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Southeast Asia, explained

Twitter-obsessed Indonesia braces for "Republik Twitter" film

Director says the "voice of Twitter is the voice of the nation" in Indonesia
Republik twitter movie 2012 02 13Enlarge
The Indonesian film "Republik Twitter": a Twitter-themed romance designed for a nation that has become the world's third-largest Twitter market. (Screengrab)

The existence of "Republik Twitter" -- a romance set in Indonesia, the world's third-largest Twitter market -- is not at all surprising.

What's surprising is that Hollywood was beaten to the concept of a Twitter-themed movie by Indonesia's comparatively tiny film market.

I can only assume all manner of Twitter-themed screenplays are scattered over L.A. agents' desks. Jason Bourne-esque agent uses Tweeted clues to track down kidnapped U.S. envoy who's hiding an iPhone in her bra. Stubbled, Tweeting activist rallies pro-democracy agitators to victory in "Tahrir Square." A sequel to "You've Got Mail" titled #love.

Instead, as Hollywood dumps $200 million into a film based on a kids' board game -- Battleship -- Indonesia-based director Kuntz Agus prepares to release "Republik Twitter."

This piece in the Jakarta Globe suggests Kuntz, known as a documentary filmmaker, is at least attempting something greater than gimmick cinema.

The male lead character, who takes a job crafting Tweets for an aspiring politician, refers to his smartphone-gazing peers as the "looking-down generation." He's later brought into the orbit of a Twitter-obsessed journalist.

The film, Kuntz said, explores whether the "voice of Twitter is the voice of the nation" in Indonesia.

Here's a clip. Yes, it'll have subtitles: