Cinema of Indonesia

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Cinema of Indonesia
Indonesia film clapperboard.svg
No. of screens1756 (2018)[1]
Produced feature films (2018)[2]
Total141
Number of admissions (2018)[3]
Total51,100,000
Gross box office (2017)[4]
Total$345 million

Cinema of Indonesia is film or that is produced domestically, in Indonesia. The Indonesian Film Agency or BPI defines Indonesian film as "movies that are made with Indonesian resources, and wholly or partly Intellectual Property is owned by Indonesian citizens or legal entities in Indonesia".[5] It dates back to the early 1900s.[6] Until the 1920s, most cinema in Indonesia was produced by foreign studios, mostly from Europe, and the United States, whose films would then be imported to the country. Most of these films were silent documentaries and feature films from France and the United States. Many documentaries about the nature and life of Indonesia were sponsored by the Dutch East Indies government and were usually made by the Dutch or at least Western European studios. The first domestically produced documentaries in Indonesia were produced in 1911.[7] However, the first domestically produced film in the Dutch East Indies was in 1926: Loetoeng Kasaroeng, a silent film, which was an adaptation of the Sundanese legend of the same name.[8] During 1926, there were two movie theatres, the Oriental and the Elita, in Bandung.[9][10] The first movie theatre in Jakarta was the Alhamra Theatre, which opened in 1931.[11]

Indonesian cinema reached its first big step to dominate majorities of movie theaters in big cities in the 1980s, and started to compete in international film festivals before its downfall in the 1990s with the financial crisis and political movements. Around this era, young stars like Onky Alexander, Meriam Bellina, Lydia Kandou, Nike Ardilla, Paramitha Rusady and Desy Ratnasari dominated the silver screen with films like Catatan si Boy (Boy's Diary) and Blok M.

The industry was struggling to gain public interest to go watch films in the movie theaters, and most films stuck to teenage dramas, horror and adult genres. Domination of Hollywood and foreign films in movie theaters were other reasons for Indonesian film slowly losing its place and popularity. After the Reform in the beginning of 2000, the film industry started to gain its strength with a growing number of young filmmakers, and dwhile the industry was still adjusting to the new constitutions, Indonesian cinema started to reconstruct its identity and retake its former position to be as popular as Hollywood and foreign films.

The film industry is currently the fastest-growing sub-sector of Indonesia's creative economy.[12] The number of moviegoers in the country were more than 52 million in 2019. The Indonesian film industry released 230 films in 2019.[13][14] As of 2019, there are about 2,000 screens in Indonesia, which is expected to reach 3,000 by 2020.[needs update] 21 Cineplex, CGV Cinemas (previously Blitzmegaplex) and Cinépolis (previously Cinemaxx) currently dominate the movie theatre industry in Indonesia.[13][1]

History[edit]

Colonial era[edit]

Advertisement for Loetoeng Kasaroeng, the first fiction film produced in what is now Indonesia

The first showing of films in the Dutch East Indies was in 1900,[6] and over the next twenty years foreign productions, which were mostly from the United States, were imported and shown throughout the country.[15] Domestic production of documentaries had begun in 1911[7] but were unable to compete with imported works.[15] By 1923, a local feature film production spearheaded by the Middle East Film Co. was announced, but the work was not completed.[16]

The first domestically produced film in the Indies was in 1926: Loetoeng Kasaroeng, a silent film by Dutch director L. Heuveldorp. This adaptation of the Sundanese legend was made with local actors by the NV Java Film Company in Bandung and premiered on 31 December 1926 at the Elite and Majestic Theatres in Bandung.[8] The following year, G. Krugers – who had served as a technician and cinematographer for Loetoeng Kasaroeng[17] – released his directorial debut (the second film in the Indies), Eulis Atjih. Owing to Loetoeng Kasaroeng's limited release, Kruger was able to advertise his film as the colony's first.[18] A year later, the second novel to be adapted to film in Indonesia, Setangan Berloemoer Darah, was produced by Tan Boen Soan.[19]

Ethnic Chinese directors and producers, capitalising on the success of films produced in Shanghai, China, became involved in the colony's cinema beginning in 1928, when Nelson Wong completed Lily van Java.[20][21] Although the Wongs went on hiatus, other ethnic Chinese became involved in film. Several Chinese owned start-ups are recorded from 1929 on, including Nancing Film with Resia Boroboedoer (1928) and Tan's Film with Njai Dasima (1929).[22] By the early 1930s Chinese-owned businesses were the dominating force in the country's film industry.[23]

