Sunday, June 29, 2014

Sensational B-movies of the New Order back on screen

Hans David Tampubolon, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Entertainment | Sat, June 14 2014, 1:36 PM

Those who love classic Indonesian B-movies are in for a treat: The Kineforum is presenting two weekends of screenings and discussions about some of the most sensational films ever made in the archipelago.

While the event kicked off on Friday with Segitiga Emas (Stabilizer), Leak (Mystics in Bali) and Pembalasan Ratu Laut Selatan (Lady Terminator), those who missed the classic exploitation films can catch additional screenings next weekend.

The Kineforum will hold more screenings and a discussion about the genre on Saturday with film critic Ekky Imanjaya, who curated the series.

Ekky said that the event was aimed at educating people on the importance of exploitation movies for society and their surprising fan base around the world.

“I accidentally stumbled on this type of movie when I was doing research in the Netherlands in 2007,” Ekky said. “I found out that these movies actually had a significant niche market abroad. These Indonesian B-movies, which are often overlooked, have actually become cult and managed to gain significant followers and fans abroad.”

Ekky said that Indonesian B-movie market was particularly significant in Western Europe and in North America. 

Some DVD stores in New York had dedicated sections for Indonesian exploitation films, due to their status as cult films — mixing genres in surprising way, such as in Lady Terminator, which blends action movies, police procedurals and sexy horror (“First she mates, then she terminates” according to the English-language poster.)

All of the movies to be screened at the Kineforum were produced during the New Order — which may be why the films have not been recognized locally, despite their warm reception overseas, according to Ekky.

“These movies, which often contain fantasies and massive exploitation of violence and sexuality, were not considered by the New Order regime as a work that represented Indonesia,” Ekky said. “Despite this lack of acknowledgement from the government, the movies were a massive hit at film festivals — including the prestigious Cannes Film Festival.”

“Foreigners who enjoy these movies call this genre ‘crazy Indonesia’,” Ekky said.

For example, B-movie fans overseas idolize Indonesian B-movie directors such as Arizal, who died at 71 on May 18.

Arizal, who directed everything from warkop comedies to sinetron, was famous for outrageous action sequences in films such as Lethal Hunter and Stabilizer. “If no stuntman ever died making one of his movies,” said one fan online, “it wasn’t for a lack of trying.”

Mondo Macabro, a UK-based DVD distributor specializing in cult movies, has repackaged many of the New Order genre pictures, restoring prints and providing fans with rare extras on DVDs, such as behind-the-scenes documentaries on designing monsters or an interview with action icon Barry Prima (best known for his role in Jaka Sembung, which is also screening at Kineforum).

Ekky said that foreigners were bemused and in awe whenever they watched Indonesian B-movies. “They were particularly in awe with Jaka Sembung, who they identified as a super hero. They had never seen a character who could grow his arm back after it was cut off in any other movie before.”

Another iconic scene was featured in Leak, said Ekky.

“The main female character, who is a foreigner, is learning the Bali mystical black magic called ‘leak’. In one scene, the woman’s head is leaving her body through her neck and audience can see clearly her intestines,” Ekky said. “Her head then flies around to find newborn babies to eat.”

Low budgets and cheesy special effects also add to the charm. “You can clearly see that the special effects are so katrok [ugly] — but this is why the movies are so loved by the audience,” Ekky says. “People who are watching this movie do expect to see this kind of katrok special effects and to laugh as a mean of entertainment.”

Ekky said he wants local critics to be inspired by the Kineforum screenings to think about the films’ relationship with the audience — as well as how B-movies should be considered within the national film industry.

“Most Indonesian movie critics only focus on the textbook, intrinsic and coherent qualities of movies in their critical reviews. They rarely analyze the relationship between the movies and the fans or the audience,” Ekky said.

“They often forget that watching movies is sometimes about excitement and enjoyment. B-movies are produced for those who want to get excited and to just enjoy a movie without having to think too much about plots. They want to see fights and gore. B-movies provide this using their own katrok way.”

Rethinking the Exploitation Films of the New Order will run at the Kineforum at TIM in Cikini, South Jakarta on June 13 to 15 and June 20 to 22. Screenings are free. For more information, visit



This article has published on the first day of the event. Thank you The Jakarta Post and Christian Razukas as the editor!

