Don’t You Realize?

Posted on: April 8, 2007

Riri Riza, a young-Indonesian director, has once again made his name in the news after he premiered his new movie called “3 Hari Untuk Selamanya” in Hongkong Film Festival. And I’m not really sure whether he can’t find another good actor or what but once again he has used Nicholas Saputra as the leading actor for his new movie. Again?

And after the premiere of the movie in Hongkong, Riri Riza and Nicholas Saputra made a public announcement of their disappointment due to the censorship that LSF (Lembaga Sensor Film) made to the movie for Indonesian audience. It was reported by that LSF made 8 cuts to “3 Hari Untuk Selamanya” for its sexual content. Nicholas Saputra complained saying the censorhip made by LSF was rough and instead of cutting only the sexual content of the movie LSF also cut some important dialogues and songs in the movie. He said if the cuts had been made by the director then the result would have been much better.

My question to the director: If you actually had known that LSF was a bit strict in censoring movies in Indonesia then why would you have put some sexual content in the movie resulting a rough censorship from LSF? Or maybe you just did not know it?

I am not against Indonesian movie makers, especially those young movie people who have been shaping our movie industry quite dramatically over these past 5 or more years. It is not a doubt that their presence is giving our movie audience a second choice to watch some good-local movies instead of just Hollywood movies. But what I’m against of is their left-cultural ideology that they are bringing within their movies to our Indonesian young people.

The left-cultural ideology that I’m talking about is the kind of cultural ideology that is so much influenced by the west culture. One of the reasons why the West culture is so much entitled by these young movie people is perhaps because they are part of MTV Generation where freedom of speech is preached and American pop-culture is a big deal.

It is the movies like “Ada Apa Dengan Cinta?” also known as AADC that tell Indonesian young people that kissing your boyfriends or girlfriends is normal that hey that’s love. It is movies like “Jomblo” that give an idea to Indonesian young people or even kids that having sex with your boyfriends or girlfriends is cool, or worse it is normal. Because you love them. Indonesian movie makers might defend their action saying that it is the function that the movie theatres have to perform to justify which movies are suitable or not for under-aged audience. But I believe movie makers know, as they go to theatres too, that such function is not implemented well (or not at all?) by movie theatres in Indonesia where they allow any movie watchers to go in and see any movies regardless their contents. Even if such function were actually perfomed by movie theatres, movie makers still had to realize that this is a messed up country they are living in where finding pirated DVDs is as easy as to bribe street police officers.

I am sure that those Indonesian movie people understand how movies are powerful medias in delivering ideologies. For many young people movies have even a bigger influence in their lives than holy Koran or Bible. That is the truth. That is why Indonesian movie makers should be more careful not to make movies which could give negative impacts to our young generation, their movies should deliver positive-cultural values that fit our eastern and religious culture. We are a big nation and we must be proud of our Indonesian values. But being proud is different from being an arrogant one, being a proud nation means that we are willing to embrace new values that occur in this world and mix them together with our culture without corrupting its essences.

I love movies and although I’m not a big fan of Indonesian movies myself I support the efforts of our young movie makers in giving more choices to our audience. My question is: Don’t you realize that you are making movies that demoralize our young generation?

Well, I guess one thing for sure is that if those movie makers were Americans they would definitely be Democrats. 🙂


10 Responses to "Don’t You Realize?"

Wow. I do really very much disagree with you on this one. But that of course is necessary if you want a good dialoque.

I hardly know how to start. So let’s maket at least one point.

Never ever an artist – movie directors included – should give in to censorship. He (She) should do what his ( her) artistic integrity requires of him (her). Great art never has beent conservative – grerat art should make the vested powers nervous. So, showing sex on the screen? Yes, whenever it fits in the movie. Or showing the evil of capitalism? Yes. Showing the immorality of ideologies? Yes. Etc.

In this way brave producers and directors China (Yu Dou, Raise the Red Lantern) and Iran (The Circle, The Apple) for instance, have made their national cinema world famous despite the small-minded, repressive, regimes of their countries.

