Sukarno Daughter Reports Film Director for Defamation

Rachmawati Sukarnoputri, the second daughter of Sukarno, has filed a police report against prominent film director Hanung Bramantyo for alleged defamation following a spat over Hanung’s soon-to-be-released biopic about Indonesia’s first president.

Rachmawati reported Hanung to the Jakarta Police on Monday through her lawyer Ramdan Alamsyah.

“This report was filed in relation to Hanung’s statement, in which he was quoted by media as saying that Bu Rachma was seeking popularity,” Ramdan said.

“[He accused] Rachmawati of having intentionally stirred up a dispute surrounding the Sukarno movie to seek popularity. What would be that for? Ibu Rachma has been well-known for a long time, maybe even before Hanung was born,” he added.

Rachmawati, through the Soekarno Education Foundation (YPH), an organization she chairs, signed a contract with film company Multivision Plus Pictures in 2011 to collaborate on the production for “Soekarno – Indonesia Merdeka” (“Soekarno – Indonesia is Free”), with Hanung signed on as director.

This June, however, the foundation ended the partnership after Rachmawati reportedly disagreed with Hanung’s casting of Ario Bayu to play Sukarno. Ario previously starred in the 2013 action film “Java Heat.”

Rachmawati earlier suggested that actor Anjasmara play her father, but Hanung said he did not fit the role. Indonesian news portal Liputan6, meanwhile, reported that Rachmawati objected to Ario playing her father on the grounds that he was not very nationalistic and was unfamiliar with Sukarno’s story due to his living abroad.

“I chose actors based on criteria. There was only one Sukarno, and our duty is only to represent and reinterpret [him],” Hanung told a press conference in Jakarta last week, during which he responded to Rachmawati’s disapprovals. “Maybe she [Rachmawati] wants more exposure,” Hanung said according to Liputan6.

The director also mentioned that he and Rachmawati disagreed on the film’s plot. Rachmawati reportedly wanted the movie to depict “Bung Karno” during his last days, but Hanung insisted that doing that would be “very difficult because it would create a lot of controversy.”

The film, which is slated for a December 22 release, tells the story of Sukarno’s life in the 1920s through his role in Indonesia’s struggle for independence, which culminated in 1945. It deals with his political activism as well as his personal life.

Ramdan said he and his client have been unable to contact Hanung to regarding his previous statements, so they decided to bring the case to the police.

“Up until now we haven’t been able to communicate [with Hanung],” Ramdan said. “We actually didn’t want to report this. But he has no goodwill. Hanung thinks he’s great, that he has a super power.”

In addition to Ario, the movie features Lukman Sardi and actresses Maudy Koesnaedi and Tika Bravani.

An official trailer of the movie was released earlier this month. (source:

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Soekarno Film: Indonesia Merdeka ! (2013)

His name was formerly Kusno. He was skinny and sickly . His father changed his name to Soekarno. With this new name, the skinny kid would transformed into a knight like Duke Karno. What Soekarno's father expected come true, by 24 years old Soekarno managed to shake the podium, shouting : We Need Freedom Now!!! As a result he had to jail, being Accused of inciting and rebellious as Communists. But the young Sukarno was never give up. He's getting more criticized. His pledoi named Indonesia Menggugat deliver him exiled to Ende and Bengkulu.

Sukarno take a short break from politics in that cities. His heart was tied to a young girl named Fatmawati. He however was still husband of Inggit Garnasih; a women which is older than Sukarno, who has always support him when he was in prison and discarded. Inggit has to be willing to see her beloved husband fell in love with another girl. Amid the chaos of the household, the Japanese came to lead East Asia. His political passion rebound. Netherlands defeated by Japan. Something that used to be considered giant for Sukarno, is now gone. Indonesian independence seems to be nearly true.

Meanwhile, Hatta and Sjahrir, Sukarno's political rivals at his early youth, remind him that Japan no less ruthlessly from Netherlands. But Sukarno had a different point of view.
'If we are smart, we can take advantage of Japan's efforts to achieve independence for Indonesia ' said Sukarno.

Hatta affected. But Sjahrir not. In cooperation with Japan same position Indonesia to be part of Fascism, enemies of America - Australia - Britain . Sukarno did not care. He is confident with his choice : cooperate with Japan to gain the independence of Indonesia. Together with Hatta, Sukarno was trying to realize his ideals embody the Independent of Indonesia. Youngsters followers Sjahrir booed Sukarno -Hatta as collaborators, selling their own people into the hands of the Fascists. But Sukarno has a different view.

We all know that eventually materialized Indonesian Independence on August 17, 1945. But if it's expected independence? Lest Independence was merely a gift from Japan? Do not tell me what we commemorated every year Sukarno was just reward for having worked for the Japanese? How Sukarno realize that freedom? How many lives are sacrificed?

Above the horse-drawn carriage, Hajj Tjokroaminoto advice the young Sukarno : ' Man is as mysterious as nature , but if you can hold him, they 'll follow you '

That line always held Sukarno to realize his dream .... Indonesia Merdeka !

visit Soekarno film official website

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Merantau (2009) : Indonesian Kungfu Movie

Merantau" is an Indonesian martial arts action drama feature due for release April 2009. Written and directed by British filmmaker Gareth Evans the film showcases Silat Harimau, a branch of Indonesia's ancient martial art of Pencak Silat. With choreography from renowned master Edwel Datuk Rajo Gampo Alam and Team Silat Harimau, "Merantau" will also introduce to the world Indonesia's rising action star and Silat Tiga Berantai expert, Iko Uwais. For the past 5 months Iko has been trained in Silat Harimau to perform the complex choreography designed for the film to be shot on location in both West Sumatra and Jakarta. The film also stars Sisca Jessica, Mads Koudal (Footsteps, The Feral Generation, Six Reasons Why), Laurent "Lohan" Buson (Silverhawk, Z-Team Stunts Group), Yayan Ruhian, Donny Alamsyah (9 Naga, Fiksi), Ratna Galih and Award Winning Actress/Producer Christine Hakim (Tjoet Nia Dien, Leaf on a Pillow, Whispering Sands). In Minangkabau, West Sumatera, Yuda a skilled practitioner of Silat Harimau is in the final preparations to begin his "Merantau" a century's old rites-of-passage to be carried out by the community's young men that will see him leave the comforts of his idyllic farming village and make a name for himself in the bustling city of Jakarta. After a series of setbacks leave Yuda homeless and uncertain about his new future, a chance encounter results in him defending the orphaned Astri from becoming the latest victim of a European human trafficking ring led by the wildly psychotic, Ratger and his right-hand man Luc. With Ratger injured in the melee and seeking both his "merchandise" and bloody retribution, Yuda's introduction to the city is a baptism of fire as he is forced to go on the run with Astri and her younger brother Adit as all the pimps and gangsters that inhabit the night hound the streets chasing their every step. With escape seemingly beyond their grasp, Yuda has no choice but to face his attackers in an adrenaline charged, jaw-dropping finale.

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Deddy Mizwar: Sexual & Horror Movie Must be Appreciated

Deddy Mizwar
INDONESIAN FILM NEWS - The rise of horror films and sex (horseks) gets a lot of criticism from many quarters, because they are less educated. However, not so with the senior actor Deddy Mizwar.

He still considers the films as a result of works, which keberadaaanya needs to be appreciated.

 The actor famous through the film Naga Bonar was considered, it should not just criticize people just horror films, they also have to do something for the Indonesian film industry.

 "These films ghost that's also a form of work should be rewarded. Abroad's also a lot of movies like that. So do not just criticize it. Indonesia do something for the movie," said Deddy Mizwar Satra Solidarity event for Palestine at the Performing Arts Building Bulungan, South Jakarta, Monday (10/12).

