The Jakarta Post
Wiji Thukul, a poet and activist, has been declared missing since 1998. (tempo.co/Idon Heryatna)
Istirahatlah Kata-Kata, the movie about missing Indonesian poet Wiji Thukul, premiered in the Cineasti del Presente competition as a part of the 2016 Locarno International Film Festival on Tuesday. The movie received a long applause from the audience after its screening.
Abduh Aziz, the director of State Film Production (Produksi Film Negara), plans to support Istirahatlah Kata-Kata in Indonesian cinemas, “PFN supports the screening of Istirahatlah Kata-Kata in Indonesia so it can be enjoyed by the general public,” he said, “The positive reception at the Locarno International Film Festival is proof of Indonesia’s wealth of human stories, which can be developed by other filmmakers. This movie has to be played in Indonesian cinemas.”
Director Yosep Anggi Noen noted the importance of the democracy movement in 1998 for his movie.
“Wiji Thukul was one of the many democracy fighters who made it possible for me to do this movie. Without the unfolding of the new Indonesian democracy space back in 1998, it’s impossible for me to show you this movie,” he said.
“In this movie, I try to give a space for Wiji Thukul’s poems to be heard again. I also want to show the life of a writer who lived his life in words.”
(Read also: Movie on missing poet to feature in Swiss festival)
Marissa Anita, who plays Sipon, Wiji Thukul’s wife, hopes the poems can be heard again in this time and age.
“In this movie, Wiji Thukul’s voice is heard. The voice that was heard in the 80s and 90s. We hope our generation can also hear Wiji through his poems.”
Producer Yulia Evina Bhara echoed Marissa’s sentiments.
“That is why this movie was made, so that we and the younger generation in Indonesia learn about the history of our democracy, fought for by many fighters and Wiji Thukul was one of them.”
At the festival, Istirahatlah Kata-Kata team members were accompanied by representatives from PFN and the Culture and Education Ministry. Istirahatlah Kata-Kata will be screened for Indonesian audiences in local cinemas toward the end of 2016.
Istirahatlah Kata-Kata is not Yosep Anggi Noen’s first movie to compete at the festival. The accomplished director had his feature film, A Peculiar Vacation and Other Illnesses (Vakansi Yang Janggal dan Penyakit Lainnya), compete back in 2012. The movie was supported by the Hubert Bals Fund of the Rotterdam International Film Festival.