Acknowlegments: I am grateful to Julia Lesage, the Jump Cut editors, John Mowitt, and Barbara Yngvesson for their generous editorial suggestions. Thanks also to Shaden Tageldin, Rachmi Diyah Larasati, Koes Yuliadi, Christine Kwon, and Ratih Sukma for helping facilitate various aspects of this article.
1. See Hasan 2007
2. See Hasan 2007
3. See Heryanto 1999, Larasati (forthcoming), Roosa and Nevins 2005, Sen 2006, Wieringa 2002, and others.
4. My understanding and analysis of the historical events of 1965-66 is based on a general knowledge formed through years of interest, research and discussion, as well as from several previously published accounts, which provide a larger grid of facts and figures (Larasati forthcoming; Dwyer and Santikarma forthcoming; Heryanto 1999; Wieringa 2002; Anderson 1990; Robinson 1995; and Roosa 2006; Santikarma 2008, interview; and Baskara 2008-interview, have formed the greatest part of my broader historical knowledge of the events). A key factor in the formation of my perspective was my intensive, 6-year participation in the making of the film 40 Years of Silence: An Indonesian Tragedy (Lemelson 2008; I am credited as cinematographer) which allowed me to listen and speak to numerous survivors of 1965, as well as to current Indonesian activists, archivists, and historians working to bring more critical public attention to the killings. Discussions and collaboration with Degung Santikarma and Leslie Dwyer (who also have a forthcoming book on 1965 in Bali), and Diyah Larasati in the context of the filmmaking process were also incredibly important to expanding my understanding of, among other things, the ways in which the killings were carried out, and their lasting effect on the lives of both “perpetrators” and “victims.” My friends and colleagues at Taman 65, or “1965 park” in Denpasar have also provided years of teaching and inspiration.
5. The fact that Suf still buys and smokes marijuana constantly, despite its highly illegal status in Indonesia, however, suggests both the pervasive flaunting of certain state controls by citizens, particularly youth, in private, and the extension of the safe, “private” space of a broad swath of the upper class into quasi-public areas such as a car on the highway. [return to page 2]
6. See the review under “3 Hari Untuk Selamanya” in New York Times online
7. See Hasan 2007
8. See the Miles Films website for an extensive list of festival screenings and awards, including ‘Best Director’ at the 35th Brussels International Independent Film Festival, 2008.
9. The credits list as financial supporters the Göteborg Film Fund, the US-based Global Film Initiative, the Pusan Promotion Plan, and the Locarno International Film Festival’s Open Doors Project.
10. See Larasati (forthcoming) on the relationship between youth and historical knowledge from 1965 to the present.
11. One of the major strategies of the New Order regime was to hide the historical “real” under flattened tropes of homogenized tradition, for which Yogyakarta (Tiga Hari’s destination point) was always (and still is) the most important symbol. One of the reasons for this is the implicit connection formed by the New Order state between Suharto and the mythical status and historically inherited power of the King/Sultan of Central Java (there are still kings in both Yogyakarta and Surakarta, although the only real political power is held by the king of Yogyakarta who serves as regional governor). For this and other reasons the Yogyakarta palace and its refined arts were used as the main cultural emblem for the entire (extremely diverse) nation, and the city was given a reputation as something of a timeless museum where people’s traditional (aristocratic) values and ways of living never really change (and this stereotype has stuck — it rears its head in many of the post New Order films that are set there, like Jagad Kali Code (2009) and Mengejar Masmas (2007), among others). This was always counterposed to the massive modernity of Jakarta, the capital city and business/manufacturing center of Indonesia. However (as the film demonstrates) the modern was seen as somehow containing the frozen emblem of the traditional and passing it down as National Cultural Identity — thus the symbolic importance in Tiga Hari of the rigid/fragile set of dishes that must be so carefully guarded. It should be noted that Balinese culture has been taken up in a similar, and perhaps even more problematic way as a reductive emblem of national tradition. See Sen 1994, Larasati (forthcoming), Pollmann 1990, Robinson 1995, and Wieringa 2002 for additional analysis of New Order and related conceptualizations of tradition and national culture. [return to page 3]
11a. There are of course some notable exceptions to this rule, in particular the influential short/experimental filmmaker Gotot Prakoso, who produced critical, independent work from the 1970s on. Prakoso continues to make films, paint, and write, and is now the chair of the film department at the influential Arts Institute of Jakarta (IKJ), where Riza and many of the players in the New Wave studied and now teach filmmaking. The renowned choreographer Sardono (who teaches as IKJ as well) also produced influential experimental, independent films during the New Order and continues during reformasi. Garin Nugroho is probably the best-known contemporary independent/ art filmmaker in Indonesia; Nugroho began his career in the early 1990s during the “death” of the Indonesian film industry at the hands of Suharto’s shifting economic priorities and policies. Nugroho established a paradigm of foreign funding and almost entirely foreign festival/ museum/ arthouse screening. While he has certainly influenced many of the New Wave filmmakers, he is not generally included in the category of Indonesian popular film, as his works are frequently difficult or impossible to see, rent, or purchase in Indonesia.
