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Palembang adds fuel to controversy over Garin's ‘Memories of My Body'

Yulia Savitri

The Jakarta Post

Palembang, South Sumatra  /  Mon, April 29, 2019  /  05:30 pm
Palembang adds fuel to controversy over Garin's ‘Memories of My Body'

Redefining masculinity: Garin Nugroho's 'Kucumbu Tubuh Indahku' explores the nuances of gender identity through its protagonist, Juno. The character is based on the life of 'lengger' dancer Rianto. (Courtesy of IMDB.com/-)

The Palembang administration has demanded that Kucumbu Tubuh Indahku be pulled from theaters across the South Sumatra city amid concerns over its “negative content”.

Released internationally as Memories of My Body, the film by acclaimed director Garin Nugroho was accorded the Cultural Diversity Award of the 2018 Asia Pacific Screen Awards (APSA) and has been screened at several international film festivals, including Rotterdam and Venice, and at UNESCO's Paris headquarters.

Palembang city secretary Ratu Dewa has urged the South Sumatra Broadcasting Commission (KPID) to issue an immediate ban on screenings of Kucumbu Tubuh Indahku

“I have seen the trailer. It is evident that the film includes negative content that will likely influence the younger generation,” Dewa said on Sunday.

Film aficionados in Palembang bemoaned the news on the possible ban. 

Read also: 'Kucumbu Tubuh Indahku', poetic ode to the human body

Robi, the head of the Palembang Film Community, said that rather than banning the film, Kucumbu Tubuh Indahku should be hailed as a creative expression from a local talent. He also said that the KPID did not have the authority to ban the film, which fell under the legal domain of the Film Censorship Board (LSF). 

“A ban on a specific cinematic work requires thorough consideration. I believe the LSF is the institution that has the proper legal instruments for censorship,” Robi told The Jakarta Post. 

Last week, the Depok administration of West Java sent a letter to the Indonesian Broadcasting Commission (KPI) requesting an immediate ban on the film for its purported endorsement of “deviant sexual acts and blasphemy”.

The controversy surrounding the film also caused a stir on social media, following an online petition that called for a public boycott.

Kucumbu Tubuh Indahku tells the story of Juno, a Javanese male dancer,  over four periods in his life. The film explores the themes of identity and the nature of masculinity. (rfa/kes)