The Jakarta Post
Soesilo Toer (right) receives a caricature of himself from Gubuk Tulis literature community at a discussion at Oase Cafe, Malang, East Java, on Nov. 26, 2018. (JP/Nedi Putra AW)
Soesilo Toer, brother of the late Indonesian literature figure Pramoedya Ananta Toer, recently spoke at a literature discussion at Oase Café, Malang, East Java.
In the event held on Monday, he addressed the issues regarding director Hanung Bramantyo’s adaptation of Pramoedya’s novel Bumi Manusia. Hanung’s casting choices and decision to emphasize the love story between two of the book’s characters, Minke and Annelies, has received a mixed reaction from the public.
Soesilo, often referred to as Soes, said he considered Hanung brave. “He had the courage to make a film of an extraordinary book, which I think involves numerous problems,” Soes said.
He also considered Hanung’s courage to be in keeping with Pramoedya’s words. "To live, one needs to be courageous. Only the brave can conquer three-fourths of the world," Soes said, quoting his late brother.
Soes revealed that a number of students had inquired with him about the adaptation, though most of them had never even read the book. The lack of reading among the youth concerns Soes, who is an author himself.
“By reading, we can avoid being critics who can only talk a lot,” he quipped.
Soes himself has had a complicated life. He was arrested during the chaotic transition period from the Old Order to the New Order in the 1960s for alleged relations with the Indonesian Communist Party (PKI). He lived as a scavenger for a while, and currently he is a writer and sells livestock on the side. (iru/wng)