2012 CSEAS Film Series: ? (Tanda Tanya)
2011, 101 minutes
Wednesday, November 12, 2012 @ 6:30 PM
Korean Studies Auditorium
Directed by Hanung Bramantyo
Starring: Revalina Sayuthi Temat, Reza Rahadian, Agus Kuncoro, Endhita, Rio Dewanto, Hengky Sulaeman
In April 2011, thousands of Indonesian film-goers flocked to director Hanung Bramantyo’s (Perempuan Berkalung Sorban, Sang Pencerah) latest film with the intriguing title of ‘?’, a film supporting religious pluralism.
The storyline follows three families living in a village in Semarang, Central Java: the Chinese-Indonesian Buddhist Tan Kat Sun (Hengky Sulaeman) and his son Hendra (Rio Dewanto), the Muslim couple Soleh (Reza Rahadian) and Menuk (Revalina S. Temat), and the Catholic-convert Rika (Endhita) and her Muslim son Abi. The film ‘?’ centers on the intersection between people’s daily lives and their (chosen) religion.
With violent acts motivated by religious extremism on the increase in Indonesia, the film’s message is a significant one. Hanung’s film offers an alternative and more nuanced view to the sensationalism and extremist positions that currently dominate Indonesia’s information and entertainment industry.
‘?’ became the biggest box office draw of 2011. The number of viewers indicates that Indonesians are interested in films that deal with sensitive topics in a realistic contemporary context. The relatively civil debate that ensued about the film’s subject matter indicates that Indonesian citizens, be they filmmakers, audiences, or religious authorities are not always passive bystanders. And, in contrast to the flowering of action at the end of the New Order, it is not happening simply because of the emergence of a more liberal political and economic climate – it is happening because Indonesians are actively seizing these new opportunities for debate.
- Excerpted in part from Inaya Rakhmani’s article Indonesia: Questioning Religious Divides on the Regional Interfaith Network
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