 For the future, Deddy hope there will be no segregation film types. He also hopes that more directors who make films with diverse themes. "For the year 2013 hopefully more and more films with the theme that is different. Due actually there are many themes that have not dared directors appointed by us," he concluded. (MPA / pur / dar)

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Review: Alangkah lucunya (negeri ini)

Alangkah Lucunya (Negeri Ini)
(Citra Sinema, 2010)
How Funny (This Country is) 
Directed by Deddy Mizwar
Produced by Zairin Zain, 2010
Written by Musfar Yasin
Starring Reza Rahadian, Tika Bravani, Deddy Mizwar, Slamet Rahardjo, Tio Pakusadewo, Jaja Mihardja, Asrul Dahlan, Rinna Hasyim, Teuku Edwin, Sonia, Robby Tumewu, Sakurta Ginting, Boy, Angga
Music by Ian Antono Cinematography Yudi Datau
Editing by Tito Kurnianto, Enjah, Hanif Ridlo Studio Citra Sinema
Running time 100 minutes
Country Indonesia Language Indonesian

About real life in "street" level, really touching and real!,after you watch this film you will think,i mean really thinking about your country,your life and your way of life. Most people will never understand what really happen around them,this film will show you.

For my personal opinion,the idea was how to open your heart,eyes,ears for another people around you. And now when you thing you were right,its not that right,very funny film too,a dark comedy,a next step Indonesian film if this film made 20 years ago maybe the government will banned this! If you a patriot,no matter what happen you will follow the path has this film created.

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The Future Of Indonesian Films: From Domestic Oblivion To Global Recognition #5

In 1999 alone, the Cine Club successively organized and hosted the Indonesian Cinema, the British Film Festival, the Mexican Film Festival and the French Film Festival besides screening independent short films and animations from around the world and exhibiting some all-time classics like Fritz Lang's and Akira Kurosawa's. It also opened its doors to several selected Hollywood commodities like
Metropolis Seven Samurai, Bernardo Bertolucci's a, Quentin Tarantino's and Peter Weir's. And during the 1999 Jakarta International Film Festival, it also participated as one of the screening venues by showing some of the festival's films.

Therefore, the future looks bright. The Jakarta Cine Club has made a dramatic recovery and its objectivity now is positioning film more as a cultural endeavor than just looking at it from a commercial point of view. With open discussions between its members and invited guest speakers following every screening event, it has certainly estranged itself from the mere commercialized aspects of film exhibitions. Because the films, regardless of its genre, date of production and country of origin, are always selected and shown to give more insights to the film society and encourage them to open up a new horizon of thoughts and ideas for the progress of the
national film industry.

Here is an excerpt from the 1999 Jakarta International Film Festival committee's introductory remarks posted at the festival's web site at : "Isn't it time for Jakarta to have an international film festival, just like Singapore (12 years), Hong Kong (23 years), Pusan (3 years), and Tokyo have all had? We thought so! Jakarta is as cosmopolitan a city as any other and should be treating cinema with the importance it deserves. It has the potential spectators waiting to see such films, and your participation will only confirm this. If enough Jakartans can show their interests in the festival, we will definitely transform it into an annual event, and why not
a competitive one? And you - the spectators - are the future of the Jakarta International Film Festival and of the revival of the Indonesian film industry since good directors are only born out of good spectators! We hope our festival will be a unique showcase in Indonesia for internationally acclaimed independent & auteur films, as well as regionally-produced and directed ones. By exhibiting local filmmakers' productions side by side with international films, the Festival will enable local filmmakers to strive for higher standards of excellence and revive the national film industry. This first edition will comprise of approximately 65 films and hopefully we will double this amount next year! We want to show you hip, new films you are not accustomed to usually seeing in order to inspire your creativity ... or simply to entertain you. So relax and enjoy the show ..."

History asserts that the little town of Pordenone, Italy first made its presence felt in the international scenery by conducting an international silent film festival in 1982. After being run consecutively for 17 years, the festival was moved to introduce the small community of Sacile from October 9 through 16, 1999. Meanwhile, Pusan, South Korea's capital city number two, has already hosted its fourth international film festival between October the 14th and the 23rd, 1999. What about Jakarta, the capital city of Indonesia, the fourth most populous country in the world? Besides having an annual Oscar-like national film festival that finally ended in 1992 when
the film industry collapsed, the city has never hosted a film festival; not internationally, not nationally, not regionally. Nothing. It is way behind Tokyo which has had 12 internationals, or Hong Kong which has always had one every year since 1977, or even Singapore, which has equaled Tokyo to date.

