Garin Nugroho's Opera Jawa conceals a heart of darkness behind its luminous beauty. Encompassing Sanskrit epics, graceful and magnificent visual art installations, gamelan music and sacred court dance, the film never loses sight of its meditative core and calls powerfully for the destruction of arrogant political and religious extremism. One of the most innovative musicals of this young century, Opera Jawa travels across cultures and times as Nugroho brings to life one of his long-dreamt-of projects. It channels Mozart's essential ability to forge a Gesamtkunstwerk. An elegy for victims of violence and natural disasters, the film refers to Mozart's "Requiem" and is inspired by the chapter on the abduction of Sita in the Ramayana - one of the most prominent sacred texts of ancient India - as well as a Javanese popular classical dance and puppet drama. Siti (Artika Sari Devi) and Setio (Miroto) are a married couple living in a small village. They were once Ramayana dancers, but have given up their art to sell earthenware. Siti used to play the part of Sita, the beautiful wife of Prince Rama (Setio's former role), who becomes the object of evil King Ravana's darkest desires and is abducted by him to the land of Lanka. As if cursed by the drama's events, the protagonists of this tale of love and oppression fall victim to their characters' sad fates when Ludiro (Eko Supriyanto), the rich man who dominates the village, tries to seduce Siti. Opera Jawa is a celebration of harmony, finely tuned by the genius of Indonesia's greatest artists. Among others, music director Rahayu Supanggah has worked with Peter Brook and Robert Wilson. The artists who designed the sets have had their works shown at the Venice Biennale, while Supriyanto is known for dancing with Madonna in her Drowned World tour. Like an ancient rap, the film transports the viewer into a universe of signs and symbols, offering the tools to decipher their meaning while creating an enchanting new form of total art, one utterly modern and yet melancholically rooted in a fascinating past.