Seeing Lapindo mud through children’s eyes
Volume : 3 | Edition : 2 | | Novia D. Rulistia
A promising filmmaker has put together a short tale about disaster and determination all filmed on site in the area struck by the Sidoarjo mud flow.
The 23-minutes movie centers on the life of Rafi, an elementary school boy.
Anak-anak Lumpur (children of the mud) shows us the prolonged Sidoarjo mudflow in East Java, through the eyes of the children most affected.
The Javanese language film begins with Rafi and his friends, Wulan and Yusman as they travel by wooden boat to visit the grave of Rafi’s father, who drowned in the massive eruption.
When they return home, Rafi finds that his mother has been taken to the hospital. Her health has worsened from the unhealthy environment.
Rafi and his friends together go to the pharmacy to look for medicine for his mother, but to no avail. The pharmacy has been destroyed by the mud.
But the boys soldier on. They move on to another pharmacy near the shelters in which people are stay after their houses were lost to the swell of hot mud.
Using their bicycles, they travel from one place to another around the mud-affected area. The audience gets a short tour of the situation on the ground.
Along the way they boys see people rallying. They are demanding full compensation for their losses from the mud. The rally site has become a disaster tourism spot, so we get a glimpse of the longer-term after effects. Other highlights of the film include portraits of residents as they try to block the encroaching mud from entering their homes.
The Sidoarjo mudflow erupted first in May 2006 when PT Lapindo Brantas was drilling in the area. The mudflow has displaced 40,000 people.
“We cast actual victims of Lapindo to play parts in the film, including the children. We wanted to present something different since the impact of the event has been so wide. That’s why we decided to make it from the children’s perspective,” said Danial Rifki, director of Anak-anak Lumpur.
Danial said he came up with the idea when he had to choose a final film project for his studies at the Jakarta Arts Institute (IKJ).
The research started in early 2008 and the shooting took place about six months later. The student project cost about Rp 100 million.
“We are planning to offer the movie to environmental NGOs. They can use it as a campaign tool,” he said.
Though the acting is not what you will see in a commercial film, the film manages to get the audience laughing with its simple jokes, disingenuous young actors and a nice wrap-up scene.
The film was screened at the third South to South Film Festival that ran January 22-24. The biannual festival focuses on movies, both short and long, about social and environmental issues.
This year the festival featured 23 movies produced in several countries, including Canada, France and the United Kingdom. All films were screened in Goethe Haus and Centre Culturel Francaise in Jakarta.
The festival was the high point of a series of activities that have been going on for several months. They included film, blog and photography competitions as well as visits to high school in Greater Jakarta: vocational school SMK 20 Cilandak, SMA 80 in North Jakarta, and SMA 5 in Tangerang.