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Observational Documentary Comes to Indonesia by David Hanan Monash University

Observational Documentary Comes to Indonesia by David Hanan Monash University

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Published by Ragam Network
Aryo Danusiri's Lukas' Moment
Aryo Danusiri's Lukas' Moment

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Published by: Ragam Network on Feb 01, 2012
Copyright:Public Domain

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09/11/2013

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8
ObservationalDocumentaryComestoIndonesia
Aryo
Danusiris
Lukas'Moment
DavidHanan
Curiously,webothhavethesameexperienceofmanypeopleaskingus,"Whydidn'tyouinterviewthemilitary?Thegovernment?Whyonlythevictims?"AndmyansweristhesameasTines,thatthesefilmsarededicated
to
theminority,thepowerlesspeople.-AryoDanusiri
I
In
theUSAandinEuropeinthe1960sthereappearedanewmovementindocu-mentary,takingvariousformsandwithavarietyofdifferentnames.
In
theUSAthemovementcommencedwith
Primary
(1960),a
film
thatfollowedchronologicallyJohnKennedy'selectioncampaign.AlbertMaysles,whowasoneofthecamera-menwhoworkedon
Primary,
andlatermade
Salesman
(1968),calledthemove-ment"DirectCinema."
In
Francein1960thereemergedasomewhatdifferentbutrelatedmovement,knownas"CinemaVerite,"withJeanRouchandEdgarMorin's
Cbroniqued'unEM,
aselfconsciousethnologyoflifeincontemporaryParis,notedforprovokingsituationswithitshumansubjects,andaskingquestionsaboutthekindofrealitycreatedbydocumentary.TheanthropologistRouchhad,earlieron,madeparticipatoryfiction-documentaryfilmswithAfricansubjects,filmssuchas
Jaguar
(1955)and
Moi,
UriNoir
(1958),usinginbothcasesa16mmcameraandpost-synchcommentaryfromhissubjects.TheDirectCinemaandCinemaVeritefilmsmadeuseoflightportablecamerasandportablesound-synchtaperecorderstoproducedocumentariesthatfollowedstoriesusinglongtakes,directsound,novoice-overor"voice-of-god"narratorofanykind,creatingrealityeffectsofextraor-dinaryimmediacy,basedinslicesofrealtime,andoftenasenseofminimalinter-ventionbythefilmmaker.Frequentlytheydonotevenuseartificiallyproducedinter-titlesprovidingorientation,thisbeingprovidedasfaraspossiblethroughpro-filmicmaterialonli1twastohighlightthiseffectofimmediacythatAlbertMayslesusedtheterm"DirectCinema.",TheDirectCinemamovementhadsomenotableachievementsinthe1960s,forexample,
Don'tLookBack
(D.A.Pennebaker,1965),arecordof~tourofEnglandbytheyoungBobDylan,atthattimejustcorningintotheheightofhis
 
106DavidHanan
fame.thefilmshowinghiscapacitytotalkbacktoanenviousandblandlycriticalEnglishandAmericanmedia.Alsoemerginginthe1960swasoneofthemostper-sistentexponentsofthiskindofdocumentary.FredWiseman,originallytrainedasalawyer,whomaderemarkableportraitsoftheinterfacebetweenAmericaninstitutions-ahospital,ajuvenilecourt,awelfareagency,tonameafew-andtheirclients.providinginvaluableportraitsofrarelydocumentedaspectsoftheUSA.Wiseman,whosefilmswereoftenfundedbyAmericanPublicTelevision(PBS),rejectstheterm"CinemaVerite,"insistingthathisfilmswerenotunmedi-atedtruth,thelargeamountofmaterialheshotbeingeditedinsuchawayastobringoutadramaticstructure."InfactRouchandMorinhadderivedtheirterm"CinemaVerite"(CinemaTruth)fromtheRussianfilmmaker,DzigaVertov,whobelievedthe"cameraeye"tobescientific,butwhoforegroundedthefilmmakingprocessinhisfilms.
Cbroniqued'unEte
emulatesareflexivityaboutthefilmmakingprocessfoundinVertov,butrarelyengagedwithbyexponentsofDirectCinema.RouchandMorinwerealsopreparedtointerviewtheirsubjects,toincludemon-tagesintheirfilm,andtopreviewanddiscusstheirfootageonscreenwiththeirparticipants.Thevarietiesofthisnewkindofdocumentaryofindirectaddressarealmostasvariedasthenumberofthefilmmakersusingthisframework.Anothertermforthesebroaddevelopments.whichrecognizesitsbasicapproaches,usinglongtakesandnovoice-over,is"observationaldocumentary."ThisisthepreferredtermusedbyIndonesianfilmmakerAeyoDanusiriforhistwomostrecentdocumentaryfilms,
LukasMoment
(2005)and
PlayingBetweenElephants
(2007).InthisessayIwillexplorethefirstofthesetwofilms,
Lukas'Moment,
afilmmadeinMeraukeintheprovinceofWestPapua.Thisessayfocuseson
Lukas'Moment
fortwofundamentalreasons.Firstly,apartfromasmallnumberoffilmsbysomeverydistinguishedfilmmakers(andsomestudentwork),Indonesiancinemaissingularlylackinginexperimentationindocumentaryformandhasneverbeforeproducedadocumentaryofindirectaddress.Secondly,theissueoftheabsenceofWestPapuansintheIndonesianmedia,exceptasstereotypes,isrecognizedasoneofthemostimportantchallengesfacingtheIndonesianmedia,anissuerecognizedinthemid-1980sbythegreatIndonesiandirectoroffeaturefilmsTeguhKarya,whenhemadeafeaturefilm,
Ibunda,
whichwaspartlyaboutracismtowardsWestPapuanslivinginJakarta.ThisessaywillsituateDanusirisfirstworkofobservationalcinema,
Lukas'Moment,
inthecontextoftheworkofanumberofkeyfilmmakerswhopioneeredtheseinterrelateddocumentary-move-ments,amongthem,JeanRouchandFrederickWiseman,andanAustraliandocu-mentarycollaborationwithAboriginalpeoplemadein1981,
TwoLaws.
AchronologicalsketchofthehistoryofdocumentarymakinginIndonesiafromthebeginningofthetwentiethcenturyhasbeenprovidedbyGotot
Prakosa,"
DocumentariesweremainlymadeintheDutchEastIndiesbyDutchmen,andtheyappeartohavebeen.madeforahomeaudienceinHollandtointroducethem
 
