Back in Time with Tjidurian 19

— Film Review
FFD 2019

Tjidurian 19 was a home for ideas, knowledge, love, and friendship. It was the secretariat office for Lembaga Kebudayaan Rakyat (Institute for the People’s Culture), often abbreviated to Lekra. It was where Lekra artists had small talks about philosophy, ideology, arts, and literature. Changes came as Indonesia’s New Order took over the government. Lekra died in the hands of the New Order. Tjidurian 19, which was once a home for culture, disappeared along with its history. However, the film Tjidurian 19: The Seized House of Culture revived the story for the audience to listen to.

“Don’t ever forget history,” Soekarno once told the youths, encouraging them all to study history. Studying history does not have to be merely done by reading books; it can be done through various media, including historical artifacts, museums, as well as documentary films. Each person certainly has their own preference, and should be endorsed to study the history of their own countries.

FFD 2019 - Tjidurian 19

Tjidurian 19 (Lasja F. Susatyo & M. Abduh Aziz, 2009) will take you back to the past, the moment when Tjidurian 19 crumbled because of political differences. Tjidurian 19 is very neat and concise in retelling history; it endeavors to view history not view history not from its grandiose perspective, but rather from the little stories intercorrelated in time and space, completing a picture of an era, rich with nostalgia.

Tjidurian 19 features artists that once created in Lekra, such as T. Iskandar A.S, Amarzan Ismail Hamid, Martin Aleida, Putu Oka Sutanta, Amrus Natalsya, Jane Luyke (Nyonya Oey Hay Djoen), Hersri Setiawan, and the late Oey Hay Djoen. They each told an interesting story of Tjidurian 19 from beginning to end: how they got there, what works they created, and how they faced political intrigues that led to the destruction of Lekra. These figures were not short of emotion; they showed joy and pride from becoming a member as well as anger and frustration due to its ruin.

To better clarify the plot, the filmmaker divided the film into several chapters: Getting to Know about Lekra, Toward Tjidurian 19, Tjidurian 19, The Dynamics of Tjidurian, Tjiduran and Revolution, and The Remains. Every chapter has its own characteristics; the first chapters the artists talked joyfully about the pride for getting into Lekra, while in the latter half, they began to get serious and concerned.

FFD 2019 - Tjidurian 19

Videos from Indonesian National Archive, photographs, and newspaper clips were presented to strengthen the historical visualization delivered by Lekra artists. With the aid of this archive, one can relive the moment when those events took place, preserving them in their memory. One shall not forget that Lekra was once there and Lekra artists did create arts and fight for revolution from Tjidurian 19 Street.

Tjidurian 19 (2009) will be screened in Festival Film Dokumenter (FFD) 2019 on December 6th, 2019 at 3 pm at Auditorium IFI-LIP Yogyakarta. Refer to the festival schedule to see the full agenda of FFD 2019.

Written by Dinda Agita Dewi

Translated by M. Hafidh Al Mukmin