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Festival highlights importance of film preservation, restoration

Masajeng Rahmiasri
Masajeng Rahmiasri

The Jakarta Post

Jakarta | Fri, September 23, 2016 | 09:12 am
Festival highlights importance of film preservation, restoration

Following a restoration project 'Tiga Dara', a classical musical drama, has been shown again in local cinemas. (SA Films/-)

Films offer a lot more than simply entertainment. For Babi Buta Films production house director Edwin, they also serve as a medium to promote national culture.

“Proof that we are civilized and educated can be seen from those film strips,” said Edwin during a press conference on “Restoration and Censorship” held by 2016 Indonesian Film Festival (FFI) organizers in Jakarta on Wednesday. Alongside Edwin, the event was also attended by restoration practitioner Lisabona Rahman, actress and director Jajang C. Noer and actor Ario Bayu.

Lisabona, whose interest in film preservation and restoration began when she saw the lack of access to classical Indonesian films in her younger days, shared why it is important to preserve and restore old movies. “[It is important to do so] if we are serious in wanting to show these films to our grandchildren,” she said. “We have done little in preserving films; perhaps due to lack of existing institutions, aside from national or regional archives that are dedicated to archiving films. We also lack the resources and technology to undertake preservation.”

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She said that old films stored in archive institution Sinematek Indonesia, which were estimated to be around 40 years old ago, were now in a state that needed greater care “using sufficient technology and by professional hands”. “It [the films] can’t be stored in warehouses with an on-and-off air conditioner, suffering from leakages and many other issues,” Lisabona said.

She explained that in addition to films with commercial potential such as Tiga Dara (Three Girls), there were also classical films like Lewat Djam Malam (After the Curfew) and Darah dan Doa (Blood and Pray) that were made “to convey artistic expression of its creator” and were “important in building knowledge, the arts and identity as Indonesians”. Such films also need to be restored, or translated into a new format that fits with existing viewers’ quality standards.

Lisabona added that there were strong interests to restore films from the original film owners. “Because, as the time goes by, it gets clearer that films are an asset that can be monetized,” she said, noting recent success of Warkop DKI Reborn as an example.

The festival is slated for November in Taman Ismail Marzuki, Central Jakarta. (kes)