ObservationalDocumentaryComestoIndonesia107
totheir"colonialpossessions,"andtorecordcultures,usuallywithinanimper-sonalcolonialrepresentationalframeworkcharacterizedbydistanceofframingandlittleemotionalclosenesstotheirsubjects.OnlyoneindigenousIndonesianislistedashavingmadeadocumentaryfilmfortheDutch,R.M.Soetarto,in1939.SomeDutchdocumentariesweremadeforIndonesianaudiences,butaccordingtoonereputablesource,thesefilmscametobeknownas"FilmPes"(PlagueFilms)becausetheearliestofthemdealtsofrequentlywithissuesofhygieneanddiseaseprevention."TheJapaneseoccupationsawtheproductionofinformationandpro-pagandafilmsproducedbytheJapanesetosupportthewareffortandtheintegra-tionoftheIndonesianpeopleintotheirhopedfor«GreaterAsiaCo-prosperitySphere",andtheydevelopedportableprojectionequipmentandscreenstotakethesefilmsintovillages.DocumentariesweremadeinIndonesiabyIndonesiansfromtheearlyinde-pendenceperiodon.Thereisonenotabledocumentaryrecord
(PanditNehruVisitsIndonesia),
runningformorethananhour,ofanhistoricvisitbyIndianPrimeMinisterNehrutoIndonesia,inJune1950,onlysixmonthsafterIndonesiaachievedindependence,inwhichNehruisshowntravelingthroughJavaandBali,accompaniedbyIndonesia'sfirstpresident,Sukarno.Thisfilmshowsremarkablefootageofapeoplenewlyliberatedfromcolonialism.Buteventhiswasastate-fundeddocumentary,asweremostdocumentariesmadeinIndonesiaoverthenext50years.Inthe1970stherediddevelopatraditionofexperimentaldocumentaries,fromwithintheFilmSchoolattheJakartaInstituteoftheArts,andanthropolo-gist,HadiPurnomo,shootingon8mmmadefilmsthatengagedpoliticallywithissuessuchaslanddispossession.However,leadingcontemporaryIndonesianfilmmaker,GarinNugroho,whohasmadeprize-winningdocumentariesaswellasfeatures.hasdescribedthekindsofdocumentariesthatmostpeoplegottoseeinIndonesia-particularlyintheSoehartoNewOrderperiod-asmainlypropaganda,eithermadebythestateordepictingIndonesiainwaysthatsatisfiedstateideologies.IntheNewOrderperiod90percentofdocumentariesweregovernmentpropaganda,accordingtoNugroho.?Theywereusuallyfundedbyaministry,andtheycelebrateddevel-opmentalprojectsinitiatedbyaministry(e.g.,theMinistryofAgriculture)andexhortedpeople(oftenfromthevillages)tojoininandsupportthem,frequentlypresentingtheministerhimselfasakeyprotagonist.Anotherdocumentarytypewastheethnographicdocumentarythatpresentedaportraitofalesserknownethnicgro~howingexamplesoftheirritualsorarts,butgenerallyatthesametimesuggestingthattheywerebackwardrecipientsofthepaternalismofthestateandhadlittleengagementwithmodernIndonesia.AllofthesewereconstructedinwhatBillNicholstermsas"expositorydocu-mentary":arangeofmaterialgatheredtogetherandstructured-bythediscoursesofthefilmmakerunderthemaskofobjectivity,usingapersuasivelyauthoritative

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