This study explores how the democratization of media in Indonesia enhanced the role of television stations in raising voters’ political awareness about the 2014 legislative election. For this qualitative study, we interviewed two media experts and the chief editors of six television stations. We find that there are three general factors negatively affect TV’s role as a free public sphere, namely, production constraints, owners` political interests, and commercial aspects of the television industry. Concentration of ownership and commercialization have increased television’s orientation toward profit, minimizing its educative role, and minimizing its neutrality. However, television still increased voters’ awareness regarding the election technicalities but failed to reflect the visions of the competing candidates. The establishment of innovative community television could be an alternative for commercial TV in Indonesia. However, the performance of community TVs in Indonesia is hindered by the restricted access to frequency spectrum and low financial capabilities.
This article deals with Indonesian Muslim youth engaging with Korean television dramas. This article employs observation and interview among 43 Indonesian Muslim youth. This study has shown that there is symbolic distancing that happens in Indonesia because of Islamic and Hallyu’s interaction and negotiation. Based on symbolic distancing concept, Indonesian Muslim youth engaging with Korean TV dramas involves the localized appropriation. Indonesian young Muslims believe that it is crucial to preserve Islamic values while consuming Korean TV dramas. Images and representations of Korean TV dramas basically do not reduce their Islamic identity. Ultimately, images and representations in Korean television dramas support their Muslim identity. Indonesian Muslim youth who enjoy watching Korean television dramas learn from the scenes depicted. However, these young Muslims also negotiate or even oppose the representations which contradict with their Islamic understandings. These images and representations have been appropriated based on their Islamic values.
The Unconscious is Structured like an Archive: “Epic” Politics and Postmodernity in Indonesian Cinema
Looking beyond an understanding of the modern world as mainly determined by the development of European and American capitalism, this article closely reads the popular 1970 Indonesian film Bernafas dalam Lumpur (Breathing in Mud, Tourino Djunaidy). The film is taken as an archival document of the absorption of global, and especially local stylistic and narrative modes into Indonesian cinema at a key historical moment: the period following the mass violence of 1965-66 during the rise of dictator Suharto. I argue that Bernafas and other contemporary Indonesian films anticipate the “postmodern” engagement with past events and dramatic forms that Fredric Jameson and other critics see inflecting American and European cinema, particularly after the mid 1970s. In the context of its production and reception post-1965, Bernafas’s “epic” sense of time and form has an uncanny, archival function, confronting audiences with spectres of the disturbing, senselessly violent events that had been sealed from public discussion or memorialization by the censorious policies of the emergent Suharto state.
Sinematek Indonesia: Formidable Achievements in Film Collection and Research – But a Collection Under Threat
Sinematek Indonesia, the archive for feature films in Indonesia, was the first film archive established in South East Asia. The article outlines the circumstances of its establishment in 1975, as a result of negotiations between a progressive governor of Jakarta and filmmakers and educators, but shows how this, and subsequent funding frameworks outside of central government funding, has led to its current situation. The history of the Sinematek is discussed in the context of changing eras of Indonesian history. While highlighting the achievements of Sinematek Indonesia in film collection and research, it emphasizes that its remarkable collection of films on celluoid is under threat because there is no regular budget for film restoration or even for proper preservation. Also outlined is recent cooperation between Sinematek and the newly established ‘Indonesian Film Center’ in the digitization of its collection. The article is as much a memoir, as an academic article, for much of the information here is based on Hanan’s regular engagement with the archive since 1981, which has included providing subtitles for film classics in its collection, and organizing occasional film preservation projects for educational purposes.
Inside Gazes, Outside Gazes: The Influence of Ethnicity on the Filmmakers of the Dutch East Indies (1926–1936)
The first decade of the Indonesian film industry film industry was marked by competition between Chinese and European filmmakers to reach audiences by employing strategies—in film language, plotting, and casting—influenced by the customs of both their respective ethnic groups, and their target audiences. This paper explores the role of ethnicity in the first ten years of Indonesian film industry, beginning with L. Heuveldorp and G. Krugers’ 1926 production Loetoeng Kasaroeng [The Misguided Lutung], and ending with Albert Balink and Mannus Franken’s 1936 film Pareh [Rice]. Referring to concrete examples from the films produced in Indonesia during this period, the article concludes that filmmakers fell into one of four prominent categories: Europeans targeting European audiences, Europeans targeting indigene audiences, Chinese targeting Chinese audiences, and Chinese targeting indigene audiences.
Indonesian exploitation films emerged from a particular political economy of the New Order and its film industry. From Primitif (1979) to Without Mercy (Outraged Fugitive) (1995), about 50 of these exploitation films were produced. Seen within the dominant paradigm of the time, these films were exploitative and contributed nothing to national development or national culture. However, the producers and filmmakers behind these films pioneered new transnational connections as they tried to tap into global film markets and networks.
This article explores the historical and structural background to the Indonesian exploitation films, and the aspirations behind their production. By tapping into global film markets, and following genre trends, Indonesian producers hoped to emulate the success of exploitation films globally. By the mid-1990, just as the domestic film market collapsed and the arrival of television, Indonesian film producers had put Indonesia on the map of global cinema. Today Indonesian films of the period have begun to take on cult status as fans and others rediscover this colourful cinematic past.