But, there are some inaccurate statements, though. 
There are at least 3 things I want to share:

--> Some DVD stores in New York had dedicated sections for Indonesian exploitation films, due to their status as cult film

It is not totally true. I said: "Troma is one of the distributors who recirculates Indonesian films, namely Ferocious Female Freedom Fighters 1 & 2, Stabilizer, and Intruder. And there is a section on TROMA DVDs in some DVD stores within US, such as Amoeba in L.A".

--> All of the movies to be screened at the Kineforum were produced during the New Order — which may be why the films have not been recognized locally, despite their warm reception overseas, according to Ekky.

Locally, the films were big hits and box office, watched by millions of spectators particularly from working and lower class in suburban and rural area in  C-class movie theaters and Layar Tancap.

-->  “Despite this lack of acknowledgement from the government, the movies were a massive hit at film festivals — including the prestigious Cannes Film Festival.”

What I meant is: the film market at Cannes, Berlin, etc, not in the competition section. Indonesian government founded an official body and sold some B-movies in those film festivals. apparently, there foreign buyers only bought those kinds of films. the sentence aboove was not so clear about it.

Probabably, partly, it was my mistake, perhaps I talked to fast and to much :).
But everything was recorded.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Global Exploitation CInemas, a new book series from Bloomsbury Academic

WOW! <-- Global Exploitation CInemas, a new book series from Bloomsbury Academic

info from the website:
Global Exploitation Cinemas publishes original monographs and edited volumes of 110-120k words that explore the highly dynamic area of international "exploitation" film production and consumption. Encompassing a broad range of contexts, from industry to audiences to cultural history, it considers filmic trends and traditions, the work of specific directors, producers, stars and audiences.

Until recently, the academic study of global exploitation cinemas often analysed films, not in light of their context of production, reception or cultural afterlife, but rather in theoretical vacuums. And, while it would be unfair to claim that this approach characterises all research in this area, there is yet to be a book series dedicated to advancing the field of exploitation cinema studies in a way that contributes new and original knowledge.

Global Exploitation Cinemas, thus, seeks to a fill a void in the academic study of cinema history and, for the first time, provide a forum for the historically-informed study of  the exploitation film in all its guises.
The series will attract both young and established scholars. The series will become a valuable tool for students and scholars across the fields of film studies and film history: specifically those within the thriving disciplines of "national" and "transnational" cinema.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Menimbang Ulang Film-film Eksploitasi Orde Baru, Kineforum, Taman Ismail Marzuki, Jakarta, 13-15 dan 20-22 Juni 2014.

Menimbang Ulang Film-film Eksploitasi Orde Baru
Kineforum, Taman Ismail Marzuki, Jakarta,
13-15 dan 20-22 Juni 2014.