After the Great Depression reached the Indies, production slowed tremendously. The Dutch East Indies government collected higher taxes and cinemas sold tickets at lower prices, ensuring that there was a meagre profit margin for local films. As a result, cinemas in the colony mainly showed Hollywood productions, while the domestic industry decayed.[24] The Teng Chun, who had made his debut in 1931 with Boenga Roos dari Tjikembang, was the only producer able to release films during 1934 and early 1935; his low budget but popular films were mainly inspired by Chinese mythology or martial arts, and although aimed at ethnic Chinese proved popular among native audiences because of their action sequences.[25]

Poster for Terang Boelan, one of three films credited with reviving the Indies' failing film industry

In an attempt to show that locally produced, well-made films could be profitable, the Dutch journalist Albert Balink, who had no formal film experience,[26] produced Pareh in 1935 in collaboration with Nelson Wong and his brothers. Though the film, costing 20 times as much as most contemporary productions, was an ultimate failure, it affected The Teng Chun's directorial style; the latter took less traditional stories.[27] Balink's next attempt, Terang Boelan, was released two years later. Unlike Pareh, Terang Boelan was a marked commercial success, earning 200,000 Straits dollars (then equivalent to US$ 114,470[28]) in two months.[29] These two films are, according to American visual anthropologist Karl G. Heider, Indonesia's most important films of the 1930s.[30]

The triple successes of Terang Boelan, Fatima (1938), and Alang-Alang (1939) revived the domestic film industry.[31] Four new production houses were established in 1940,[32] and actors and actresses previously attached to theatrical troupes entered the film industry, which was reaching new audiences.[33] The new works, fourteen in 1940 and thirty in 1941,[34] generally followed the formula established by Terang Boelan: songs, beautiful scenery and romance.[35] Others, such as Asmara Moerni, attempted to reach the growing native intelligentsia by drawing journalists or figures from the growing nationalist movement into cinema.[36]

Japanese occupation[edit]

After its genesis during the Dutch colonial era, the Indonesian film industry was co-opted by Japanese occupiers during the Second World War as a propaganda tool. The Japanese government immediately halted all production of film. Then, the Office of Cultural Enlightenment (啓民文化指導所), which was headed by Ishimoto Tokichi, appropriated facilities from all filmmaking organisations, consolidating them into a single studio which became the Jakarta branch of The Japan Film Corporation (日本映画社) or Nichi'ei.[37] The majority of films made in Indonesia under the Japanese were educational films and newsreels produced for audiences in Japan. The Jakarta branch was strategically placed at the extreme southern end of Japan's empire and soon became a centre of newsreel production. Popular news serials such as News from the South and Berita Film di Djawa were produced. Japanese newsreels promoted such topics as conscripted "romusha" labourers (ロムシャの生活, 1944), voluntary enlistment into the Imperial Japanese Army (南の願望, 1944), and Japanese language acquisition by Indonesian children (ニッポン語競技会, 1944).[38]

Local Japanese-sponsored film production (other than newsreels) remained essentially negligible, and the domestic exhibition market was too underdeveloped to be financially viable. However, Nichi'ei's occupation of the Indonesian film industry was a strategic victory over the West, demonstrating that a non-Western Asian nation could displace Hollywood and the Dutch. Indonesia was one of the last areas in the empire to surrender, and many who worked at Nichi'ei stayed on after defeat to work for Indonesian independence from the Dutch.[38]

Korean director Hae Yeong (or Hinatsu Eitaro) migrated to Java from Korea in 1945, where he made the controversial documentary Calling Australia (豪州の呼び声, 1944). Calling Australia was commissioned by the Imperial Japanese Army and depicted Japanese prisoner of war camps in a positive light, showing prisoners feasting on steak and beer, swimming, and playing sports. After the war, the film caused such a stir that The Netherlands Indies Film Unit rushed into production of Nippon Presents which used some of the P.O.W.s from Calling Australia to reject the viewpoint of the film. In 1987, Australian filmmaker Graham Shirley assembled the remaining survivors to make yet another documentary about how, in his view, both regimes had conspired to exploit the prisoners each for their own purposes.[38]After the war, Hae changed his name to Dr. Huyung, married an Indonesian woman with whom he had two sons, and directed three films before his death in 1952: Between Sky and Earth (1951), Gladis Olah Raga (1951), and Bunga Rumar Makan (1952).