Of course I could question as well your opinion on sex on the screen or on the educational goal of filmmaking, but i guess this will do for now. Let’s sum it all up like this: an universal precondition of a prosperous society is freedom of thought, freedom of speech, freedom of artistic expression.

Thanks Mr. Colson for your comment.

I agree with you that artists should have an integrity of showing the real condition that occurs. But a wise one.

I don’t really agree with artists’ defense claiming that their action is just an “art.” Well, which art are they talking about? If they lived in a country like France where economy is good and people can appreciate arts in a proper way then it would be totally fine for them to say that.

Not everything from West culture is good for our Indonesian values. Those movie makers and artists should have a moral obligation to enhance our moral values that exist in our society. I’m not saying that artists should be oppressed by the government, indeed they should be supported to be more creative.

Indonesia is not only Jakarta with big office buildings or expensive shopping malls but Indonesia also includes small cities from Sumatera to Papua where poverty is still more than just an issue. Teenagers in those small cities from middle and lower class are “forced” to fit to the kind of world that these movies are showing. And that is destroying their cultural values. The movies that I mentioned are the kind of pop-cultural movies targetted directly to teenagers. And these movies are shaping their values in life. Not the kind of movies from China and Iran that you mentioned, although directors like Riri Reza have been also known for their achievement for making movies that posses strong social or political messages.

One example: Among our old and traditional people having sex before marriage is not good at all, but who knows that if this pop-culture kept flowing aggresively then our new generation would think that such activity is normal.

I know that Indonesia is still so much left behind in this globalization world, but if being an advanced nation means to sacrifice our Indonesian moral values then I’ll say, ” Let’s just skip it.”

Well, of course every person is entitled to it’s own preferences and moral values. Be it liberal or conservative ones. But I should think at least one should be able to learn about these different views on issues that concern every human being. Whether one lives in Washington, Paris or Nibung (Sumatra). Moreover, in the end it will be impossible ( and not desirable either in my opinion) to hold on to a paternalistic attitude towards the ignorants. This is beyond polluting any society with with western ideas.

To be honest I have to add that the ( artistic) quality of the one Indonesian movie I saw lately (“Virgin”) is bad enough to protect any audience on the globe from seeing it.

Most Indonesian only wants crap at the movies and unfortunately most filmmakers seem to know that, they have made a movie not in the way they desired to do….but they base the movie on what they think people want or popular demand. Spending millions of rupiah and treating it like some artistic movie, and story only contain “dugem”, sex, drugs and rock and roll. Completely adopting the total Hollywood scenario into Indonesian filmmaking. I think sex and love is the most profitable movie in Indonesia, so no wonder if yet another love story coming in to the cinema in a few days.

If the film makers just have an opinion to give a description and lesson through their movies, should they make movies like “Virgin” ? …. why they are not trying to make a documentary movie about Increasing number of AIDS patient or death caused by casual abortion. If they really mean want to give guidance and knowledge through the showing of their movie , they should learn first about who is their audience.

Kampung girls and boys who have no previous experience about the discotique lifestyle, after they have seen these style of movies may go crazy with a dream to go to the night club scene and be proud after their first visit as they think that they became an urban person now. Kampung girl’s whom normally wear a long dress now turn to a chic movie star fashion style and will be called “uptown girl” .

I’m not trying to insult anyone because I realize making a movie is extremely difficult process. Hopefully all film studios and producers in Indonesian whom have a responsibility to the Indonesia community will consider this.

oOo hard to say… a lot of movies are coming and a lot of them are what i call “KATRO” all of it will bring Indonesia movie into 90’s era where the ideas is sex and sex is the ideas (huhuhu Sely Marcelina…)

I agree with Tasa, we should keep local value from west culture invansion… be yourself, act like you are Indonesia-nationalist rather than being “populer in market” because u provide movies – hollywod-oriented.