12. While I have thus far been unable to find a satisfactory published source on the matter of contemporary sexual attraction between cousins, my information comes via personal communications from a number of Javanese colleagues, primarily Koes Yuliadi, a professor of theater and cultural politics at the Institute of the Arts, Yogyakarta (ISI), and Rachmi Larasati, a professor of dance and cultural politics at the University of Minnesota.
13. I draw on two main sources in my understanding of the concept of cinematic accenting. One is John Mowitt’s (2005) formulation of Ousmane Sembene’s Xala (1974) as an “accented,” or localized, expression of a broader medium. The film’s “accent,” Mowitt argues, is conveyed through subtle adjustments of form, which engage the underlying universality of cinematic language, placing it in tension with a “grammar [that] is subject to cultural, indeed national, inflections” (101) Mowitt draws on a written exchange between himself, Sembene, and Hamid Naficy, as well as an interview with Haile Gerima in Questioning African Cinema: Conversations with Filmmakers (2002) by Frank Ukadike. He references Gerima’s formula of a movie accent as “the particular way the universality of a technological medium of communication is joined to ‘one’s identity culture, and language’” (qtd in Mowitt 102).
My other inspiration is Miriam Hansen’s (1999) brief, yet provocative reference to early Soviet cinema as deploying a form-based “American accent” – by which she means “a faster cutting rate, closer framing, and the breakdown of diegetic space”(61) – as a methodology for challenging the established, slowly paced, pre-Soviet Russian cinema. For Hansen, on the one hand this indicates the materially demonstrable, global power and influence of Hollywood: “hyperbolically speaking, one might say that Russian cinema became Soviet cinema by going through a process of Americanization” (61). Yet on the other hand, it also suggests, as do Mowitt and Gerima, that cinema, as a technological process with particular historical origins, nonetheless should not be thought of as possessing an “original” inflection or stylistic form. Rather, even Hollywood exudes a particular “accent,” which, like that of other cinemas, is based on specific political, economic, and historical stakes belonging to a certain milieu in which production is embedded. Such identifiable “accents,” of course, like the places that fostered them, can travel and exert influence on a local or geopolitical scale. But the Soviet example is apt in demonstrating that the motivation to knowingly use and adapt historically marked or “accented” styles, while likely indicating a certain level of desire for, or attraction to, their powerful source, should be far more firmly rooted in the political and economic stakes of aesthetics as they appear from a local, historical perspective.
14. During the New Order, polygamy, while not banned, was in many ways discouraged and limited by state policy. However, Sonya van Wichelen (2007 PhD dissertation) argues that contemporary public figures such as restauranteur and Islam-based polygamy advocate Puspo Wardoyo are in essence re-hashing a typically Suharto-esque sense of masculinity using different symbols: “The pro-polygamy discourse of Puspo Wardoyo [during reformasi] contributed to reaffirming an Indonesian hegemonic masculinity that had felt threatened by changes in society” (235). [return to page 4]
15. Here, of course, I refer to Benjamin’s conception of an ideal translation as an additive combination of language fragments that moves both sides closer to the realization of an underlying, universal language: “fragments of a greater language, just as fragments are part of a vessel” (78). Reading Benjamin has also influenced my analysis of the “additive method” of close reading and historical exploration, which I argue Tiga Hari Untuk Selamanya is both demonstrating and promoting.
16. A quote from Nariman Skakov’s (2009 331) article on Tarkovsky’s Nostalghia, which Skakov reads via Benjamin’s “Task of the Translator.” The quote refers to the elegant ruins that appear in Nostalghia and much of Tarkovsky’s other work.
17. Gie was seen in theaters by a paltry 350,000 Indonesian viewers (journalfootage.net), and Tiga Hari played on a minimal number of screens in only four cities in Java (Imanjaya, 2007 multiply.com)
18. Note: My readings of Tiga Hari Untuk Selamanya were formulated prior to the publication of Riza’s interview (as well as to my own access to it), which I have gladly included as contextual evidence in support of my arguments just prior to the publication of this piece.
19. See Sen, 1994
20. Tiga Hari, Pasir Berbisik, Gie, and a growing selection of other Indonesian films have finally become internationally available on the streaming-video subscription site.
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