Photocopier Review: A Heartbreaking Film on Sexual Abuse and Victim Blaming

Photocopier aka Penyalin Cahaya, an Indonesian mystery thriller, is now out on Netflix. Directed and written by Wregas Bhanuteja, the film stars Shenina Cinnamon as Suryani, Chicco Kurniawan as Amin, Jerome Kurnia as Tariq, Giulio Parengkuan as Rama, Lutesha as Farah and Dea Pandendra as Anggun. The film is 2 hours 10 minutes long and is dubbed in English with subtitles.

The synopsis reads, “When photos of her at a party cause her to lose a scholarship, a student investigates whether something devastating happened to her that night.”

Netflix’s Photocopier Review Contains No Spoilers

Netflix film Photocopier is based on Suryani, aka Sur, a teenage computer science student in the first year. Sur belongs to a lower-middle-class family. Her parents run a small general store. Sur’s father is quite conservative and not impressed with the idea of her studying instead of handling the small family business. At college, Sur is a part of a theatre group that wins a competition. Rama, one of the group’s heads, hosts a party at his place to celebrate the win.

Sur attends the party with her friend Amin who handles the photocopy machines at the high school. At the party, Tariq plays drinking games with everyone. Sur, who is warned by her father not to drink, ends up having alcohol. The next day, pictures of Sur drinking at the party are uploaded on her social media account. She freaks out as she has no memory of what happened the previous night. Her college faculty refuses to give her a scholarship because of her “indecent behaviour”. Sur decides to find out the truth about what happened at the party.

The setting of Netflix’s Photocopier has been kept fairly raw by director Wregas Bhanuteja. Students in high school appear to be the same as those we see in real life. From the time Sur decides to leave early after their play’s performance, the film holds your attention. Her father’s strict behaviour and her desire to become a web designer pique your interest in learning more about her life. Unfortunately, her life is turned upside down, and you want to stay with her to the end to discover the truth.

Photocopier Still

Sur decides to hack into the phones of every member of the theatre club to figure out who the real culprit is. However, it is an impossible task with a 100% probability of getting caught. She discovers a horrifying truth about what has happened to her and many other girls with the help of a photocopier. What appears to be a phone-hacking scam turns out to be a devastating case of sexual abuse. 

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Photocopier on Netflix does not follow the instant justice and happy ending formula, making it a hard-hitting and realistic watching. We see how Sur is humiliated at every stage for speaking the truth. Boys can smoke and consume as much alcohol as they want openly. However, if a girl drinks, she loses her right to an education. Furthermore, some people will always cast doubt on the truth. The film is a tragic representation of many teenage girls and boys’ realities.

Coming to performances, actor Shenina Cinnamon is brilliant as Sur. From being an underconfident teenager to a fierce fighter, Sur’s transformation is commendable. Shenina, who was around 19/20 when the film was shot in 2019, has done a great job of showing such complicated emotions and pain. Actor Chicco Kurniawan and Giulio Parengkuan are promosing as Amin and Rama. Actors Jerome Kurnia, Dea Pandendra and Lutesha also play their parts well.

Photocopier Review: A Heartbreaking Film on Sexual Abuse and Victim Blaming

Photocopier Review: Final Thoughts

Overall, the Netflix Indonesian film Photocopier is a compelling portrayal of high school sexual abuse. It exposes how the terrible society engages victim shaming. The terrific performances and writing will have you intrigued till the very end.

The film is now streaming on Netflix.

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Photocopier Review: The Netflix Indonesian film is intense and hard-hitting.

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Photocopier Review: A Heartbreaking Film on Sexual Abuse and Victim BlamingPhotocopier Review: The Netflix Indonesian film is intense and hard-hitting.