Last year when I lived in Jakarta, I chased down people of the Indonesian film community – producers, directors, critics, scholars, festival organisers – to talk about the boom years of ‘Islamic cinema’ following the success of Ayat-ayat Cinta (2008, dir. Hanung Bramantyo). In the following interview, I spoke with the film scholar Katinka van… Continue reading Why did the independent Islamic film community fail in Indonesia?
Nia Dinata is one of Indonesia’s most important film-makers. Known for tackling subject matters such as abortion, polygamy, and sexualities in a profoundly refreshing way, the films of teh Nia have received worldwide acclaim outside the geographically parochial national film industry of Indonesia. I had the valuable opportunity to ask teh Nia about her views… Continue reading My interview with film director Nia Dinata
The cinema and house of worship might come across as incongruent bedfellows. From its earliest days to the present day, cinemas have either been burned to the ground or, more mercifully, closed down for being places of moral decay. Where there is compromise (thanks to heterosexist logic), female audiences are made to sit apart in… Continue reading The cinema as house of worship
The film premiere of Aditya Gumay’s newest film, Ummi Aminah (Mother Aminah) in Jakarta last January 2012 was situated at the crossroads of events in Indonesian film industry. Prior to the screening of the film, the film director’s address to the audience expressed a plea to the public to consume locally-made films. As I write… Continue reading Mainstreaming Islam in the Indonesian public sphere: Ummi Aminah as a case study
Talking about gender in Indonesian cinema is actually quite hard when you get down to establishing a sort of link between gender as an analytical construct and gender as understood in public discourse. What was always frustrating, was that when one began to talk about gender in film, the conversation turns into a discussion about… Continue reading Notes on power and the difficulties of theorising gender in Indonesian film-making
At the time of writing, I was experiencing the warmth of critical acclaim bestowed on an Indonesian film that had just finished its all-too-brief exhibition at cinemas in Jakarta. The film, Sang Penari (The Dancer), is described by film critics as the apogee of Indonesian cinema 20111. Arguably the “best film” of last year, and… Continue reading Sang Penari: the female body as a sexualised site of masculine struggle
The following are notes from my final lecture for Sex and the City: Gender and Sexuality in Southeast Asia on trans identities in Indonesian cinema. Disclaimer on the use of ‘definitions’ Since I am teaching this class in English, to students in a British institution with a largely unproblematised epistemological culture that privileges western ways… Continue reading Lecture notes: Trans identities and queer acceptance in Indonesian cinema?
The following is a lecture about Indonesian masculinities and male sex work to accompany the film screening of Quickie Express by Dimas Djayadinigrat that I delivered for my class Sex and the City in Southeast Asian Cinema. Reading it through once again, I found to be rather scrappy and also, please pardon the occasional chatty… Continue reading Masculinity and sexual humiliation in Quickie Express
Empowered femininities? It is worth exploring the relationship between women and film religi in which female characters assume the role of boundary markers of nation and religion. The reference to women as markers of the boundaries of national ideology is a common theme in post-colonial nations-states, serving as symbolic representations in the rhetoric of inclusion… Continue reading More thoughts on femininities in Indonesian Islamically-themed cinema
When new femininities are introduced in the new wave of religious film-making, different strands of masculinities also emerge albeit in more implicit ways. Like heterosexuality, non-disability, and whiteness, masculinity is often referred to as ‘unmarked’ social category in which male dominance has been historically treated as the ‘norm’ while ‘gender’ is often taken to be… Continue reading Is there an emergence of new masculinities in Indonesia’s Islamic cinema?