When rioting breaks out in Jakarta in July 1996 and Wiji Thukul’s critical poems are chanted in the squares, the Suharto regime accuses the poet of being one of the ringleaders. Thukul is forced to flee his home in Solo, leaving his wife Sipon and their two children behind. He spends a total of eight months in the small village of Pontianak, living with strangers under assumed names, but always continuing to write.
Thukul’s poetry, which is still immensely popular in Indonesia, plays a leading role in the film, the Indonesian title of which translates literally as 'a pause in the words'. Various poems are heard in the film, illustrating how simple words about everyday life can nevertheless express robust criticism of a dominant regime. In the meantime, director Yosep Anggi Noen (Peculiar Vacation and Other Illnesses, IFFR 2013) focuses with his lyrical images principally on the loneliness of Thukul’s life in Borneo.