But the long and endless wait finally concluded in late 1999. From November 20 to 28, the Jakarta International Film Festival (JIFFest) took place, serving more than seventy films to choose from, divided into twelve distinctive categories: · New Indonesian Cinema · Indonesian Classics · Short Indonesian Films · New Asian Currents · World Cinema · World Documentaries · Latino Fever · Millenium Angst · Kohei Oguri Retrospective · Female Films · Youth In Frame · Kid's Flicks

In addition, there were also four film discussions: · Software and Hardware In The Indonesian Film Industry Session 1 - Scriptwriting The problem of language and cultural identification in Indonesian films Session 2 - Documentation The necessity for documentation as a medium to support Indonesian films · Film, The State and Society The conflict between the State, society norms and the freedom of expression · Low-budget Filmmaking and The Distribution of Alternative Films How to make low-budget films and create alternative
distribution circuits · Discussion With Foreign Directors A sharing of global ideas and international experiences with some of the film's directors who are present during JIFFest 1999: U-Wei Bin Hajisaari (Malaysia) Eric Khoo (Singapore) Tsai-Ming Liang (Taiwan) Chan Kuo-Fu (Taiwan) Kohei Oguri (Japan) Bernie Ijdis (Netherlands)

The long awaited international-scale film festival to land in Jakarta finally ended in the brink of the 20th century JIFFest 1999 along with other regional independent film festivals that were organized last year turned out to be a huge success as the public's hopes toward a better future for the Indonesian film industry both nationally and internationally began to rise again.

However, in the long run, the film festivals still have to obtain a certain format of their own, which requires a rigorous and attentive procedure. Because a film festival's format and success can not be measured after just a single run. The most objective assessment can probably take place after five annuals. And the problem is, can they sustain their existence amidst all sorts of challenges and problems lying ahead?

In conclusion, the prospect is bright. However, it still depends on so many factors that have to be viewed and analyzed from a multidimensional perspective. After mapping out an extensive elaboration, your realistic writer yet hopeful narrator has five main points to propose for a better life in the future of the Indonesian film industry:

1. Rig the whole structure and put all the pieces back together in order to form a tight unity concerning all individuals and institutions involved.

2. Form a healthy and balanced relationship between the government's role in film censorship and the public's needs for unaltered knowledge and information.

3. Abolish all kinds of monopolistic empires and in return build an environment that allows equality and proportionality for the films' productions, distributions and exhibitions.

4. Put more of the production aspects into the youngsters hands by creating a trend among the young and prospective filmmakers as an engaging and irresistible challenge to make their films and promote them to the widest audience possible - both nationally and internationally - through the advantageous confines of the new media.

5. Preserve the continuity and expand the permanence of the Cine Clubs / film societies and regional / national / international film festivals.

Josef Brodsky, a famous Russian poet, once wrote, "A free man would blame no one upon his own failures." That principle very much applies to all democrats who always have risks to bear for their own strives and beliefs.

Baran, S.J. (1999). Introduction to mass communication: media literacy and culture. Mountain View, CA: Mayfield.

Bennett, B. (2000, January 7). Kaos in the film industry. The Nation Weekend, 8-11.
Mangunwijaya, Y.B. (1998, December 21). Film nasional: tempo doeloe hingga kini. KOMPAS, 4.
Prakoso, G. (2000, February). Festival sebagai ungkapan demokrasi. The Jakarta Cine Club Bulletin, 15, 3-4.
Stevenson, R.L. (1994). Global communication in the twenty-first century. White Plains, NY: Longman.
Weiner, J. (1973). How to organize and run a film society. Collier Books. 7) Wijaya, P. (1999, November).
Sensor. The Jakarta Cine Club Bulletin, 12, 3-4. 8)
Ralph Tampubolon is an Indonesian student currently enrolled in the Graduate Program for Media Communications at Webster University Thailand

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Hollywood Influences Indonesian Cinema

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The Future Of Indonesian Films: From Domestic Oblivion To Global Recognition #4

For more than ten years, there has been a wide gap in the relay process of thoughts, actions and dedications coming from the Indonesian film community whereby creative energy has been sadly replaced by apprehensive languor. Therefore, the rhetorical question lingering in the people's minds is, "What meaning is left - if there is any - when all the dedications, enthusiasm and fanaticism have all been laid to rest along with the independent rights and responsibilities for public expression?"

