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Garin's 'Memories of My Body' and the risks in movie making

Tempo - April 29, 2019

Aisha Shaidra and Chitra Paramaesti, Jakarta – A number of rejections loomed over the release of Garin Nugroho's latest film entitled Kucumbu Tubuh Indahku, released internationally as 'Memories of My Body'.

Some believe that the movie contradicts the public norm, which drove several people to issue a petition against the film's screening.

Not only that, but regional administrations have also sent a circular rejecting the screening of the movie.

Within one week after it was first screened, there were already Change.org petitions against Garin's latest movie, such as the one that was initiated by Rakhmi Marshita who calls for theaters to screen movies that create positive inspiration, creativity, and encourages positive knowledge.

The main reason of Rakhmi's refusal is clear through her statement that can be perceived as her fear of confusing youth's search for identity and that the audience members would take the example of the characters in the movie.

Refusals also came from Depok Mayor Mohammad Idris who sent a letter of refusal to the Indonesia Broadcasting Commission (KPI) on April 24, for he believes the movie "contradicts religious values."

Local administrations sending their letter of refusal was not just Depok Mayor. West Kalimantan Regent Muda Mahendrawan also issued a circular refusing the movie to be screened in the region he leads.

Response from the censorship board

Head of the Indonesian Film Censorship Board (LSF) Ahmad Yani Basuki said that public reactions to the film's release had already circulated prior to its official screening in theaters for its trailer that was yet to be passed by the LSF.

Ahmad Yani said that the initial trailer caused the public to form a perception despite having watched the movie. As a censorship board, the LSF had its own consideration upon the movie and argues that 'Memories of My Body' contains life lessons from an individual character that can act as a learning experience for mature audience members.He continued to say that there are major influences experienced by the movie's main protagonist that eventually affected the character's life, even though he agrees that some might argue that it is uncommon or unusual for the general audience.

Ahmad also noted that the movie is aimed for adult audience members over 17 years of age and that the scenes of male dancers moving fluently graceful is not exclusive to the movie and that it can be witnessed in real life.

"The LSF surely is not aiming to promote LGBT, we have our own consideration upon passing the movie," said Ahmad who also hinted that revoking its censorship is not what the LSF aims to do.

Public too quick to react

Garin Nugroho, as the movie's director, regrets the unfair social media judgments that were ripe before and after 'Memories of My Body' was released. He strongly argues that the call to boycott the movie does not give him the chance for a dialogue on the artwork he helped create.

His disappointment toward the public reaction was so strong he considered them an illegitimate mass judgment that gave birth to mass anarchy.

"The will for justice and to live together in diversity without discrimination and violence will never die and never will be silenced by anything," said Garin Nugroho.

Source: https://en.tempo.co/read/1200229/garins-memories-of-my-body-and-the-risks-in-movie-making