The countryside on the Indonesian island Sumba is an inhospitable place – particularly for women. Marlina finds this out painfully when a gang of robbers breaks into her home demanding her virtue, and her livestock. Recovering from the initial shock, she decides not to give in without a fight.
The bare landscape is the perfect setting for this revenge Western, with a laconic yet determined Marlina in the lead role. The people she meets on her path to justice accept her mission as a matter of course, along with the fact that she carries the head of one of her tormentors around with her.
This story, full of dry humour and accompanied by an atmospheric soundtrack, unfolds in tightly framed shots of the photogenic landscape and the mystical interior of Marlina's wooden house. The original idea for the film, included in Cannes' Quinzaine des Réalisateurs, was by IFFR veteran Garin Nugroho, who thought a woman should tell the story.