers or cheating husbands. Slowly you see the stories getting more complicated until they take a more tragic turn.

The cast of the movie includes Donny Alamsyah, Donny Damara, Fandy Christian, Zuli Silawanto, Yayan Ruhian, Tio Pakusadewo, Dayu Wijanto, Ayu Shita, Wulan Guritno and Manda Cello.

Alex Cross (2012) - Hollywood
Jean Reno: "Ini Siapa"
This movie, directed by Rob Cohen who did the first Fast and Furious, stars Tyler Perry as Alex Cross, Matthew Fox, Edward Burns, Jean Reno and Rachel Nichols. One of the final scenes is in Bali in a villa on Pantai Jasri, Candidasa.

You can see the character played by Jean Reno being wrongfully arrested for drug smuggling by the Indonesian police. On the phone, Alex Cross, who framed him says: "Do you have any idea what the punishment is for drug smuggling where you are? It's death by firing squad". You can also hear Jean Reno speaking a few sentences in bahasa.

The Fall (2012) - Hollywood/India
There are two scenes of the movie that are set in Bali with the actors Leo Bill and Julian Bleach. The first one is a panorama of the famous Tegalalang rice field (at 41'30) and the second one shows a kecak dance ceremony in the Gunung Kawi temple at Tampaksiring (at 42'00).

The Salt of The Earth (2014) - France/Brazil
The movie was nominated for an Oscar for Best Documentary at the 87th Academy Awards in 2015. It also won the prize "Un Certain Regard" at the Cannes Film Festival 2014. The film is a documentary presenting the work of the Brazilian photographer Sebastião Salgado and was directed by German filmmaker Wim Wenders.

At 7'30, you can see Sebastião Salgado taking pictures of the Yali tribe in Papua.

Bheja Fry 2 (2011) - Bollywood
Part of the film is set on Bintan island, particularly on Lagoi Bay where two of the protagonist get lost. It stars Vinay Pathak and Kay Kay Menon. 

Savages (2012) - Hollywood
Blake Lively in Sumbawa
Most of the movie is shot in California, but the final scene is in Indonesia, in Moyo Island on Sumbawa. You see the three main characters, all drug dealers, starting a new life there. The three actors are Taylor Kitsch, Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Blake Lively. The film was directed by Oliver Stone and also stars Benicio Del Toro, John Travolta and Salma Hayek.

Toute La Beauté du Monde (2006) - France
This French movie is mostly shot in Bali and Lombok. It tells the story of a French woman played by Zoé Felix who goes to Bali to forget the death of her husband. She falls in love with both the island and a French guy (Marc Lavoine). It's a bit similar to Eat, Pray, Love.

Bali is filmed as a paradise on earth, which is quite far from the reality. For instance, you can see the actors in Seminyak with no noise, no pollution and no traffic. You also see the girl meditating in Tanah Lot with barely any tourists.

An odd scene is when one of the actors buys a ring for Rp10,000 and later complains: "I paid it double the normal price, you could have helped me bargain harder".

Pijnstillers (2014) - Holland
I didn't get the subtitles for this movie so I didn't really understand the plot. You have two scenes in Jakarta where you can see actor Raymond Thiry alone taking pictures.

War Photographer (2002) - Switzerland
This documentary is about the work of James Nachtwey, one of the world's most famous war photographers and photo journalists. You can see him shooting in Jakarta and in Kawah Ijen.

Other International films shot in Indonesia:
Car chase in Jakarta in The Raid 2
The three movies of Gareth Evans can be considered international as they had a worldwide release. They are: "Merantau" (2009), "The Raid: Redemption" (2011) and "The Raid 2" (2014).

The two movies "Baraka" (1992) and "Samsara" (2011) have scenes in Indonesia among several other locations on earth.

The two critically-acclaimed movies from Joshua Oppenheimer "The Act of Killing" (2012) and "The Look of Silence" (2014) were both shot in Indonesia, in particular in Medan, Sumatra. Both films were nominated for Best Documentaries at the Academy Awards.

Films with a story in Indonesia but not shot in Indonesia:
Nick Nolte is the main character in Farewell to The King
"Anacondas: The Hunt for the Blood Orchid" (2004) is supposed to take place in Borneo but the location of the shooting was in the Fijis.

"Paradise Road" (1997) with Glenn Close, Frances McDormand and Julianna Margulies. Even though it is a movie about the internment camps of Sumatra during WW2, it was shot in Malaysia for "technical reasons".

"Farewell to the King" (1989): Shot in Borneo, Sarawak, Malaysia and not in Indonesia as some people think.

"The Year Of Living Dangerously" (1982) with Mel Gibson and Sigourney Weaver was shot in the Philippines and Australia but the plot is in Jakarta during the fall of Soekarno.

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