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Film inspired by 212 rally to hit cinemas

Asmara Wreksono
Asmara Wreksono

The Jakarta Post

Jakarta  /  Thu, May 25, 2017  /  01:17 pm
Film inspired by 212 rally to hit cinemas

This aerial view shows Indonesian Muslims gathering at Jakarta's National Monument Park as part of a rally against Jakarta's Christian Governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, better known by his nickname Ahok, on December 2, 2016. The 212 rally inspired film director Jastis Arimba to include theĀ massive movementĀ in his upcoming feature film titled '212: The Power of Love,' starring actor Fauzi Baadila. (AFP/File)

The 212 rally held on December 2, 2016, inspired film director Jastis Arimba to include the massive movement in his upcoming feature film titled 212: The Power of Love, starring actor Fauzi Baadila.

“The idea came to me after the rally, around February. The rally feels very personal to me, and although I was not at the rally, I followed the development in the media,” Jastis told The Jakarta Post via a phone interview on Wednesday.

According to Jastis, although set against the backdrop of the 212 rally, footage showing the main characters taking part in a rally was taken during the 5/5 rally held on May 5th. 

“We used the 5/5 rally to film a teaser. We also asked for permission from the organizations to film in the rally,” said Jastis.

Read also: Anti-Ahok rally ends peacefully

Despite the movie's setting, Jastis refused to refer to his movie as political. “I would like to state strongly that this movie is not political. I am just telling a story about a father-and-son relationship,” Jastis stated. 

The story revolves around a moderate-thinking journalist, Rahmat, who for almost ten years was not communicating with his father. When Rahmat's mother gets sick and dies, the son must return to his hometown and come face-to-face with his aging father, who is a pious man.

Rahmat’s father decides to participate in the 212 rally and march to Jakarta. Rahmat, who has opposing views with his father, is ultimately trapped as he has to accompany his old man during the long march. 

“For a story with a real event as its backdrop, I think a journalist is the profession that makes sense for the main character. Journalists are also the ones who know about what’s really going on,” Jastis said.

During the casting process, Jastis said he was open to hiring actors who were for or against the 212 rally. “When I thought about who the main character would be played by, I immediately thought of Fauzi Baadila because he seems to be the right actor to play a tough and skeptical character like Rahmat,” Jastis explained.

“Actors in this movie don’t have to be a supporter of the 212 rally. As we are still in the casting process, we are still looking for additional actors. We even have non-Muslim characters on our list,” he added.

Jastis said he visited several clerics to ask for blessings before starting production. “I did meet with several clerics to convey my intention of making a movie using the 212 rally as a backdrop, but none of them intervened in the story I made,” he said.

Read also: Q&A: Another anti-Ahok rally, another riot?

As for the message he’s trying to convey through the movie, Jastis said he wants to send a message of peace, “I hope people can see this movie as a product of art, and I hope to bring messages of peace through this movie. Also, I hope this movie will entertain lots of people.”

When asked whether he has any concerns about the possibility of people seeing the movie as showing radicalism in a positive light, Jastis said, “Personally, I don’t think that far. I am just making this movie based on historical facts that we have to all acknowledge; that there was a rally that ran peacefully, cleanly and politely. That’s the fact. I don’t see any portrait of radicalism in the rally."

212: The Power of Love is Warna Pictures' second feature film. Production will be fully rolled out after Idul Fitri and the movie is slated to be released in December 2017.

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