Can an artist still be creative under enormous social, political and economical pressure? Of course he can. Just take a look at Russia during the cold war era, when it could still produce maestros in various disciplines under tremendous oppression by its leaders. In Indonesia, the people have been frozen in a quasi point where they are swirled by a perpetual illusion. That illusion itself is creativity, and the phrase 'creative energy' has become such a delusive ingredient in the minds of the creative workers. Thus, the utopian idea that has been lingering in their minds is "How can we possibly consider ourselves as being under pressure?

Our illusion prompts us to believe that we are living in such a wealthy and resourceful land that serves boundless democracy, fairness and prosperity to its own people. But why, then, has this freezing point evolved into a giant iceberg that just won't liquefy? We believe that every time we become concerned, we also feel free, as free as we can be, as responsible and caring citizens." Illusive, indeed. Without question, the dire reality needs to be encountered with sensible rationality. If the veins of creativity are clogged, then clinging on merely to survive is not enough. It will also take a plethora of spirit, devotion and eagerness to be able to construct democracy as the tunnel through which the creative ideas must flow. Tertullian once said, "It is certain because
it is impossible."

So although the current picture looks bleak, your optimistic writer and narrator still believes in three prospective elements that can form a strong foundation for the future of the Indonesian film industry. They are: the youngsters movement, the Cine Club / film society, and the national / international film festivals. The Young Guns With all due respect to all the seniors, it is a given fact that as the next generation, the youths can always be counted on whenever it comes to the subject of innovational breakthroughs.

It was in their 20s and 30s when Vittorio de Sica, Roberto Rossellini and Giuseppe de Santis all produced their 'unusual' films. With their cutting-edge filmmaking techniques, they were eventually acknowledged as the pioneers of the neo-realism movement in the history of Italian films. De Sica's (1948), Rossellini's (1946) and De Santis' (1949) all generated such a huge impact - not just nationally, but internationally as well as Hollywood immediately followed suit with the releases of Elia Kazan's (1948) and Delbert Mann's

After neo-realism subsided, then came the new wave (nouvelle vague) movement in France between 1958 and 1962. The proprietors were the 20-year-olders Francois Truffaut, Claude Chabrol and Jean-Luc Godard. And in 1962, Germany countered with the declaration of Manifesto Oberhausen by twenty six young filmmakers. Volker Schlondorff, Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Werner Herzog and Wim Wenders proclaimed that "The old film is dead. We believe in the new!"

Can the same be expected to happen in Indonesia? The past two years have been quite promising with the releases of the three films mentioned at the beginning of this paper along with numerous short feature films made by the local film students representing different types of genre. In addition, last year, the so-called 'independent community' featuring Mira Lesmana, Nan Achnas, Riri Riza and Rizal Mantovani (the four directors of ) and (MTV Asia's Best Director in the 1998 MTV Music Video Awards) has founded Isinema as a platform for budding a generation of new and fresh talents through interactive media.

The Cine Club or film society movement first started in the 1920s in Europe; initiated by Louis Delluc in Paris before spreading out to England, Scotland, Germany, North America and Australia. But the first official Cine Club had not been established until the formation of the British Federation of Film Societies by the London film society in 1945. Various Cine Club Federations from many different countries then merged together to form the International Federation of Film Societies (IFFS) or the Federation Internationale des Cine Club (FICC). What is it like in Indonesia?

In the mid 1950s, the University of Indonesia once hosted a periodic screening of classic films from around the world. But it did not last very long. Then in the early 1960s, a theater named "Podium" was built for reruns of selected films for Jakarta's 'serious devotees' as an alternative to the "Garden Hall" which had been the regular venue for the premieres of the new releases. But in 1964, both theaters were torn down and were eventually replaced by the Jakarta's Art Center and the Jakarta's Art Institute circa 1968.

