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Indonesia's first female superhero is back

Cinematic rebirth of 'Sri Asih' coincides with women's rights crisis

A detail of a poster for "Sri Asih," the second film in the Bumilangit Universe of superheroes created by writer and producer Joko Anwar. (Courtesy of Upi Avianto)

JAKARTA -- Female fighter Alana does not pull her punches. Born during a volcanic eruption that separated her from her birth parents, Alana struggles to overcome her innate anger by smashing opponents in the kickboxing ring. Her rage is put to good use when she realizes she is a reincarnation of Asih, a fighter-goddess bent on restoring balance to the world.

Released in Indonesian cinemas in November, "Sri Asih," a new film by female director Upi Avianto, brings back the country's first woman superhero, played in this version by Jakarta-born actress Pevita Pearce. The film was co-written and produced by Joko Anwar, director of the blockbuster "Satan's Slaves" series, whose "Satan's Slaves: Communion" (2022) sold 6.3 million tickets in Indonesia, becoming the country's third highest-grossing film.

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