Sepenting apa film-film B era Orde Baru? Kali ini, Kineforum akan menggelar fokus khusus pada film-film film-film cult/B/eksploitasi Indonesia yang diproduksi, didistribusi, dieksibisi, dan diekspor ke mancanegara di masa Orde Baru, khususnya era 1979-1995. Misalnya, serial Jaka Sembung, Pembalasan Ratu Laut Selatan, Segi Tiga Emas, Perempuan di Sarang Sindikat, dan Ratu Ilmu Hitam. Film semacam itu, pada masanya, dianggap tidak bermutu, dipandang sebelah mata oleh elit budaya, dianaktirikan oleh negara, tidak dianggap sebagai bagian dari “film nasional” yang “mencari wajah Indonesia”, dan jarang diulas oleh jurnalis, kritikus, dan akademisi dalam dan luar negeri—kecuali jika ada hal kontroversial atau pembahasan tematis seperti gender dan kelas sosial. Di masa Orde Baru itu, tidak ada satu pun film-film “sampah” ini yang dianggap mewakili budaya Indonesia dan secara resmi dikirim ke festival film internasional, atau produksinya dibiayai Dewan Film Nasional, atau menang kategori-kategori penting FFI, dan sebaliknya, Negara (dengan para elit politik nasionalis) terkesan mengutuk dan berupaya menyensor dan bahkan mengeliminasi film-film yang penuh kekerasan dan adegan sensual ini. Menariknya, di lain pihak, Negara juga membuat aturan aturan kontradiktif, seperti peraturan presiden dan menteri seputar “pendekatan penonton” atau “pendekatan kuantitatif”, seperti mewajibkan para importer film asing untuk membuat 5 film lokal untuk mendapatkan hak distribusi film asing. Negara pula yang membuat institusi resmi yang menjual film-film popular ini ke berbagai Pasar Film sejak 1982, di antaranya ke Cannes dan Berlin—dan, uniknya, para pembeli film luar negeri hanya membeli film-film semacam ini saja.
Film-film itu diedarkan kembali—dan diberi label “cult films”-- di awal 2000an di berbagai penjuru dunia oleh distributor transnasional (Mondo Macabro DVD, Troma Team, ZDD, VideoAsia, Maia, dan sebagainya) dalam bentuk DVD. Hingga saat ini, film-film itu dirayakan oleh para penggemarnya dari berbagai belahan negeri, khususnya via dunia maya. Berbagai blog dan forum mengulas film-film ini secara serius, misalnya Cinema Strikes Back, Shocking Images, Mondo Digital, 10K Bullets, Tales of A Bearded Movies Aficianado, Ninja Nixon, an Critical Condition. Beberapa fans melabeli film-film jenis ini dengan istilah “Crazy Indonesia”, dan membahas ikon cult dari actor Barry Prima hingga sutradara Arizal.
Ekky Imanjaya, kritikus film yang sedang menjadi kandidat doctor di jurusan Kajian Film di University of East Anglia (Britania Raya) sedang menyelidiki seberapa penting film-film yang dianggap jelek tapi sangat popular dan banyak yang masuk daftar box office itu, dalam empat level. Pertama, dia ingin meneliti bagaimana budaya film—khususnya produksi, mediasi, dan konsumsi perfilman—dihasilkan di tahun 1980an dan 2000an, di dalam dan luar negeri. Kedua, bagaimana Politik Selera berbagai pihak (dari pemerintah Orde Baru, elit politik nasionalis, penonton film di Indonesia dan global, distributor transnasional tahun 2000an) saling berinteraski, berkontradiksi, bernegoisasi, dan mempengaruhi satu sama lain. Dan ketiga, bagaimana proses-proses di atas bisa membuat status cult dari film-film yang dimaksud. Terakhir, riset ini ingin menjawab sejauh mana film-film B ini bisa dianggap sebagai bagian dari konsep “film nasional” kita.
Sebagian besar film yang diputar adalah film-film versi yang beredar di sirkuit DVD global, dari label MondoMacabroDVD, dan satu dari Troma Team.

Jumat 13 Juni
14.15 Segi Tiga Emas (Stabilizer) (1986 / Arizal / 95’)
17.00 Mistik (Punahnya Rahasia Ilmu Iblis Leak) (Mystics in Bali) (1981 / Tjut Djalil / 118’)
19.30 Pembalasan Ratu Laut Selatan (Lady Terminator) (1988 / Tjut Djalil / 80’)

Sabtu 14 Juni
14.15 Kumpulan Dokumenter dari Boum Production (Andy Stark dan Pete Tombs, Mondo Macabro)
17.00 Kuliah Umum: Film-Film Eksploitasi era Orde Baru: Anak Kandung, Anak Tiri,
atau Anak Haram Kebudayaan Indonesia? oleh Ekky Imanjaya
19.30 Jaka Sembung Sang Penakluk (The Warrior) (1981 / Sisworo Gautama Putra /
Minggu 15 Juni
14.15 Ratu Ilmu Hitam (Queen of the Black Magic) (1981 / Lilik Sudjio / 95’)
17.00 Golok Setan (The Devil’s Sword) (1983 / Ratno Timoer / 101’)
19.30 Perempuan di Sarang Sindikat (Virgins from Hell) (1986 / Ackyl Anwari / 93’)

Jumat 20 Juni
14.15 Ratu Ilmu Hitam (Queen of the Black Magic) (1981 / Lilik Sudjio / 95’)
17.00 Perempuan di Sarang Sindikat (Virgins from Hell) (1986 / Ackyl Anwari / 93’)
19.30 Golok Setan (The Devil’s Sword) (1983 / Ratno Timoer / 101’)

