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

Read More......

Hollywood Influences Indonesian Cinema

Read More......

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.

Read More......

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.

Read More......

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.

Read More......

The Future Of Indonesian Films: From Domestic Oblivion To Global Recognition #1

by Ralph Tampubolon

"Constipation makes us work harder to achieve freedom … An example of how oppression leads to our creativity." Tag line of Sex. Violence. Blood. Gore. - directed by Jeff Chen, written by Chong Tze Chien and Alfian Sa'at (1998)

Three homeless kids attempting to survive in the hectic streets of the urban city Yogyakarta while sharing a deserted corner of a market with their surrogate mother who has her own means of survival by selling handmade batik. Through her eyes, we see the Indonesian society in her daily encounters with the street children who work and live off the harsh and sleazy world of adults.

In a rich and precise style that has already been compared with Japan's Shohei Imamura, director Garin Nugroho combines lyricism with shocking reality, strengthened by the natural acting of all who took part. The result, Daun Di Atas Bantal (Leaf On A Pillow) reaped extraordinary box-office success in Indonesia upon its release in 1998 and has toured the world since then while subsequently receiving good reviews from the international film critics and reviewers - including the jurors at Cannes. Enticed? Not quite? Try this next one.

The lives and problems of young urbanites of the 90s in Jakarta rendered as a mixture of comedy, drama and action. The dilemmas of four young people, forced by trying circumstances to make a desperate yet pragmatic choice for a better life. Invited to festivals throughout the world this past year, Kuldesak (Cul-De-Sac/Dead End) deals with how one struggles to achieve one's dreams of happiness while confronting changes in values in a modern metropolis. The film, directed by four up-and-coming Indonesian directors who promise to bring us more exciting surprises, began pre-production in 1996 during the Suharto regime and was finally released five
months after his resignation from 32 years of totalitarian authority. Not yet allured? Here's another.

A village girl who is married to a 70-year-old Javanese aristocrat. He falls severely ill into a deep coma, then she tries to nurse him back to health by bargaining with the God of Death in the process of asking for her husband to be given more time on earth. Set in the city of Surakarta in decadent Java where men gamble and womanize, Sri was superbly filmed in 1999 by director Marselli Sumarno, who drew his inspiration from the wayang character Savitri, a woman who struggles to wrest her husband from the claws of death. The inspiration became a symbol, and the symbol gave birth to the screen characters in the films Kuldesak (1998) and Sri (1999) .

Those three reviews above are descriptions of the latest (and scant) additions to the ever growing number of world cinema coming from Indonesia, the land of ; opulent in natural resources, but indigent in silver screen treasures for more than 10 years.

In today's global communication age, films and its distribution channels (i.e. theaters, HBO, Cinemax, VHS, LD, CD-ROM, VCD, DVD, and the Net) have all played such profound roles in both preserving and reshaping the society's culture. In the United States, where the number of films released each year can be summed up toward infinity, it can be said that the American films are the American culture itself, and vice versa. [The most pertinent examples are the back-to-back releases of and last year.]

However, in Indonesia, the circumstances are barely the same - if not entirely the opposite. Feature films have been nothing but missing in action for the past 10 years due to the government's rigorous mishandling and censorship on the industry that fatally resulted in an ongoing stagnation in the flow of the public's creative ideas through the medium. Throughout the 1990s, the people's needs for a certain form of audio-visual entertainment were fulfilled by sinetron (a sobriquet of sinema elektronik or electronic cinema in the form of TV series) which have been highly productive, but hardly inventive.

The ideas portrayed in general have just been nothing but uniformly 'soap' - revolving around utopian dreams, glamorous lifestyles, pseudo violence, and excessive gloom, all performed in such predictably staged and low- quality acting methods that in the end have done nothing except misguiding the viewers into the concept of inordinate materialism, disproportionate consumption, and an unattainable standard image of beauty. But in the past three years, the new generation of hungry filmmakers has started to show its reaction to the irresistible impulse coming from the growing number of independent films from North America and Europe along with the commercial success and critical acclaim they have all achieved. An effort to revive the national film industry has been seen of late through the production of a number of films like and. They were all produced and released in the past three years and instantly generated promising reviews from the local and international audience and critics.

Read More......