After independence[edit]

Former cinema Megaria (ca. 1960–80), today Cinema Metropole XXI.

After independence, the Sukarno government used the film industry for nationalistic, anti-imperalist purposes and foreign film imports were banned. After the overthrow of Sukarno by Suharto's New Order regime, films were regulated through a censorship code that aimed to maintain the social order and Suharto's grip on society.[39] Through his company Perfini, Usmar Ismail, a director from West Sumatra, made a major impact in Indonesian film in the 1950s and 1960s.[40] Djamaluddin Malik's Persari Film often emulated American genre films and the working practices of the Hollywood studio system, as well as remaking popular Indian films.[41]

In the late 1950s, a number of political aspects impacted the film industry, not only in production but also in distribution. Threats of burning the movie theaters and film boycotts by anti-imperialist movements meant that the profit for movie theaters dropped drastically. Around 1964 there were 700 movie theaters in Indonesia, which fell to 350 in 1965. The post-independence era was greatly influenced by the 30 September Movement which led to a dilemma for local movie theater owners when the local films produced weren't enough to fill the program slot. The economic crash had put the growing industry on hold and paralyzed people's purchasing power, however at the end of this decade the film industry mostly survived because of popular foreign imports.

1980s[edit]

The industry reached its peak in the 1980s, with successful films such as Nagabonar (1987) and Catatan si Boy (1989). Warkop's comedy films, directed by Arizal, also proved to be successful. The industry also found appeal among teens with such fare as Pintar-pintar Bodoh (1982), and Maju Kena Mundur Kena (1984). Actors during this era included Deddy Mizwar, Eva Arnaz, Lidya Kandou, Onky Alexander, Meriam Bellina, Rano Karno, and Paramitha Rusady.[42] The film Tjoet Nja' Dhien (1988) winning 9 Citra Awards at the 1988 Indonesian Film Festival.[43] It was also the first Indonesian movie chosen for screening at the Cannes Film Festival.[43][44]

1990s[edit]

By the 1990s, imports of foreign films resumed, and the quantity of Indonesian films was reduced due to competition, especially from the US and Hong Kong. The number of movies produced decreased significantly, from 115 in 1990 to 37 in 1993.[45]

A new law No. 8 created in 1992 about Films put a production as a non obligatory activity, and there's no longer a production permit which builds communication between filmmakers and the house productions with the government. This new constitution later resulted in the decreasing figures of film produced whether it's a commercial film or independent ones throughout the decade because there's no accurate number as the Ministry of Communication in the department of multimedia technology is no longer active and there are no authorities who will replace the role to be in charge during the productions.

Rampant counterfeiting and the increasing popularity of television also contributed to the decline of Indonesian cinema. Multivision Plus under Raam Punjabi controlled one of many cinema companies who produced sinetron, or soap operas. The majority of films produced were exploitaive, adult-themed B-movies shown in budget cinemas, outdoor screenings, direct-to-video or on television.[42] In 1996, 33 films were made in Indonesia, with the majority of the films produced were filled with adult-themed content, and later on, decreased significantly. Only seven domestic films were made in 1999.

Number of feature films produced in Indonesia from 1926 to 2017

2000s[edit]

Under the Reformasi movement of the post-Suharto era, independent filmmaking lead to a rebirth of the film industry in Indonesia, where films started addressing topics which were previously banned such as religion, race, love and other topics.[39]

In 2002, the number of domestic films made increased from six in 2001 to ten. It continued to increase significantly as the years passed on.

Recent notable films include Ada Apa dengan Cinta? directed by Rudi Soedjarwo in 2002, Eliana Eliana, directed by Riri Riza, and Arisan! starring Tora Sudiro. In 2005, Beauty and Warrior, Indonesia's first animated feature film, was released. That same year Gie was released, also dircted Riri Riza and based on the life of Indonesian activist Soe Hok Gie.

The release of Ayat-Ayat Cinta, directed by Hanung Bramantyo, attracted one segment of audience like never before in the Indonesian film history. The melodramatic story did not give new approaches to cinematic storytelling, but the crossover between Islam and modern romance succeeded in getting Muslim audiences.[46]

In 2009, Infinite Frameworks released their first full-length animation movie, Sing to the Dawn (Meraih Mimpi). The movie itself features some foreigners, but all artists and dubbers were Indonesian, most of the dubbers being celebrities such as Gita Gutawa, Surya Saputra, and Jajang C. Noer.

