The Jakarta Post
A still from 'Memories of My Body' (IMDB.com/-)
Indonesian movie Kucumbu Tubuh Indahku (Memories of My Body), directed by Garin Nugroho, has been selected to represent Indonesia in the nominee selection phase for the 2020 Academy Awards Best Foreign Language Film category.
Indonesian Film Selection Committee (KSFI) head Christine Hakim said the movie had been chosen based on several considerations. “We unanimously selected the film, as we see it as a complete work,” said Christine at a press conference on Tuesday, as quoted by kompas.com.
The movie was especially noted for its use of communicating through the language of feelings. “It is out of the ordinary,” added Christine, who is also known as a renowned actress. “Idioms in Indonesia are abundant, and the film introduced our rich culture along with its strong message.”
The KSFI was established by the Indonesian Movie Producers Association (PPFI), which had been appointed by the Academy to select one movie to represent Indonesia at the Oscars. Producer Sheila Timothy acts as secretary, and members include actors Reza Rahadian and Mathias Muchus, director/actress Lola Amaria, producer Adisurya Abdy and music director Thoersi Argeswara.
Memories of My Body premiered in Indonesia last December at the 13 Jogja-Netpac Asian Film Festival (JAFF). Previously, it was screened at the UNESCO headquarters in Paris on Dec. 13 upon winning the 2018 Asia Pacific Screen Awards (APSA) Cultural Diversity Award.
The movie tells the story of a young lengger dancer transitioning into manhood amid Indonesia’s social norms and explores the nature of masculinity.
In April and May, the film was banned in several cities, such as Padang, Palembang and Depok. The administration of Depok in West Java claimed the film contained “deviant sexual acts and blasphemy”.
An online petition calling for a public boycott emerged during the controversy, and Garin responded by saying that was proof that social media had become a medium of “mass judgment and anarchy”.
On his Instagram page, he wrote: “This sort of mass anarchy will only discourage open-mindedness and harm artistic integrity.
Adding to the controversy, the Islam Defenders Front (FPI) has demanded that a screening of Memories of My Body in Semarang, Central Java, on Sunday be canceled because of LGBT elements in the film. After one hour of protest and a mediation effort, the screening went on as scheduled – with police protection.
Garin, who was present at the time, said that, though he appreciated criticism, he rejected the boycott. “The film has been through a censorship process, with board members representing elements of the public and religious institutions,” he said. “Semarang Old Town Festival [which screened the film] is supported by the Semarang administration, and we have permits from the local police.”
Organizer Erma Yuliati said the film had been chosen for its cultural values. “It teaches humanistic traits that could be beneficial in the face of social problems in Indonesia,” she said. (wng)
Suherdjoko in Semarang, Central Java, contributed to this report.