|'This special showcase from the 2001 JIFF emphasizes cinema that explores questions of history, human rights, and identity.'
'Many wonder whether Acheh will become the next Timor, as the seeds of conflict, deeply planted during the Dutch colonization of Indonesia several centuries ago, continue to take root.'
he Jakarta International Film Festival (JIFF) was founded in early 1999, soon after the demise of the 32 year reign of Suharto in Indonesia. With the easing of the Ministry of Information's restrictions on media, Shanty Harmayn, a producer, and Natacha Devillers, a distributor, launched a film festival to showcase national and international cinema that had never before been shown in Indonesia.
Ever since the fall of Suharto, few filmmakers in Indonesia have been able to address the issues of human rights, social change, propaganda, and globalization. Political and social cinema remain new forms in Indonesia, as media is still perceived primarily as a form of entertainment; broad social topics have rarely been examined critically within the Indonesian context.
This special showcase from the 2001 JIFF emphasizes cinema that explores questions of history, human rights, and identity. Produced by Indonesians as well as Americans and Australians, these films offer a variety of perspectives on these issues.
Veteran director Garin Nugroho and the documentary filmmaker Aryo Danusiri examine the grim events in Acheh, in northern Sumatra. Many wonder whether Acheh will become the next Timor, as the seeds of conflict, deeply planted during the Dutch colonization of Indonesia several centuries ago, continue to take root. Nugroho's A Poet, about the political prisoner and poet Ibrahim Kadir, is a metaphor for the Achenese conflict as expressed in the poems and songs of didong, the traditional form of poetry in central Acheh. The Poet of Linge Homeland, a companion piece to the feature film, is a poignant portrait of Kadir. Danusiri's The Village Goat that Takes the Beating is a chilling testament by survivors of torture inflicted by the Indonesian special armed forces, or TNI, during the past several years. In The Little Gayo Singer (Cek Kucah Gayo), Nan Achenese looks at the singing traditions of Acheh through the portrait of a young singer as he prepares for a lively but rigorous competition. Australian filmmaker Tom Zubrycki presents an international festival favorite, The Diplomat, which looks at the explosive events surrounding the struggle for independence in East Timor and how they played out on the international diplomatic stage.
Festival namesake Margaret Mead conducted fieldwork and produced some of the earliest documentary films in Indonesia in the 1930s; this program will include a presentation and discussion of Margaret Mead and Gregory Bateson's Trance and Dance in Bali and Bathing Babies in Three Cultures.
Natacha Devillers and Shanty Harmayn Co-founders and Directors of the Jakarta International Film Festival
More specific info on features
Tom Zubrycki. 2000. 81 min. Video. (East Timor)
An intimate account of Nobel Peace Prize-winner and East Timorese Independence leader José Ramos Horta, filmed during the last two years leading up to the country's independence. Named prime minister when the Portuguese withdrew from Timor in 1975, Horta was exiled after the Indonesian invasion later that year, and became a roving ambassador fighting for Timor's independence. With extraordinary access to Horta's public and personal life, the film follows the unfolding of complex and violent events, from the fall of Suharto and the first East Timorese National Convention in Lisbon to East Timor's eventual secession from Indonesia. Copresented with the East Timor Action Network.
Thursday, November 8 at 6:00 p.m.
The Little Gayo Singer (Cek Kucah Gayo)
Nan Achnas. 1996. 30 min. Video. (Indonesia) U.S. Premiere. A young Gayo boy, trained to be a traditional singer - the most talented of whom can compose songs on the spot - prepares for an important competition where participating groups must respond to their rivals' compositions.
Saturday, November 3 at 6:00 p.m.
Garin Nugroho. 2000. 90 min. 35mm film. (Indonesia) U.S. Premiere. (Drama)
In 1965 seven generals were killed in Indonesia, and the Communist party was blamed for organizing the conspiracy that led to the deaths. The result: hundreds of thousands of people were imprisoned and executed as suspected Communists or Communist sympathizers. Ibrahim Kadir, a traditional poet from the village of Takengon, was accused of being a Communist activist and imprisoned for 22 days. In this startling dramatic feature, which uses the form of the Ceh, the oral tradition of Acheh, re-enactment is combined with dramatic monologue as Kadir plays himself, a detainee with an uncertain future who witnesses the anguish of those awaiting their execution. The majority of the actors are from Takengon, and are non-professional actors who experienced this tragedy firsthand.
Tuesday, November 6 at 5:00 p.m.
The Poet of Linge Homeland
Aryo Danusri. 2000. 25 min. Video. (Indonesia) U.S. Premiere. A companion piece to A Poet, this is a portrait of the master poet Ibrahim Kadir and the art form of didong poetry, which the feature film uses as its dramatic form. At the time of the filming, didong poetry had been banned for eight months.
Discussion: Tuesday, November 6 at 5:00 p.m.
The Village Goat that Takes the Beating
Aryo Danusiri. 1999. 45 min. Video. (Indonesia) U.S. Premiere. Acheh, one of the many islands of Indonesia, has historically resisted central governance, both during the era of Dutch colonialism and then through its opposition of Suharto's regime. This piece is a chilling testament by survivors of torture inflicted by the Indonesian special armed forces, or TNI, during the past several years. Discussion
NOTE: Contains graphic scenes
Saturday, November 3 * 6:00 p.m.
Tickets are $9, or $8 for Museum Members, students, and senior citizens. There is a $1 discount per ticket with the purchase of 6 or more.
All programs held at the American Museum of Natural History
For a complete schedule please call (212) 769-5305 or visit us online at: http://www.amnh.org/mead; For ticket information please call (212) 769-5200