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Atambua 39° Celsius 2013

  • Riri Riza
  • January 24, 2013
  • 90 mins
Joao is a young man separated from his mother and sisters since the age of seven, when his father Ronaldo took him to live in Atambua following the referendum. He passes time in the dusty marketplace where dogs lie prone in the heat against an ambient thrum of skinny-wheeled motorcycles and incessant tooting. Ronaldo, a bus driver, is drunk more often than not and Joao alternates cleaning up after his father’s binges with listening to a secret stash of audio-taped letters from his mom. One day a young woman, Nikia, catches Joao’s eye as she glides along the street, her red veil wafting out behind her. She has come to Atambua from Kupang to complete the ritual mourning of her grandfather, and the sorrow of marginalization and loneliness unites the two teens. The local actors, speaking in their native Tetum language, acquit themselves well, with Beyleto particularly strong toward the end as the bitterly angry Ronaldo works to make peace with the pas

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