JamojayaDirected by Justin Chon
Cast: Brian Imanuel, Kate Lyn Sheil, Yayu A.W. Unru
Official Selection, 2023 Sundance Film Festival
It was all a dream. Indonesian rapper James is in Hawai’i to record his first album. The record label puts him up in a cush pad, food delivered, producers at the ready, famed music video director primed to turn him into an international star. Gnawing at James’ soul a bit is the feeling that he’s losing his identity in the process. That James’ pesky elderly father from Indonesia tags along provides him a convenient scapegoat to let out his frustrations without alienating the label execs. But the weeks in paradise are about to come to a head: the awkwardness, the introspection, the family demons that follow him across the ocean.
In his most propulsive film to date, director Justin Chon (Blue Bayou, Gook) delivers a different kind of immigrant tale – one of global stardom infused with mysticism and music. Chon evokes primordial bonds and unshakable specters, etched into the earnest but eerie face of veteran Yayu Unru as the father, and in the quiet distress of James, played by international hip-hop sensation Brian Imanuel (aka Rich Brian) in his first acting role.