Guerilla Gartners

Published

As part of Images 16 CPH PIX presents a selection of new Indonesian movies presented in collaboration with Den Frie Centre of Contemporary Art. The Indonesian spotlight complements Den Frie's exhibition SuperSub - on collectivism, and all films are screened in the centre's new cinema between May 1st and June 5th.

Things are sprouting

Film art is not flourishing in Indonesia. At least not yet. The world's fourth largest country in terms of population  265 million people live in Indonesia  only has about 1,000 cinema screens. In comparison, small Denmark has 432 screens, and the total turnover figures of the two countries' cinema industries are almost identical.

Until this year, an Indonesian law has banned foreign investors from the country's film industry, and this has resulted in a long stagnation of both its film culture and film production. While many of its Asian neighbours are enjoying a booming film industry, Indonesia primarily produces low budget horror movies.

But they also make good films in Indonesia. Artistically daring and interesting films that attract international attention. Films created by independent, dedicated directors, who are all working to advance their country's film scene. Films like the five that we have put together for this small spotlight programme.

We have called the programme 'Guerilla Gardeners'. We have borrowed the title from Amir Pohan's 'Flutter Echoes and Notes Concerning Nature', where activists literally bomb Jakarta's roundabouts and gutters with flower seeds. But it is also a fitting analogy for the featured Indonesian filmmakers, who without any public funding manage to make independent filmmaking flourish. Often in close collaboration. Amir Pohan's company 'buttonijo film', for example, has produced Ismail Basbeth's 'Another Trip to the Moon'. In turn, Basbeth acts in 'Flutter Echoes'.

All five films are about identity. As a human being, as a woman, as an infatuated teenager, as a Muslim, as an Indonesian. But they all tackle their subject matter with their own distinctive language, in strongly varying environments, reflecting how vast and diverse a country Indonesia is.

There is a world of difference between the beach in Bantul, where the young eponymous Siti sells biscuits, and the boarding school in Jakarta, where the blind Diana tries to get a glimpse of love in 'What They Don't Talk About When They Talk About Love'. But their dreams are not far apart. There is a cultural divide between the modern capital's noisy inferno and the organic calm of nature in 'Flutter Echoes'. And there is a deliberate contrast between the surrealism of Ismail Basbeth's first film 'Another Trip to the Moon' and the realism of his second, 'The Crescent Moon', even though both are rooted in Indonesian rites and norms.

On the other hand, there is no doubt that all five films are made by filmmakers who have something to say. And they do so with a strong artistic consciousness and a fascinating visual style, which spreads over the thousands of the country's volcanic islands and all the way to Copenhagen. Things are sprouting and growing in Indonesian filmmaking  and in Indonesia itself, where the ban on international investments has now been relaxed, together with the country's take on censorship, so that a film like 'Siti' can finally enjoy a national premiere one and a half years after completion.

The films

'Flutter Echoes and Notes Concerning Nature', instr.: Amir Pohan, Indonesien 2016
'Another Trip to the Moon', instr.: Ismail Basbeth, Indonesien 2015
'The Crescent Moon', instr.: Ismail Basbeth, Indonesien 2015
'Siti', instr.: Eddie Cahyono, Indonesien 2014
'What They Don't Talk About When They Talk About Love', instr: Mouly Surya, Indonesien 2013

Billetter: 45 DKK at billetto.dk
All films are shown at the new cinema at Den Frie, Oslo Plads 1, 2100 København Ø.

All films will be screened with English subtitles.

About Images 16

IMAGES 16 presents to the Danish public prominent artists from countries that are in the media often associated with war, conflict and need, and offers new perspectives on these often black and white portraits of countries. The vision behind IMAGES 16 is to create insight, understanding, collaboration, and openness across continents.