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?
The ways in which cinema and religion are intertwined are not unique to Indonesia nor to Islam. The rise of Pentecostal “video-films” in Ghana, the Hollywood mainstreaming of ‘Ben Hur’ and Mel Gibson’s ‘The passion of Christ’, and the popular reception of ‘Karunamayudu’, a Telegu retelling of the story of Jesus, watched by over 100… Continue reading A brief note on Islamic film-making in Indonesia
Ayat-ayat cinta (Verses of love, 2008, dir. Hanung Bramantyo) and Syahadat cinta (Shahada of love, 2008, dir. Gunawan Panggaru) portray the religious conversion of two Christian female characters, Maria and Pricilia respectively, to Islam after developing an intimate relationship with the Muslim male protagonists. The women convert to Islam for different reasons. For Maria, it… Continue reading The gender politics of conversion narratives in film religi
It is a scene that wouldn’t be unfamiliar in France or Belgium: a woman’s hijab is snatched away by strangers on the street from her head despite her protest. She is told she shouldn’t wear it, or rather, she has no right to because her wearing it mocks other women and femininity itself. But it… Continue reading Between worlds: the jilbab and being transgender in Indonesia
First in the series of excerpts from my MA dissertation I looked at the tolerant attitudes toward homoerotic relations in Indonesian religious boarding schools as depicted in the novel Mairil. Below I explore the way the Indonesian tradition of the gemblak and warok relationship is framed in a novel by Enang Rokajat Asura. Unlike Mairil,… Continue reading An excerpt from my dissertation on ‘traditional’ same-sex eroticisms in Indonesian fiction – Part 2