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Searching for Love

Searching for Love

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Published by Subhani Kusuma Dewi
Paper related to Documentary Film produced by Centre for Religions and Cross-cultural Studies (CRCS) Gajah Mada University Yogyakarta-Indonesia entitled "Menikahi Agama".
The paper consists of inter-religious marriage's film story sequenced in both Yogya and Solo (Java-Indonesia) and encloses with the existence of sacred violence where Indonesian government has done by penetrating Islamic view onto marriage law.
Paper related to Documentary Film produced by Centre for Religions and Cross-cultural Studies (CRCS) Gajah Mada University Yogyakarta-Indonesia entitled "Menikahi Agama".
The paper consists of inter-religious marriage's film story sequenced in both Yogya and Solo (Java-Indonesia) and encloses with the existence of sacred violence where Indonesian government has done by penetrating Islamic view onto marriage law.

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Published by: Subhani Kusuma Dewi on Nov 08, 2008
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 Searching for Love; A Documentary Film in Legalizing Inter-faith Marriage
Kusuma Subakir, MA
 Abstract 
“Menikahi Agama”
(Interfaith Marriage, Indonesian Style) is a short documentaryfilm on two couples of married who struggle for legalizing their interfaith-marriage.The story sequences took in both Solo (Heny-Budi) and Yogya (Maria-Iwan)demonstrate interfaith marriage which continuously take place in varied areas of Indonesia. Since the marriage Bill and several religious decrees banned the practice,interfaith marriage remains as a
legal vacuum.
The paper completed with film resume and a series of the national marriage Billdescription which succeeded to control over religious affiliation of the actor. Alongwith this condition violence against women exacerbates in their status before the law,has addressed the existence of patriarchal-based society who ensued to put women asa secondary position within marriage institution. The film is an advocacy against thecomplexity of dualism legalization-system in Indonesia that affects not only marriagelegislation but also women position before the law.Keywords:
interfaith marriage, marriage Bill, dualism, state violence
A.Preface
Uprising global phenomena has given advance people’s attachment to technology.Consequently, the definition of media and film has grown more than a limited term of  journalism, which then includes people’s engagement on reporting the current testimony suchas citizen journalism or amateur film maker. The so called media conscious world, whichmoves faster than the speed of light, advantages us foreknow the news quickly. As such thehorrified Aceh’s tsunami disaster at December 2006 or the astonished September 11 incidenthas come up with ‘on the spot’ report that rejigged by an effective device of technology. Thiswas also happened to the area of religious practices. Admittedly, it is difficult to come andconclude how religious life remains in this media-conscious world? Recently, the Islamicfilm in Indonesia is inimitably could not be separated from booming of 
 Ayat 
-
 Ayat 
 
Cinta
(Love Verses, 2007). Beside its successful story, the latest film calls the question of religion’srepresentation into being. Religion and its representation in terms of the moving image, asHastrup commented on his writing “Anthropological Visions: Some Notes on Visual andTextual Authority”:
“The distance between reality and representation is almost entirely neutralized. Thevisual documentation has an immense power of seduction, which can hardly bediscussed, perhaps because the distance between reality and representation has beennegated”
(
Crawford and Turton, 1992: 13)
The debate along representation also becomes ‘coupling unit’ to the existence of bias in thefilm making. Again Hastrup convince us, “bias is not necessarily an evil. As such, bias…. isno more and no less than a subjective view”. (
 Ibid.,
12) Another word, the near erasure of distance between reality and representation is a portrait of subjective ‘taste’ of film maker, itmay indicates his/her involvement on the track of socially significant relationships, that arethem self invisible. Bias can be attained and be drawn ahead by the awareness of film asresult.1
 
For both representation and bias, we begin our making film. From awareness; weexperience the increasing polarization between religious view and behavior in relation toreligious life in Indonesia. Such occurrence raises either in the type of relation betweenreligion and state or polarization among religious groups (intra or extra groups). While thedifference among variety of religious views happened obviously as the consequence of ademocratic society, polarization base on religious orientation works on the other hand. Thelatter appears in more contra-productive condition since it spreads essentially in variousspectrums and in some extent takes apart from society’s attempt to gain social cohesion. Suchaccidents; debates on pornography bill, application on Syari’ah bill, idea of pluralism andliberalism and its surrounded debates, play apart in placing the society into more dilemmaticcondition; either fight in the name of religion or struggle for uniting diversity. (Film Booklet;2-6) What lie behind this social fragmentation is an oversimplified groups onto dominantfactions such as fundamentalist, liberalist, radicals, pluralist and so on. Unfortunately those
ideologized 
terms, where media used to take a part in this role, work to incline pseudo-real of religious condition. In other word, the polarization is no more than simplified conditionwhich does not merely depict more complex religious life and practice. (Mulkan, dkk. 2002:248, 289)In order to follow from that consideration, the paper comes up with the explanationabout the subject in this film, the performer of interfaith marriage who struggle for legalizingtheir marriage to find out an accommodative institution for that purpose. What follows, thereview and commentary on law-barrier faced by majority of those performers entailed fromdualism in registering the marriage. This paper enclosed with the impact of state violence
via
marriage Bill in Indonesia, where women undergo mostly.B.
 Menikahi Agama;
The Process of Making Film is The Outcome
Beside two side of fragmentation; state-religion and among religious groups, theactual practice of religious life sometimes regarded unremarkably. In fact there are lot of social groups’ relation where such wisdom laid within. This distinct wisdom (e.g. tolerance,adjustment, care, respect, etc) either based on religious view or religious-inspired traditionmay become the source to live harmoniously. The social capital, which Johan Effendy used toname it as
 society’s moral and ethic
, for some reason become the potency to break upreligious problems. (Mulkan, dkk. 2002; 290) As an attempt of multiplying this ethical“therapy”, the film tries to follow the path of 
awareness raising 
through alternatives mediaalso trough real life portrait and publication. In doing so, the film publicized small scope of religious life and practice, such individual case or social group which is not merely representnational condition. Meanwhile this more
close-up
case might be counted as part of other social sectors and its form. The attempt, thus, comes up effectively with some lessons evenwisdom for other social condition.The process of making this film is valuable. It’s not just about documenting thewedding ceremony; moreover it portrayed the struggle of two couples to search for chance of legalizing the marriage. Since the marriage institution has in charge with private life, for us(the film maker) the main process is an attempt to negotiate with the very sensitive life of the bridegrooms. Their willingness and self openness in this documentary is a primary gate for usto go further. (Crawford and Turton, 1992: 11) Then, we begin with some steps of research;studying the issue, interviewing the experts, observing interfaith couples by following their effort to search for the possible institution and ended by keeping a record of their weddingceremony. Apart from that internal difficulty, the issue on religious debate as well socio- political one faced by both performer and film maker, is no less important in this account.
But, the utmost goal of this process is the ability to transfer the idea into visual languagewhile at the same time we try to weaken the burden of film as media.
The visual gain of 2
 
