Indonesia | Sokola Rimba, Aruna & Her Palate, and Cahaya Dari Timur: Beta Maluku | Film
Traveling to Indonesia from home
Lily Yulianti Farid, Founder/Director, Makassar International Writers Festival
I would like to recommend my all-time favourite Indonesian movies during this difficult time. We all miss those old days when we travelled and explored the rich culture and history and the fascinating stories we shared with the locals.
First, let’s go to the deep jungle of Sumatera, and then to Singkawang, Pontianak, Surabaya, Pamekasan, and finally to the beautiful island of Maluku in East Indonesia. All films are available on Netflix.
Sokola Rimba (Jungle School)
This is a film inspired by a journal under the same title written by Butet Manurung. It depicts the daily life of Butet Manurung in the jungle of Sumatera. Butet is an award-winning Indonesian anthropologist and one of the founders of Sokola, a not-for-profit organisation that focuses in providing literacy and advocacy programs for indigenous and marginalised communities in Indonesia. Sokola Rimba takes us into the depths of Bukit Dua Belas National Park in Jambi, Sumatera and we will be learning the real life of the jungle children and their friendships with the teachers from Sokola. Traditions versus modernity, wisdom from nature versus economic opportunities offered by corporates; the needs of basic education and life skills are portrayed through the eyes of the indigenous community and Butet and other teachers.
Director: Riri Riza
Producer: Mira Lesmana
Aruna & Her Palate
A food enthusiast and epidemiologist named Aruna loves to combine her business trip with a culinary adventure. The film was adapted from Laksmi Pamuntjak’s 2014 novel, The Bird Woman’s Palate. The background of the story is somewhat relevant with our situation in 2020: living in the middle of pandemic and seeing medical staff wearing biohazard suits due to a suspected outbreak of bird flu. In the middle of investigation, Aruna arranges a trip with her best friends to fulfil her love of the local cuisine in Singkawang, Pontianak, Surabaya and Pamekasan. With food, best friends and a bit of romance with her long-time crush, this film is such a crowd-pleaser, with Dian Sastro and Nicholas Saputra – two top notch Indonesian actors – as the main leads. One film with such culinary experiences in four different places!
Cahaya Dari Timur: Beta Maluku (Lights From The East: I Am Mollucan)
Peace, reconciliation and soccer! Let’s travel to the Eastern Indonesia, to the beautiful island of Maluku. The film is based on a true story of Sani Tawainela, former player for the Indonesian under-15 National Team in the Students Asian Cup 1996. Early 2000, Sani witnessed a child being shot in an armed clash in Ambon, the capital city of Maluku Province (the region saw bloodshed in religious-based conflicts from 1999 until early 2000s). As a former soccer player and with help from a friend who is also a former soccer player, Sani launches a club for children in his home village, Tuhelu. His mission is to spread peace among children and communities through soccer. The film was awarded the best film in 2014 at Indonesian Film Festival.
Director: Angga Sasongko
All films available on Netflix
The Asia Society Culture Club is your weekly dose of distraction. Bringing you the best recommendations of new and classic literature, films, tv, podcasts and more, from and on Asia.
Drawing from a different country each week, the club is an opportunity to step outside your usual newsfeed and discover new and classic stories from across the region. Each week features a guest programmer, selected from our network of members, experts, staff and stakeholders.