Sabtu 21 Juni
14.15 Pembalasan Ratu Laut Selatan (Lady Terminator) (1988 / Tjut Djalil / 80’)
17.00 Kumpulan Dokumenter dari Boum Production (Andy Stark dan Pete Tombs, Mondo Macabro)
19.30 Diskusi “Film Transnasional Indonesia dan Fenomena global “Crazy Indonesia”
Bersama Joko Anwar dan Ekky Imanjaya,

Minggu 22 Juni
14.15 Jaka Sembung Sang Penakluk (The Warrior) (1981 / Sisworo Gautama Putra /
17.00 Segi Tiga Emas (Stabilizer) (1986 / Arizal / 95’)
19.30 Mistik (Punahnya Rahasia Ilmu Iblis Leak) (Mystics in Bali) (1981 / Tjut Djalil / 118’)

Kuliah Umum:
Sabtu, 14 Juni 2014, 17.00
Film-Film Eksploitasi era Orde Baru: Anak Kandung, Anak Tiri, atau Anak Haram Kebudayaan Indonesia?
oleh Ekky Imanjaya (Kandidat Doktor jurusan Kajian Film, University of East Anglia, Britania Raya).

Kuliah umum ini memfokuskan bagaimana Politik Selera (atau Politik Identitas dalam istilah Seno Gumira Ajidarma) bekerja lewat dukungan elit budaya sayap nasionalis sejak 1950an dan dipertegas oleh pemerintahan Orde Baru berbagai kanal: mulai dari Festival Film Indonesia, Dewan Film Nasional, lembaga dan kebijakan sensor, hingga organisasi-organisasi film yang dibentuk untuk mengontrol isi dan pekerja film. Semangat “mencari wajah Indonesia” yang menjadi representasi resmi alias anak kandung kebudayaan Indonesia. Konsekuensinya, film-film yang dianggap murahan, mengumbar kekerasan dan adegan sensual diserang dan diupayakan untuk dieliminasi dan dikucilkan dari wacana kebudayaaan Indonesia.
Tapi, apakah itu artinya film-film seperti Lebak Membara, Pengabdi Setan, atau Lima Cewek Jagoan menjadi anak haram kebudayaan kita? Kalau iya, mengapa sensor ketat tak mampu meredam maraknya produksi film-film semacam ini? Dan mengapa, misalnya, ada “audience approach” atau syarat memproduksi film bagi pihak yang ingin mengimpor film asing? Atau, mengapa Pemerintah membentuk badan khusus untuk memasarkan film-film yang mereka hendak singkirkan itu ke berbagai pasar film?
Presentasi ini hendak menggarisbawahi soal mengapa dan bagaimana upaya para elit budaya sayap nasionalis hendak membingkai konsep “film nasional”, dan bagaimana rangkaian-rangkaian kebijakan politik—dengan negosiasi berbagai Politik Selera--membentuk dan menghasilkan serangkaian kontradiksi yang menghasilkan film-film eksploitasi.

Diskusi “Film Transnasional Indonesia and Fenomena “Global Crazy Indonesia”
bersama Joko Anwar dan Ekky Imanjaya
Sabtu, 21 Juni  2014, 19.30