this film therefore the utmost outcome gained from our relationship with several interfaithcouples. (
ibid.,
17)Given that plurality is not only a mere religious problem, interfaith marriage alsoinclines in political stake where state has significance role on it.
Apart from personalportrait,
 Menikahi Agama
in larger context objectifies to portray the practice of interfaith marriage which in fact might be a normal occurrence. Thus, the couples’marriages become extraordinary because they were constrained by uncertain-administrative process.
The Couples’ Effort on Legalizing Their Marriage Process
Ria (26 years old) and Iwan (28 years old) are artist-couple who meet each other trough their deep engagement with artisan community in Yogyakarta. Ria is the youngest of three children in her religiously-plural family, who since the death of her mother and father decided to live in Yogya and maintains her children’s puppet-house. On the other hand, Iwanis the only son of his divorced parent, lives with his mother’s family in southern regency of Yogyakarta. Both of them were never declare their relationship, since they realized their different religious affiliation. Moreover the troubling fact of Indonesia marriage Bill whichstrictly banned interfaith marriage has made the condition goes in severe. Being realized bythis difficulty, Iwan and Ria never tried to urge each other to marry.But time goes on faster, friendly relationship between Ria and Iwan grows infavorable turn. And since two years of their relationship they felt on lacked for marriage.Again, this was not easy. For Ria it could be less difficult, given that her older brother andsome of her parent’s family are engaged in this kind of marriage. But she was not feeling incomfort to see her family’s style of marriage where one of the couple converted to other’sreligion. If she’s get married, convinced her self, she will never convert her spouse into her religion as well she wouldn’t converts into her spouse’s religion. Happily, she was in one linewith Iwan in this reason. Therefore, on second year of their relationship Ria and Iwandoubtlessly encourage them self to bring the relationship into marriage. Little by little, theytried to consult with several people who have knowledge on this matter. Beside his effort tofind the ideal marriage, Iwan realized this was more difficult for him to inform to his loyalMoslem family. In fact, Iwan has to deal with his brother in-law who comes up with disputeand strictly disagrees with Iwan’s choice. Since his mother was out of country Iwan then triedto consult this matter into his uncles and aunts. It was an exhausted effort till he found thathis most beloved aunt guarantees and blesses his decision.His effort moves beyond this point. Trough deep discussion between Iwan and Ria,also their eager desire to avoid forgery on legitimating marriage they decided to legalize themarriage trough Catholic Church. The later legitimating process has more trouble-free inregard to religious affiliation.
1
 And in line with this decision, Iwan gets out of Islamicmarriage as he avoids the forced-conversion for Ria endured by Islamic system of marriage.In order to gain this troublesome attempt, Iwan has to ask letters of information from village’sgovernment which may burdens his religious affiliation.
2
 On the other way, Ria has a great
1
Based on Canonic Law 1061 no. 1 and 2 also Canonic Law 1062, Catholic Church permits such interfaithmarriage. There were two model of inter religious marriage approved by Church pastoral, first is ecumenicalone (a marriage between two different church e.g. Protestant Church and Catholic Church) and the other ismixed marriage, marriage held by two different people with different religious affiliation. The last modelrequires a discrimination letter from pastoral. Both performer in this film, Heny-Budi and Ria-Iwan, used to perform such letter. (Piet Go O. Charm, 1987,
 Kawin Campur Beda Agama dan Beda Gereja: Tinjauan HistorisTeologis, Pastoral, HUkum Gereja, dan Hukum Sipil,
Malang: Penerbit Dioma)
2
Part of village’s letter of information consists of religious affiliation which determines the upper institutionwithin marriage system of legalization. The letter for Moslem bridge or groom is specialized for Islamic
3

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