The Jakarta Art Institute was built to offer studies in music, literature, film and television production and visual performance arts at a university level, whereas the Jakarta Art Center was founded as the city's nucleus for all kinds of art activities that also included the Cine Club as well. However, as one of the Jakarta Art Council's regular agenda, the Cine Club always lacked the people's interests. Some say it was because of its inconsistent schedules, some complained about the qualities of the films, while others saw its bureaucratic nature as a factual evidence of the government's ponderous influence on its functioning. Then in 1996, the Cine Club's theater was demolished thus prompting the club to relocate.

Some local private investors were keen to build a new venue for the club, but the generous idea had to be put off due to the Asian economy crisis in mid 1997. But in June 1998, which was also about a month after Soeharto's resignation from his 32 year of presidency, the Jakarta Cine Club was brought back to life. It finally had its own private space, located in the Usmar Ismail Film Center; an administration office, a library, and a 300 seat auditorium fully equipped with a giant screen, film projector, and Dolby speakers to serve its members and guests. It immediately received positive responses from the film community as the list of members
has increased progressively, and from the foreign embassies as well who are eager to promote their culture through their own films.

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The Future Of Indonesian Films: From Domestic Oblivion To Global Recognition #3

The government's promise for a more democratic nation through the reformation era can positively (and hopefully) open up a whole new perspective of creative thinking for the people. However, it still can not be interpreted as 'anything is possible'. Film certainly does not (and can not) glorify anarchy. Why? Because freedom is never supposed to be an infinite entity. With every man's freedom, there must always be freedom of someone else's that bounds it. Thus, one's liberty of creativity will always have its limitations coming from his own society's liberation that protects itself from being the object of his idealism marching behind 'creative freedom' serving its purpose more as a hapless cliche than as a living truth.

The censorship committee acts as cultural filters, but it must not be assembled to reduce (much less curb)creative independence. Its most crucial task is to serve and protect the film audience from being situated in an unfavorable position girdled by the filmmakers' boundless spectrum of artistic imagination. And to accomplish that, all sorts of irregularities and deviation from its proposed liability are very much common to happen along the way, just as they would in any other institution. The fact is, the committee has its own formal mechanism which can not be violated just for the sake of providing more insights for the audience. It has its own superiors to whom it must justify its own actions. But it definitely has to be aware of the possibilities of slipping into a hazardous territory where its job of protecting the prospective viewers' rights is suddenly replaced by an act of abridging them by viciously slaughtering the tidbits and tiny pieces here and there.

Putu Wijaya, one of Indonesia's eminent writer and independent film poet once wrote: "An effort to obliterate any kind of danger that threatens a nation's safety can only differ slightly from an action revealing arbitrary despotism; especially when it comes to generalizing matters. Therefore, the urgency in each institution's schemes is to reconsider as many different cases as possible as a sole event." (Putu Wijaya, "Sensor", p. 3, The Jakarta Cine Club Bulletin, November 1999)

Nonetheless, questioning the issue about whether the censorship committee is acting as the government's watchdog more than as the people's safeguard or vice versa will only add more complications to the subject matter if not digressing to a whole new topic of debate like whether the state has the right to forbid the public's access to information or not. The common ground is that it would be wise enough to say that the people must still respect the examiner's decisions, no matter how unfair they seem to be.

On the other side, however, I still think a film, let alone a film festival, can not be called off simply because it is declared 'risky'. Especially not in this time and age where information is being more and more put in such a global context where consequently more and more individuals are being given the opportunity to select and choose the appropriate facts and knowledge according to their own needs.

In a recent interview with Bangkok's daily paper The Nation, Wych Kaosayananda, a hot-and-rising Thai director who has just signed a two picture deal with New Line Films and will be directing Wesley Snipes in a US$70 million action flick Ecks Vs Sever, explained why he - being a product of the Hollywood system who eventually had to go back to the U.S. after finding it impossible to apply his workmanship in his own country - believed the Thai film industry will always be in tumult.

