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Following Monday’s screening, Tribeca audiences were greeted by writer-director Edwin as well as the film’s star, Nicholas Saputra, whom the audience endearingly referred to as “the magic cowboy” when discussing Postcards from the Zoo. The film is a gorgeous exploration of humans and animals, wherein a woman breaks away from the sprawling, serene, and insular zoo that she has called home since she was abandoned there as a young child.
Edwin’s musings on the origin of the film confirm just what we see on screen: that he has always been enamored of the zoo, particularly The Ragunan Zoo, and wanted to showcase the beauty of the place as well as its inhabitants. Although, according to Edwin, “This is one of the biggest zoos in Indonesia,” and “most people come from [outside] of Jakarta,” where the zoological park is located, the wonders of this world deserve to be seen by a larger audience.
Still, Edwin’s process for developing his stories is fantastically organic, and sounds as fluid and effortless as the film itself. “Usually I have a specific image in my mind before I write something. For this film, it was the image of raindrops on the skin of elephants. It gives you texture, it gives you smells.” Fascinated with that image, Edwin was inspired to translate it into writing (the script) and then, of course, the screen.
The film centers around lifelong zoo resident Lana and the force that, for the first time, draws her away from this world: namely, the magic cowboy, played by Saputra. However, the film’s arguable third lead is the stunning giraffe to whom Lana has always been attached. Edwin shared that this animal “was always [his] favorite, and the most dreamy creature in [his] world. The way it walks so slowly, the pattern” of its skin. To him, “it seemed like they came from a dream.” Which is exactly how it is portrayed in his newest film.
And yet, this majestic creature only became that much more special when the filmmaker learned that this giraffe is the only one of its kind at the Ragunan Zoo, which resonated with Edwin and his protagonist, Lana. “It felt like there was a special connection about them both being alone in the zoo.”
The discussion came to a close with an enthusiastic audience member pressing Nicholas to perform a magic trick. Without missing a beat, he pulled a glowing red orb out of the director's ear and theatrically swallowed it. We have our suspicions about how the actor/magic cowboy was able to pull this off. But, in honor of the film and Edwin, we figure it best to suspend our disbelief and just enjoy the magic.
Catch Postcards from the Zoo at two more screenings: Wednesday and Saturday.