Film Hollywood akan Tayang Lagi di Indonesia

Selama beberapa waktu film box office asing tidak lagi eksis di bioskop-bioskop tanah air. Kevakuman tersebut terjadi sejak tanggal 18 Pebruari 2011 yang lalu. Hal tersebut dikarenakan film-film asing tersebut telah ditarik dari peredarannya oleh Motion Picture Association (MPA). MPA merupakan importif film yang mewakili sejumlah perusahaan film asing, saat itu menarik semua film asing yang beredar di seluruh bioskop di Indonesia.

Menurut Noorca Masardi, juru bicara 21 Cineplex, adanya aksi penarikan tersebut dipicu oleh keputusan pemerintah melalui Dirjen Pajak dan Bea Cukai yang menetapkan pemberlakuan bea masuk hak edar distribusi.

Namun kini, Pemerintah telah memastikan bahwa film-film asing box office tersebut akan beredar kembali di Indonesia, meskipun pihak importir film MPA belum membayar tunggakan bea masuk kepada pemerintah.

Hal tersebut disampaikan oleh Menteri Kebudayaan dan Pariwisata, Jero Wacik seusai Rapat Internal di Istana Kepresidenan, Jakarta, pada hari Kamis tanggal 9 Juni 2011. Jero Wacik mengatakan, pemerintah mendahulukan film-film asing agar bisa masuk kembali ke Indonesia sedangkan masalah tunggakan pajak bisa diselesaikan melalui mekanisme lain. Masalah urusan perpajakan atas tunggakan pajak para importer film asing tersebut akan ditangani oleh pengadilan Pajak.

Para importir boleh kembali memasukkan film-film asing setelah Kementerian Keuangan pada pekan depan mengeluarkan Surat Keputusan yang akan memperbaharui pajak impor film asing tersebut. Apabila Surat Keputusan itu sudah keluar, maka semua film hollywood dipastikan akan bisa masuk lagi ke tanah air. Karena hal itu merupakan target pemerintah demi agar gedung bioskop kembali ramai lagi. SK itu pada prinsipnya menyederhanakan pajak impor film asing menjadi satu macam saja yang disebut pajak spesifik. Tadinya, pemerintah memberlakukan tiga jenis pajak untuk impor film asing, yaitu Pajak Pertambahan Nilai (PPN), pajak royalti, dan pembayaran bea masuk.

Dari 3 (tiga) importif film asing, hanya 1 (satu) perusahaan importir film asing yang telah melunasi tagihan bea masuk sebesar Rp.9 Miliar, yaitu PT Amero Mitra. Namun, perusahaan tersebut khusus mengimpor film-film non MPA. Sedangkan 2 (dua) perusahaan lagi yang mengimpor film-film MPA yang tergolong box office, yaitu PT Camila Internusa dan PT Satrya Perkasa Estetika belum melunasi tagihan bea masuk impor film termasuk pembayaran dendanya. Sampai saat ini Dirjen Bea Cukai Kementerian Keuangan belum berencana menuntut perusahaan tersebut ke pengadilan pajak.

Namun demikian, ternyata Pemerintah telah memutuskan untuk menaikkan pajak impor film asing sebesar 100 % sebagai upaya melindungi dan menggairahkan produksi film dalam negeri. Menurut Jero Wacik, menaikkan pajak film impor bertujuan melindungi produksi film dalam negeri. Pemberlakuan kenaikkan pajak film impor tersebut tinggal menunggu turunnya Surat Keputusan Menteri Keuangan RI.

Pemerintah akan mengatur tata pajak film asing agar film Indonesia semakin banyak dan bermutu. Pajak film Indonesia akan dikurangi sehingga langkah tersebut diharapkan bisa mendorong produksi film dalam negeri lebih banyak lagi. Namun sebaliknya, untuk pajak film impor, pemerintah sepakat untuk menaikkan, walaupun sebelumnya kenaikan pajak impor sempat mendapat protes dan dikeluhkan para importir film.

Dengan diizinkannya kembali peredaran film-film asing box office di Indonesia, diharapkan bioskop-bioskop di Indonesia akan kembali dibanjiri oleh para pencinta film-film box office. Sehingga dengan demikian bioskop-bioskop di Indonesia akan terhindar dari kebangkrutan. [metrotvnews]

Read More......

eXTReMe Tracker