These were his words: "The problems with the Thai film industry starts with the way films are distributed. Filmmakers and studios ... first they will blame the audience, then they will blame Hollywood movies, blame this, blame that ... but it's all garbage, because it is the studio heads. And that is why countries like Thailand or even Hong Kong will never be able to compete with Hollywood. What are exactly the problems with the distribution system? Just look at the market size alone. The way movies are being done in Bangkok, or in
Thailand as a whole, you invest 12 million Baht in a movie and there are about 100 screens in Bangkok and, if you are a Thai film, you'll be lucky if you can get to 20. I say Bangkok because Bangkok is the only city where you can get the box office revenues. In everywhere else outside Bangkok, it goes to the, I'm going to say the Mafia distribution system, where it is like 5 guys who pay 2 million or whatever the designated price is and that's that. The studio doesn't want to disturb that, because some movies make 2 million in Bangkok so they need the extra 10 guaranteed. They won't challenge the system. And as long as that is happening, you will
always have a cap on the amount of money you can theoretically make. And the numbers you get are ridiculous... there are no checks and balances." (Quoted from "Kaos In The Film Industry" by Brian Bennett, p. 9, The Nation Weekend, January 7, 2000)

So what is it like in Indonesia? Simple. Just highlight the words 'Thai', 'Thailand', 'Bangkok' and 'Baht' respectively and replace them with 'Indonesian', 'Indonesia', 'Jakarta' and 'Rupiah', whereas the digits are arbitrarily the same and 'the Mafia' remains unchanged except for the fact that it is comprised of different types of homo sapiens talking in a different dialect - with the same kind of mentality.

For more than a decade, the largest chain of cinemas operating in Jakarta and other large metropolitans 'where you can get the box office revenues' has also been the only one. Studio 21 cineplexes, controlled by an oligopolistic oligarchy led by Javanese conglomerate Sudwikatmono (yes, he's also one of Soeharto's closest allies too), has been imperiously dominant in getting the moviegoers to queue for an admission ticket to watch the latest releases from Hollywood since it started its business in 1988.

And to make matters even worse, besides planting at least two of its tributaries in one municipality, 99.7% of its screen spaces have been used to show nothing else besides the Arnold Schwarzeneggers, the Bruce Willises, the Julia Robertses, and the Meg Ryans. Not to mention its willingness to also act as the dumping ground for box office disasters every once in a while by exhibiting the likes of One Tough Bastard, In The Army Now, Police Academy 4, and Naked Gun 33 1/3: The Final Insult.

Only an infinitesimal percentage has been given to cinematic treasures from other parts of the globe like Anglo, French, Mandarin, Hindi, or even Indonesian films themselves. So what other options do the visual-art- appreciation aficionados (including your discontented friend and narrator) have? Not much besides checking out the video store while waiting for the infrequent film festivals to take place at the Cine Club. In 1998, the Jakarta Art Council conducted a research on the history of Indonesian motion pictures that eventually revealed some interesting main points as follows: Indonesian Films - Past To Present First year of existence (B/W): 1926 (2 films) First year of existence (Color): 1968 (2) The most productive year: 1977 (124) The least productive year*): 1926, 1927, 1998 and 1999 (2) *) Not including the post-independence revolution years (1945-1947) when there were no films released.

While emphasizing the fact that the total number of films released in the year when the survey was conducted has barely equaled what was accomplished during the freshman period, the article in which the facts and figures were spelled out stated that there were 115 films released in 1990 before the industry started going on a steep downfall, never reaching above 32 since 1992, including only 4 in 1997 - all of which were categorized as (Adults Only). It has certainly been a very long time since the Indonesian film industry can hoist a handful of honorable talents such as the late Usmar Ismail, Sjumandjaja, Wim Umboh, Arifin C. Noer and Teguh Karya whose enthusiasm, idealism, nationalism and fanaticism persisted to 'defend' the perpetuity of their fatherland's film history with virtuous common sense.

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The Future Of Indonesian Films: From Domestic Oblivion To Global Recognition #2

Then in late November 1999, as a response to the revival of the ailing South East Asian film industries which had seen Bangkok launching its first international film festival in September 1998 and Manila following suit in July 1999, the Jakartans felt it was their time to join the race. The 1999 Jakarta International Film Festival (JIFFest) was launched and proved itself to be a huge success. All the other South East Asian regional festivals had effectively contributed to the success of JIFFest and in the end were highly commended for their collaboration. In addition, Jakarta's Cine Club (film society) has been rejuvenating itself effectively since June 1998 after a two-year hiatus due to the nation's monetary crisis.

