Indonesia Literature and Cinema

Indonesia Literature and Cinema

Literature. – In the Eighties, Indonesian literary life was characterized by a fruitful activity and by some events of primary importance. The greatest contemporary poet, Rendra (b. 1935), emphasizes the cutting character of his social criticism in the volume of verse Potret Pembangunan Dalam Puisi (“Portrait of evolution in poetry”, 1980), as well as in the recitals of his theater school, a true forge of high-level dramatic art, committed to the point that in 1980 it was forbidden to perform in public. Only in 1986 will the ban be lifted and its performances will attract large crowds.

Another distinguished poet, Sitor Situmorang (b.1923), who emigrated to Holland after his liberation (1973) from the concentration camp, where he was imprisoned for joining the Communist writers’ league in the Sukarnian era, returns to bookstores with Danau Toba (“The lake Toba”, 1981), a collection of short stories, and Angin Danau (“The wind of the lake”, 1982), in verse, both – as the titles say – inspired by the native land. Pengakuan Pariyem – Dunia Batin Seorang Wanita Jawa arouses considerable interest(“The confessions of Pariyem – The spiritual world of a Javanese”, 1981) by the young poet Linus Suryadi (b. 1951), who manages to summarize in the very singular form of a novel in rhythmic prose the essential features of the complex Javanese culture of the time current, recovering lines and narrative systems of the great didactic novels in verse of Javanese literature in the 18th and 19th centuries.

But the most important event of the Eighties – a novelty that goes beyond the literary sphere as it rises to an embarrassing political case for the state authorities – is the return of the narrator Pramoedya Ananta Toer (b.1925): long detained in a concentration camp For joining the League of Communist Writers, Toer wrote some extraordinarily happy historical novels during his captivity, which are greeted with warmth at first, but are then banned as the enormous success is interpreted as an indirect anti-government demonstration. The first of these novels, Bumi Manusia (“The land of men”, 1980) and Anak Semua Bangsa (“Son of All Nations”, 1980), are readily translated into English and Dutch. These two are followed by Jejak Langkah (“The footsteps”, 1985) and Rumak Kaca (“The glass house”, 1985), thus constituting a grandiose tetralogy carrying a great message: the degradation of human dignity under colonial tyranny. In 1985, Pramoedya also managed to publish Sang Pemula (“The initiator”), dedicated to the Javanese nobleman RM Tirto Adhi Soerjo (1875-1918), forerunner of the progressive journalists and writers of his country.

Cinema. – The first cinematographic activities began in the 1910s, sponsored by the Dutch, who held colonial power. The first feature film with an Indonesian subject is due to the pioneers G. Kruger and F. Carli, active in the documentary sector: Lutung Kasarung (“The loyal monkey”, 1926), inspired by a local legend. At the end of the 1920s, the Dutch entrepreneurs were joined by the Chinese ones: the Wong brothers, Tan Khoen Hian and Teng Chun who, in addition to being the director and producer of the first sound film (Cikenbang Rose, “The Rose of Cikenbang”, 1931), established in the 1930s as the main promoter of manufacturing on an industrial basis. For Indonesia 2002, please check

The cinema of this period is dominated by the revival of Indian and Chinese commercial trends, and by the imitation of American genres. The efforts made by A. Balink in a realistic direction appear completely counter-current who, with the collaboration of the Dutch documentary maker M. Franken, made Pareh (“Rice”) in 1934 and Terang Boelan (“Moonlight”) in 1937. singular film scripted by an indigenous (Saeroen), in which the modules and actors of the Indonesian folk theater (toneel) are used.

After a period of stagnation during the Japanese occupation (1942-45) and the war of independence (1945-49), production resumed in the early 1950s with two significant directors such as Djamaluddin Malik, owner of the Persari company, and above all Ismail. Usmar, who made his debut before the liberation with a Dutch company and founded the Perfiri company in 1950.

Kotot Sukardi, Huyung and Basuki Effendi also work alongside these authors who are protagonists of the ” rebirth ” of an authentically national cinema. From the mid-1950s a new productive crisis, which reached its peak in 1957, dragged on until the Communists left the government (1965) in a climate of ” ideological warfare ” and a boycott of non-left-aligned directors such as Djamaluddin Malik, Ismail Usmar and Asrul Sani (author, in 1961, of Pagar Kawat Berduri, “Behind the barbed wire”, whose circulation is forbidden). Bachtiar Siagian, who is able to use the camera not for mere propaganda purposes, is worth mentioning among the authors of communist culture.

From 1967 the government began to take an organic interest in national production by launching protectionist measures and creating bodies for reorganization and development (the DPFN, National Council of Film Production, in 1968; the DFN, National Council for Cinematography, in 1979). This paves the way for quality cinema represented in the 1970s and 1980s by three directors who trained in Moscow: Ami Prijono (Jakarta Jakarta, 1977; Roro Mendut, 1983), Wim Umboh (Pengantin Remaja, “Marriage between teenagers”, 1971) and Sjuman Djaja (Si Mamad, “Mother”, 1973; Opera Jakarta, 1985). Arifin C. Noer (Yuyun, Pasien Rumak Sakit Jiwa, “Yuyun, hospitalized”, 1980; Serangan Fajar, 1983) and Teguh Karya (November 1828, 1979; Ibunda, 1986) come from the Indonesian theater. While Asrul Sami is still active, new talents emerge, also largely linked to formative theatrical experiences: Franky Rorimpandey (Perawan Desa, “The girl from the village”, 1980), Ismail Subarjo (Perempuan Dalam Pasungan, “A woman in chains “, 1981), Edwat Pesta Siriat (Gadis Penakluk,” A girl who intimidates “, 1980) and finally Slamet Rahardjo, well-known actor of the Karya films (Rembulan Dan Matahari,” The sun and the moon “, 1981, and Kembang Kertas, “Paper Flowers”, 1985).

Indonesia Cinema

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