MOVIE NEWS – Julia Roberts and George Clooney’s new romantic comedy Paradise Island takes place on the island of Bali, and some people couldn’t leave without saying a word. The production was filmed when Bali was not accepting tourists due to the pandemic, so the crew worked on a similarly picturesque Australian island.
This led to unrest: several Indonesian press members suggested that the film was not authentic, as it was not made in the original location. The Indonesian Minister of Tourism himself defended the production, saying that whether it is a filming location or not, it definitely supports Bali’s tourism, which is the main source of income for the region.
Another complaint was received regarding the fact that one of the Indonesian characters in the film is not a real native, as Makime Bouttier is of Indonesian-French origin. According to the assumption, he was chosen for the role because he has European features, so the Western audience can easily identify with him. By the way, a similar objection was raised against the film success Stone Rich Asians, whose main character, Henry Golding, is of Malay-English descent, so he is not an “authentic” Asian either.
If all this wasn’t enough, a scientific proposal was also created. Intan Paramadith, who teaches media and film at one of Sydney’s universities, was outraged because he believes that Into Paradise takes a typical colonialist approach. As in the case of Tastes, Prayers, Loves – which coincidentally also stars Julia Roberts – the main motif of the current film is that a Western, tired, white, middle-class woman travels to an exotic place and her life changes. According to the instructor, this scheme is used because such films are mostly intended for Western, tired, white, middle-class women, who will be very happy to see themselves on the screen again. However, with this, remote places are reduced to exotic scenery, and the people who live there are merely extras in the lives of the great white guests.
An Indonesian filmmaker, Rahung Nasution, answered these questions. He wrote that the creators of Into Paradise were given the freedom to film wherever and with whomever they wanted. If the production was a documentary about Bali, shot in Australia, it would be a problem, but it is a romantic comedy.
(Ticket to Paradise – domestic release: October 6, 2022.)