What are prospects of rebuilding the platform for Indonesian films for the sake of putting them back in the scenery, both nationally and internationally? The great Marshall McLuhan's visionary concept of 'the changing global village in the 21st century' has become a reality with the coming of the new media along with all the lucrative confines they can possibly offer.

Meanwhile, as Indonesia is currently in a massive rebuilding process following a devastating crisis that has dilapidated the nation's vital sectors, the new government has promised gradual reforms toward democracy in numerous aspects that can open up many possibilities of ingenious achievements.

Therefore, with the coming of more and more Indonesian filmmaker-wannabes, fresh with innovative ideas and hungry for opportunities to express artistic visions, now is unquestionably the right time for them to rise and face the tempting challenge of demonstrating how a long-time life oppression can effectively burst into undaunted creativity.

In the end, this writing shall hopefully produce a beneficial cause in invigorating the Indonesian film society while simultaneously revitalizing the public's interest in appreciating their own culture through the quality of their own films amidst the rapid growth of the independent system in both filmmaking and film screening.

The efforts in reviving the Indonesian film industry have so far been done individually instead of collectively. As the result, every single film production can not be regarded as the total solution to all the evident problems being faced; instead, they are just sporadic attempts to survive coming from various small groups of individuals. The essence of the Indonesian films' existence still does not possess a strong foundation such that reviving the whole industry seems like a distant possibility since there is still no consistency in the number of quality productions coming out in a certain period of time. Moreover, the public's hopes have often been voiced out at random but have almost never been taken into serious consideration by the incumbents. Even worse, those aspirations and concerns have sometimes - if not all the time - been regarded as emotional, subjective, irresponsible and intrusive fanfares of the common man.

Innumerable policies have also been made in regards to protect, encourage and develop the national film industry throughout the years, but to no avail thus far. The fact that the relevant organizations and agencies have always been entangled in a 50-50 zone (50% bureaucrats, 50% democrats) has made them into freight cars driven by the right people but carrying excess load thus drifting on the wrong track.

The government's interference on the industry's growth has been so overwhelming (if not completely dominating) that the creative outpour of its own people has been left stagnant. For so many years, both film and the film world have been treated as commercial commodities as well as the suitable media for encompassing the government's propaganda. This kind of treatment has made film to be perceived as a sacred object that all the actions and visions related to it must always be oriented toward the regulations made by the government; the effect of which gave birth to monopolistic practices on their existence and growth.

From licensing to distribution, all single-handedly controlled by the bureaucratic authorities, or in short, owned by the incumbencies. Above all, the biggest quandaries have resulted from censorship, production, distribution, and exhibition.

Last year, the EU (European Union) Film Festival at Jakarta's Cine Club had to be cancelled just because several films failed to get the approval from the government's board of censorship. The participating countries (in this case, the cultural attaches at the respective embassies) would clearly object the unauthorized cutting and editing of their filmmakers' works. Better take them and show them as they are or simply leave them be.

The expurgating committee might have had their own judgments, but the disappointed members of the Cine Club (including your humble writer and narrator) continued to express the needs of having films -- local or foreign-- to be censor-free. Or at least having the films to be censored to a certain degree where the whole 'examining process' can show more sense of tolerance and flexibility that the result would still be mutual enough to both parties.

I for one believe that a film (of any genre) is a product of the heart and the mind that in the end its truthful essence must always be perceived as an integral form of expression. Any kind of interference made by anyone possessing a different heart and a different mind is simply an inhibition of the proprietor's creative skills and a violation of his or her proficient artistry. But in this imperfect world, that statement alone is perhaps a bit too bold and too emotional.

The Indonesian moviegoers are still being the living targets of the film marketers' ferocity up to this point that they must have some sense of protection. And the board of censorship might just be the proper custody for them. Otherwise, the distributors would just intensely force their line of goods that includes films depicting explicit sex and violence into the people's minds, as long as they can give back the profits they are looking for. The effect of which is freedom, but only in the name of unbridled gross multiplication as opposed to freedom on behalf of uninhibited creative magnification. Hence, with the cleansing guardians at stake, those types of 'irresponsible creators' would step aside.

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