Documentary highlights monument-maker’s history
Paper Edition | Page: 22
It would be a lie to say that most Jakartans are accustomed to traffic, because, essentially, every Jakartan is.
Whether it is six in the morning or 10 in the evening, the horror of the capital’s traffic congestion continuously haunts residents and visitors. Consequently, it is not surprising that over 42 percent of respondents to a Citrus Surveyors’ April gubernatorial election survey demanded an immediate traffic fix.
Districts like Thamrin, Pancoran and Sawah Besar are among the numerous traffic-laden areas in the “Big Durian”. During peak hours, traffic in those locations can last for hours.
But how do Jakartans cope with such terrible road situation?
The conventional responses are music, food or a good read — anything that does not require interaction with the city itself. But has one ever considered sightseeing or learning about history instead?
Just as Jakartans are familiar with their city’s traffic, they are also presumably familiar with the Hotel Indonesia traffic circle’s Selamat Datang, Gatot Subroto’s Dirgantara, and Lapangan Banteng’s Pembebasan Irian Barat monuments. These landmarks are surely difficult to miss since they are encircled by traffic-clogged roads. But while most Jakartans know the monuments by name, only a few are aware of their histories. For example, did you know that the same person created all three?
To bridge the information gap and to celebrate the 80th birthday of Edhi Sunarso — the very sculptor of those monuments — Indonesia Berdikari released a graphic documentary (dokugrafis) titled Begini Lho, Ed! at the Usmar Ismail Film Building on Jl. Rasuna Said in South Jakarta.
Begini Lho, Ed! is a collaborative creation by young director Lasja Fauzia Susatyo and graphic designer Alit Ambara. The duo successfully merge film and graphic animation for a highly informative documentary with a unique twist.
“We decided to incorporate graphic animation in the film because of the lack of historical footage and the [Indonesians’] perspective on history,” said Lasja.
“The film is not simply a reconstruction of the past, but it is also a statement on the past ... [The combination of footage and graphic animation] represents ... Edhi [Sunarso’s] expressive and vibrant nature.”
Indeed, Edhi is seemingly a very witty figure. Laughter constantly broke out among the audience as the artist constantly threw in jokes between his narrations in the film of his sculpting journeys with the late President Soekarno. Unfortunately, Edhi was not able to attend the screening.
According to Indonesia Berdikari director Raharja Waluyajati, the film is expected to raise historical awareness and nationalism among Indonesians.
He said, “A film is a fluid medium that is easily understood by the public. We hope that [Begini Lho, Ed!] can help us fulfill our mission of reinvigorating the nation’s solidarity, pride and independence.”
With its various graphics, sound effects and Edhi’s carefree persona, Begini Lho, Ed! makes history pleasurable for all ages. The film underlines the fact that the monuments that typically appear as mere adornments to Jakarta’s bustling streets actually encompass strong historical values that most individuals often overlook.
The film’s producers and Indonesia Berdikari have yet to announce the public release of the film. Until then — remember that when you run out of traffic coping strategies, you could take a minute to enjoy the beauty and historical value of Edhi’s monuments.