Interview with John Badalu, Lisabona Rahman, and Ranjan Palit
Publicist Team of 15th Festival Film Dokumenter was given an opportunity to intwerview the juries of long documentary competition: Ranjan Palit (R), John Badalu (J), and Lisabona Rahman (L) on Wednesday (7/12). The interview was mainly about documentary films and their opinion about the development of documentary film itself. Variety of point of views that taken by them when seeing and experiencing documentary was recorded in our notes. Social discourse that been lifted as a subject in the long documentary competition, such as: marginality, LGBT, repressive regime of the ruling government, etc. became the starter of our talk.
Firstly, we want to know what is your opinion about the judging process of long documentary competition last Wednesday. As we know, this is the first time for FFD opened an opportunity for documentary film abroad to take participation on this competition of long documentary category. What are you seeing when indonesian films are evened with international films.
J: for an international competition, this competition is still lacking in diversity of film contents because still oriented to Asia, even Indonesia. for an international scale competition, the diversity of the participants still needs to be improved.
R: as the oldest organizer of documentary film festival in Southeast Asia, this program is considered interesting.
Based on your opinion, what is the characteristic of indonesian documentary compared to other countries?
L: Honestly, i don’t want to talk about classifying on indonesian film or international film, and if
that’s actually existed, i’m totally refusing it. Film is film, the works that not limited in space and time.
For Ranjan Palit, In Indonesia the current hottest issue is about identity conflict, say it religion, ethnic, etc. And also, there are so many film screening events that got banned by certain organization on behalf a certain ideology, with their fears about something that i felt it actually about their ego and ahistorical background. Has the same issue happened in India?
R: of course. Absolutely. Those kind of issues are happened in everywhere, even in India. I think this problem is actually not a new thing anymore.
One of this year finalist lifted censorship issue as the main subject (Potongan, Chairun Nissa, 2016). As figures that work in the audiovisual field, how are you way in dealing with censorship?
R: I’m an anti-censor person and don’t care about censor at all. However, what is the reason behind the censor itself?
For John Badalu, as a figure that already dealing with marginality issues movement in a long time, in your own opinion, what is the meaning of marginality itself?
J: the term of marginality is actually came up in one’s thought. If that person is feeling that she or he is got marginalized, so she or he deserved to be called by the term of marginal. Otherwise, if actually in the reality a person is marginalized but she or he doesn’t think like that, so she or he is not belonging to the marginal term. The term of domination and marginal is emerged from each of people’s perspective
For Lisa, how is your opinion about woman description in the finalists’ film?
L: there are variety of description of woman in those films. We can see a woman who questioned relation, or definition of strong woman in Roshmia (Salim Abu Jabal, 2015). I can’t say if the whole film is establishing a trend about women exclusion in social relation. We know from seeing in reality that this is not right. There are opportunities for women to be involved, especially on decision making. But, in the whole film, there is a description if women is still yet to or not always given and get opportunity to tell their opinion.
Back to John Badalu, Bulu Mata is derected by Toni Trimarsanto who created Renita, Renita and Mangga Golek Matang di Pohon. In your opinion, how is the people that deemed “different” lifted by these films, especially from Bulu Mata itself?
J: This is a little bit complicated. Bulu Mata (Tonny Trimarsanto, 2015) is a limited film, maybe because of time limit in the process of making as well. He can’t lift the context more deeper but instead showing a very Islamic citizen in Aceh. The interesting point is, this film showed transgender people in the repressive environtment, they can develop and having voices, and have a plan to do, so not really oppressed. This film showed that life is choice: want to be oppressed, or choosing to break loose. This is also showed in Renita, Renita. From he was a man who wore woman’s clothes, then in the end found the comfortness and decided to be a woman completely. This is actually also a choice, he choose to be a woman. He tried to penetrated the existing values within the society. He tried to state that this is his new identity and the society should accept it.
Because of i haven’t watched Mangga Golek Matang di Pohon yet, what is the strenght of Bulu Mata compared to Renita, Renita?
J: Renita, Renita is one character and we focused only on that character. And that is a moment of life of a character. Compared to Bulu Mata that is having representations of different transgender. That had made peace with their parents and the one that still hiding it. But they all are becoming one community and becoming strong together. So, the discussed issue is far more big
L: and actually the most interesting part of Bulu Mata is when he’s making KTP. If in Renita, Renita, the problem is more personal, about family. Bulu Mata is having more complex problems, there is a problem of him and the country as well.
For Ranjan Palit, as we knew, You’ve been returned 3 of your national award trophy, what is the reason behind that?
R: I did that as my participation as FTII graduate in our gesture against the government on intolerance issue that’s flaring in India. Actually, i have 4 trophies that i wanted to return, but i respected my wive’s opinion on saving on trophy as the prove of my creative work. I think, the gesture that i’ve took is the rightest decision i’ve been made as a creative worker, especially documentary, to be against the gorvernment’s attitude who doesn’t care about the intolerance issue in India.
Back to the judging process. Is there any film of the finalists that is having personal proximity to the each of you?
R: If it’s from finalists, there are no films that’s having personal proximity to me. But, i think i have a personal proximity with Notes on Blindness (One of the film in Perspektif program) because i also have disruption in my right eye. I’m using my right eye too much to see through the camera.
L: It’s difficult to choose because actually i never experience those issues personally. But, yes, i have a personal proximity when i imagines what will it be if i’m in those situations. This is like how if we should be dealing with tradition in Nokas, about home in Roshmia, and how id you can’t work like you are usually in Shadow Girl.
J: No, Because the appointed issues is something that never happened to me directly.[Anas AH / Ellyta Rahmayandi]