Di Indonesia, baik di masa Orde Baru atau masa kiwari, film-film seperti Jaka Sembung Sang Penakluk (Sisworo Gautama Putra, 1981), Perawan di Sarang Sindikat (Ackyl Anwari, 1986) , Ratu Ilmu Hitam (Lilik Sudjio, 1981) , Segi Tiga Emas (Arizal, 1986), Golok Setan (Ratno Timoer, 1983), Pembalasan Ratu Laut Selatan (Tjut Djalil, 1988), Mistik (Punahnya Rahasia Ilmu Iblis Leak (Tjut Djalil 1981), dan sebagainya tidak dianggap sebagai bagian sah dan representasi dari kebudayaan Indonesia. Tapi di dalam sirkulasi video di luar negeri, kita nyaris tak melihat ada film Orde Baru atau orde lainnya yang dianggap bagus oleh elit budaya (katakanlah, karya-karya Usmar Ismail, Sjuman Djaya, Garin Nugroho, Teguh Karya, atau Arifin C Noer), justru film-film semacam itulah yang diedarkan dengan berbagai judul, sulihsuara, dan subtitling, sejak 1982. Di sirkuit DVD global, film-film itu berganti nama (sebagian dengan beberapa judul), antara lain, secara berurutan) menjadi The Warrior, Queen of Black Magic, Stabilizer, Devil’s Sword, Lady Terminator, dan Mystics in Bali. Bahkan Lady Terminator beberapa kali dibahas di buku akademis, termasuk di buku 100 Cult Films karya Ernest Mathijs dan Xavier Mendik.
Film-film kelas B itu diedarkan kembali dalam bentuk DVD sejak akhir 1997 oleh distributor transnasional --baik yang resmi seperti yang dilakukan MondoMacabroDVD dan Troma Team atau yang versi bootlegging semacam ZDD dan VideoAsia—yang mempunyai Politik Seleranya sendiri, dan melabeli film-film itu dengan “sinema cult”, setelah terlebih dulu membuat beberapa permak baik elemen internal seperti sulih suara (ulang) dan juga elemen-elemen ekstra-teks (atau parateks) seperti sampul dan materi-materi eksklusif di bonus special feature.
Sedangkan para penggemarnya yang tidak sedikit, yang bisa kita lihat dari berbagai blog dan forum maya, juga menerapkan Politik Selera mereka yang tidak sama dengan Politik Selera Orde Baru atau distributor internasional. Mereka menamai fenomena ini dengan istilah “Crazy Indonesia”.
Ekky Imanjaya, dalam riset S3nya, menganalisa para distributor transnasional ini dan juga aktivitas penggemar global yang asyik berdiskusi di forum online seperti AVManiacs atau di blog dan E-Fanzine semacam Cinema Strikes Back, DVD Verdict, 10k Bullets, Mondo Digital, Monsters At Play, DVD Drive-In, Shocking Images, Box Office Prophets, Eccentric Cinema, DVD Maniacs, Teleport City, dan Cinema Knight Fight.
Di Indonesia, orang pertama dan paling menyuarakan film-film semacam ini adalah Joko Anwar. Ia menulis fenomena ini Bad RI films a big hit overseas di The Jakarta Post (9/12 2001), dan juga Horror flick 'The Black Magic' casts bad spells di The Jakarta Post (23/07 2003), dan mengunggah sampul dan poster film-film versi global ini di blognya,
Kedua pembicara akan membahas seputar fenomena global film-film “ Crazy Indonesia” ini, dari soal distributor hingga fandom,
Tentang Kumpulan Dokumenter dari Boum Production
sutradara Pete Tombs dan Andy Starke, 2001

Fantasy Film From Indonesia
Indonesian Light & Magic: Behind the scenes with FX Guru El Badrun
Interview with Gope Samtani
Interview with Imam Tantowi

Film-film dokumenter pendek dan kumpulan wawancara ini adalah besutan Pete Tombs dan Andy Starke, dua pendiri Mondo Macabro DVD, yang awalnya adalah proyek yang disponsori untuk stasiun televisi Inggris Channel 4 di tahun 2001. Proyek ini adalah bagian dari seri dokumenter tentang film-film cult global, bersama dengan 8 film lainnya, di antaranya dari Argentina, Manila, Meksiko, dan Turki, yang diadaptasi dari buku Macabro: Weird and Beautiful Cinema around the World yang ditayangkan di Inggris. Dokumenter ini dipecah menjadi beberapa bagian dan menjadi bonus special features di beberapa DVD terbitan Mondo Macabro DVD.
Fantasy Film from Indonesia berkisah tentang film-fiilm bergenre laga, mistik, horror, legenda, dan kumpeni yang diproduksi di masa Orde Baru, khususnya film-film yang sudah menjadi ikon klasik “Crazy Indonesia” seperti Lady Terminator dan Mystics in Bali.
Indonesian Light and Magic berfokus pada art directing dari film-film eksploitasi itu, dan menjelaskan teknik yang digunakan El Badrun.
Dokumenter ini dilengkapi dengan wawancara dengan produser Gope Samtani dan juga penulis skenario dan sutradara Imam Tantowi seputar keterlibatan mereka dalam produksi film-film eksploitasi ini.

Tulisan pengantar diskusi:
The Other Side of Indonesia: New Order’s Indonesian Exploitation Cinema as Cult Films oleh Ekky Imanjaya (COLLOQUY text theory critique 18 (2009), Monash University).

Bad RI films a big hit overseas oleh Joko Anwar (The Jakarta Post, 9 Desember 2001)

Semua acara gratis