Amsterdam Indonesian Film Week, deel 2
Gisteren was de officiële opening van de Amsterdam Indonesian Film Week in Lab 111 in Amsterdam. Een aantal gasten uit Indonesië was daarbij aanwezig voor o.a. een meet & greet.
Naast de films die we eerder noemden, worden deze week ook de films Soekarno, Comic 8 en Siti gedraaid. We mogen voor deze films vrijkaartjes weggeven voor de voorstelling op zaterdag 28 november a.s. Wees wel snel want de winnaars worden aan het begin van de avond aan CinemAsia doorgegeven. Volg deze link voor het programma.
Helaas konden wij niet bij de opening zijn vanwege de voorbereidingen voor ons event Jouw herinnering, mijn verhaal maar we hebben een mail meet & greet gehad met Amrit Ram Punjabi (producer van Soekarno), Ucu Agustin (co-scriptwriter van In the absence of the sun/Selamat pagi, malam) en Jenny Jusuf, screenwriter van Filosofi Kopi.
Different countries have different aspects in regards to movie making. There is a Hollywood style, a Bollywood style etcetera. So far Asian movies are mostly considered as action movies. Is that a fair assumption and what are the aspects of a typical Indonesian film?
Amrit: I believe that Asian movies are not considered mostly as action movies, but it is the action movies that are more easily accepted internationally as action is a universal language, and hence it travels further. But in general, I believe Asian movies tend to be more towards, drama, and human emotions. Especially in Indonesia, a large part of the most successful movies are from the drama genre.
Ucu: Now imagine Asia as a sort of region like Europe. Using this perspective, obviouly it’s not fair to judge Eastern European films as French film with its certain cinema style and speak with its own visual language that is so different. Or imagine if France movies considered same as Italian movies or the Netherlands, definitely its totally unfair because it is not same.
Generalizing Asian movie with action movies only, is like generalizing Asian restaurant menu in cities all over in Europe. They look similar but they are totally different! Every Asian restaurants have a taste of their own, as well as Asian films are has different style and approach in the film making, which totally not same one from another.
The Indonesian Film Week is about promoting Indonesian films in the Netherlands and to encourage cultural exchanges between Indonesia and the Netherlands through film. Cultural exchanges are a way to open our eyes and experience the word. Which Indonesian cultural aspects do you consider to be valuable for the Dutch audience to see and to experience? And what do you consider to be valuable for Indonesian people to see and to experience from the Dutch?
Amrit: I believe the Indonesian culture is very rich and very interesting, obviously because we are made up of thousands of islands, and along with it, a whole lot of different ethnic groups and traditions. So, each of these groups have varied cultures, and how they see things in this world. From family, and how they treat each other in their social groups and community. And experiencing their way of life is definitely a worthwhile experience. I believe the Indonesians also need to learn about how the Dutch’s way of life, and their culture too.
Ucu: Indonesia is a country that is growing and rapidly changing. Many aspects of life for us as Indonesians feel somewhat difficult to follow. In Jakarta technology encounters our life so fast, and along with it, the new lifestyle that comes up, its human character can not change as fast as its techno life style. Then so be it, silly things often happen. Indonesians as part of global human being trying to be theirselves in the midst of the onslaught of non-Indonesian culture that does not determine our culture. These problems always remain our cultural issue until now. Our culture is being changed towards a more global one and it is happening now.
One aspect of Indonesian culture that might be worthwhile to look at is honesty. In the midst of a culture of corruption that embarrasses us as Indonesian citizens, honesty is now at stake. Transparent systems commonly adapted by Dutch society might be interesting to share through cultural experience.
Why do you think movies contribute to cultural exchanges in general?
Amrit: I believe that movies contribute to cultural exchanges because, each movie is telling a story through the director’s vision, usually based on a message that they are trying to send out, which comes from either their own experience or other people’s. I also believe that it shows how a certain culture views different situations, or issues. Be it social status, economic, or even how they show love to each other.
Ucu: Film is a projection, a reproduction of the experiences, and a world of understanding that is consciously reproduced and made for a specific purpose, such as personal expression, cultural expression, or propaganda. Entering this world of understanding and to experience it through the projection will produce certain impressions.
Film can also bring something foreign, faraway, and previously unknown, into a new experience when we are watching it. By mentioning these facts, it is no doubt that film is an influential media for cultural exchanges.
The five films that are chosen to be shown at the Indonesian Film Week are succesful in Indonesia. Can you share your vision as to what they owe their success to.
Amrit: I don’t think I can answer this question for all the movies, but I will answer, for our own production which is “SOEKARNO”. This movie proved to be successful, for various reasons. First of all, because we we’re trying to give back to the people, the story about our first president, who despite all the odds against him, was able to reunite the whole of Indonesia, and gained independence for Indonesia.
It was also, with the hard work and careful research done by our team, FGD and also interviews with family members that we were able to portray “Soekarno” and shed a light on a portion of his life. It was a great joint team effort on all fronts; starting with the intense and long hours of pre production. The never say die attitude of the whole cast and crew during the long hours of shoot, and the sharing of that same vision enabled everyone to feed off the positive energy around them.
Ucu: In the absence of the sun is a personal story of the director Lucky Kuswandi. Six years after he left Indonesia. He returned to his homeland and found a lot of things had changed in Jakarta, the city where he lived. Lucky realized not only the city changed, but he himself too as he experienced new things in America. Many ironic things allow us to question ourselves, when talking about the city.
The success of this film is because many saw it as an honest portrayal of Jakarta and the characters that live in the city today. Those who live in Jakarta felt a connection with this film because they are experiencing the same thing as the story of the characters in the film.
The Indonesian Film Week in the Netherlands starts with the European premiere of Filosofi Kopi, a film about soul-searching and making peace with the past through coffee which by the way, a lot of Dutch people can’t live without. It is said that the film will make people look at coffee with a whole, new passionate perspective. What new perspective did it gave you?
Amrit: I have never been a coffee lover, but watching this movie, has given me a new found appreciation for the people who work on finding and brewing the perfect coffee. I think the message is that in regards to every single thing that we try to accomplish in life, if we do not have the passion and the hard work, we can’t ever be successful and this is clearly seen in this movie.
Jenny: No matter how good you are at something, the intention and attitude behind what you do will determine the final result. This applies to anything, not only coffee-making.
Some like their coffee with sugar. Some want to put cream in their cup. Some prefer milk… and everyone could use a little love in their coffee.