Gw tu… heran ma Riri Reza, juga satu lagi sapa tu.. Joko sapa githu… pas keluar di acara SHowBiz metro TV… dia menentang lembaga sensor film… dia bilang lembaga sensor gak effiecient, ini adalah produk orde baru yg dulu difungsikan untuk melindungi eksistensi orde baru dari kritik2… dia bilang yg ada di lembaga sensor orang2 lama… harusnya orang2 baru…

Lalu pas ditanya sama Alvin Adam… kenapa gak Riri sama Joko aja yg menjabat di lembaga sensor… mereka bilang tugasnya terlalu berat… dan kita gak tahu mau ngapain krn belum tahun job description-nya… what the hell?

dia kritik sebuah institusi tapi giliran disuruh untuk running… gak mau… pengecut banget! they are damn looser… asli tu konyol bgt… KATRO!

Thanks AdhiRock for your comment. Yes, it is too bad that while the movie industry in Indonesia is growing at the same time it is giving our youg generation many negative influences.

From my perspective we still need LSF to control the content of the movies available, not to suppress the directors in making movies but instead its existence is to make sure that movies are not decaying the moral values of this country especially the young generation.

berattt…. semua yg comment pake english! gua kagak bisa. Tapi cuma menambahkan, sepertinya IND perlu ada banyak sutradara yg berani membuat film yg mengajarkan bahwa film romantis (percintaan) tidak harus ada cium2annya atau peluk2annya. tapi salah pembuat film terdahulu sich yg mengajarkan ada adegan berdua-duaan. Duhh… jadi inget filmnya bang roma irama 😀

Hi Brillie, pake bahasa Indonesia juga gak dilarang kok 🙂 Setuju, para sutradara Indonesia harus bisa lebih kreatif dan tidak sekedar mencontek film-film Barat.

I haven’t seen the movie yet, but I just can’t resist giving some feedback.. hehehe..
Firstly, I do understand that the censorship phase is an inevitable procedure for the movie producing process, and also for the sake of the bureaucracy. As long as it (LSF) doesn’t downgrade the quality of a movie, I do support its (LSF’s) existence. Well, I do realize that, the quality of a movie is quite abstract. It is not like an E = mC2, in other words, it’s not an exact variable, and so is culture.
Some sexual scenes in some certain movies are quite necessary. (For example, the winning Oscar broke Back Mountain.)If the scenes in 3 hari untuk selamanya are that important, I do understand that they (the director and actor) felt gutted.on the other hand, based on the previous Indonesians movie, I have a bit of doubt about its(3 hari untuk selamanya) quality. (Trust me some are quite catastrophic and agonizingly to watch .) So is it a top notch one? Like I told you, I haven’t seen it; therefore, I don’t think I deserve to make a judgment.
You’ve mentioned about the contradiction of Indonesian culture and the pop-culture Indonesian movies. After I read about the AADC and jomblo examples, you’ve mentioned, somehow it led me to think about sex in our society. I don’t think I agree with the icon of sex in Indonesian culture you got in your mind. With our recent massive production of amateur sexual video from all over Indonesia, I think you might have to review your view about it. And let’s not forget, there are more than 200 million people in our country, there must be plenty of intercourses.hehehehe…

Hi Rafa B.,

I think the argument that you used is a bit tricky. But I support the idea that some movies indeed require some sexual scenes. But not to encourage viewers to do sex. For example, a movie may need to have a scene showing a man raping a woman in a dramatic way, but do you think a director needs to put a kissing scene for a boyfriend-and-girlfriend kind of movie?

Which videos you have in mind? 🙂 I have to agree that more and more teenagers in big cities are doing things that our parents could only imagine, but I believe there are still million teenagers out there who implement traditional and Eastern values. This demoralization itself I believe is partly caused by the Western-minded mainstream of our entertainment medias.

At what age did you see your first porn magazine or movie? Now, compare to what kids these days do.

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guebukanmonyet is Tasa Nugraza Barley. He's a free man with unique thoughts and dreams. He sees his life and this world differently from anyone else. That's because he knows what he wants; and for that reason he doesn't want to be the same. Read why he blogs, here.

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