Indonesian Cinema after the New Order: Going Mainstream

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On December 4th, 2019, Festival Film Dokumenter (FFD) 2019 held a public lecture entitled Indonesian Cinema after the New Order: Going Mainstream at the Faculty of Social and Political Sciences, Universitas Gadjah Mada. This lecture invited Thomas Barker, an Associate Professor of the University of Nottingham Malaysia, who teaches Communication and Film as well as Television there. Thomas outlined how Indonesian cinema changed after 1998 in this lecture.

National cinema, after this period, no longer referred to films talking about the state or national vision. Thomas employed Ratu Ilmu Hitam (Kimo Stamboel, 2019) as an example of the change (read: development) in this more-mainstreamed Indonesian cinema trend. As a horror film, “This film steered the audience to the local beliefs, based on local wisdom and reality. It is not in any way a la Hollywood or a la Korea,” he stated.

The statement explained that firstly, this film succeeds not merely for its horror genre, but the narrative concept’s proximity to the lives of the audience. Secondly, it is a remake of the 1981 movie. Thirdly, the film is filled by popular actors and actresses. Fourthly, it was directed by an experienced youth. Fifthly, it was made possible by the collaboration of old production company with the new capital. Sixthly, the overseas post-production indicated a transnational event in Indonesian filmmaking. Seventhly, the massive and unwearying marketing successfully got over one million audience by far.

During this two-hour session, Thomas emphasized that market is responsible for shaping way for Indonesian films towards the more popular orientation. This development was made possible by the networks of cinemas, festivals, and independent screening all around the country.

Penulis: Nisa Rachmatika