The melodramatic children: The representation of children in Ratapan Anak Tiri [Lament of Step-Children] (1973), Ratapan Anak Tiri [Lament of Step-Children 2] (1980), and Arie Hanggara (1985)

The New Order’s cultural politics of development of national identity were applied to Indonesian films made during this period as a form of cinema politics. The New Order conceived of cinema as a medium for ideological propaganda which could and should be controlled in order to maintain political stability. Most Indonesian films made during the New Order regime depicted children as part of a discursive strategy to promote national identity within an ideological framework defined by theories of social development and discourses of social and political stability. This article focuses on Ratapan Anak Tiri [Lament of step-children] (1973), Ratapan Anak Tiri [Lament of step-children] 2 (1980), and Arie Hanggara (1985), melodrama genre films that featured suffering children among the main characters was the result of a narrative shift initiated to avoid political problems with the regime. The typical narrative of these films includes the representation of a family with the father figure as the apex, a demonised woman figure, and helpless children at the bottom of the family structure. Primary child characters are predominantly depicted as weak, dependent, and less imaginative. These melodrama films emphasised this pattern in their narrative by presenting an image of the state’s apparatus as a solver of family domestic problems.

Social media as a medium for preventing radicalization (A case study of an Indonesian youth community’s counter-radicalization initiatives on Instagram)

This paper explores how an Indonesian national youth community uses social media as a radicalization prevention medium. In this paper, the Indonesian youth community’s applied online interventions are explored and evaluated through a mixed-method approach, using a qualitative case study and visual content analysis. The authors conducted semi-structured interviews and analyzed visual content outputs, focusing on the social media strategy enacted to create counter-radicalization narratives, and measuring social media engagement rates as a means of evaluating that strategy. This paper extends existing counter-radicalization studies by adding insights on how youth community-based social media initiatives could contribute as a non-coercive approach in combating radicalization.

Television democratization and the political awareness of voters in Indonesia

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.

Symbolic distancing: Indonesian Muslim youth engaging with Korean television dramas

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.

Critical Pleasures: Reflections on the Indonesian Horror Genre and its Anti-Fans

Drawing on ethnographic audience research carried out during 2013-2014, this article examines how young, urban, tertiary-educated Indonesians engage with the Indonesian horror genre. For most of these consumers, Indonesian horror films are the subject of ridicule and derision. With reference to Bourdieu’s theories of taste and distinction, I illustrate how the imagined “mass audience” of Indonesian horror functions as a symbolic “other,” emphasizing the cultural capital of more discerning, critical audiences. In exploring these audience members’ critical engagement with Indonesian horror, I also apply recent theories of “anti-fandom” that have come out of US cultural studies. There are many resonances between Indonesian anti-horror sentiment and US anti-fandom, but also some important divergences. I use these gaps and disjunctures as a departure point for reflecting on some of the challenges and opportunities of working at the intersection of Asian studies, media studies and cultural studies in the contemporary scholarly context.

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