2010s[edit]

Between 2010 until 2011, due to the substantial increase in value-added tax applied to foreign films, cinemas no longer had access to many foreign films. This has caused a massive ripple effect on the country's economy. It is assumed that this increases the purchase of unlicensed DVDs[citation needed]. However, even copyright violating DVDs now take longer to obtain. The minimum cost to view a foreign film not screened locally is IDR one million, equivalent to US$100, as it includes a plane ticket to Singapore.[47]

The Indonesian film market is in the C, D, E classes, and due to this, foreign porn stars such as Sasha Grey, Vicky Vette, Maria Ozawa, Sora Aoi, and Rin Sakuragi have been invited to play a part in movies. Most locally made movies are low-budget horror films.[48]

Locally made film have been increasingly critically acclaimed since 2011. This was attested by the international release of films such as The Raid (2011)[49] and its 2014 sequel,[50] Modus Anomali (2012), Dilema (2012), Lovely Man (2012), Java Heat (2013) and Pengabdi Setan (2017).[51]

Indonesian horror films, particularly the work of director Joko Anwar, attracted international attention in the 2010s, aided by streaming services. The Queen of Black Magic, Satan's Slaves and Impetigore have been perceived as part of a new wave of folk horror films from Southeast Asia.[52][53]

In the last decade, Indonesian cinema has experienced significant improvements compared to previous decades, not only with the construction of new movie theaters in areas outside the island of Java, but also behind the scenes in the industry. The presence of various associations that support production is an important factor.

Domestically, the government's efforts to promote local films with the regulation of Law Number 33 of Film in 2009 had a positive impact on the development of the industry. In Article 10 it is explained that film activities and show business actors must prioritize Indonesian films, and prioritize the use of domestic power sources. Additionally, it is clarified in Article 12 that actors are prohibited from showing films from only one production house and in their circulation it is prohibited to import films exceeding 50% (fifty percent) of the showing hours for six consecutive months in order to avoid monopolistic practices and/or competition.

Indonesian films are also increasingly appearing at international festivals and are starting to collaborate with other countries in distributions and productions.

2020s - Present[edit]

The COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020 paralyzed the domestic and foreign film industry. Indonesia, which did not escape the pandemic, had become one of the countries with the highest infection rate in the world in July 2021 with around 44,721 active cases. This also forced the government to make an emergency decision to enforce restrictions on community activities (PPKM), namely the restriction of various group activities. As a result, film-making activities were ordered to be closed or temporarily suspended nationally from mid-March 2020.

The closing of cinemas nationwide touched around 68 cinemas, 387 screens spread across 33 cities and 15 provinces in Indonesia in the early period of the pandemic. Although limited by the obligation to keep distance and work online, the pandemic has not stopped the ability of Indonesian filmmakers to write and make their films, and production house entrepreneurs continue their professional activities through online platforms.

This also adapts to the growing trend of online viewers from the Netflix platform and encourages local industries to improve the quality of their platforms, and/or cooperate with national television channels to avoid the economic crisis caused by the pandemic. Various independent production houses have started to produce their films with independent platforms that can also be accessed legally and online such as Vidio and Viddsee, a paid film and series online platform that shows not only Indonesian films but also foreign films.

Film festivals[edit]

The major film festival of Indonesia is the Jakarta International Film Festival (JiFFest), held every year in December since 1999.[54] The eighth festival began on 8 December 2006,[citation needed] with Babel, a film starring Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett. The festival experienced a two-year hiatus in 2011 and 2012, but resumed in 2013.[55]

Jakarta also hosted film festivals such as the 52nd Asia-Pacific Film Festival (APFF) on 18–22 November 2008.[56]

Another event is the Indonesian Film Festival (Festival Film Indonesia/FFI), which has been held intermittently since 1955. From 1973 to 1992, the festival was held annually and then discontinued until it was later revived in 2004. It hosts a competition, which hands out the Citra Award.

National Film Market[edit]

Movie theaters[edit]

La Piazza 21 (now La Piazza XXI) in Jakarta

Records show that there were movie theatres named as Oriental and Elita during 1926 in Bandung.[9][10] The earliest cinema hall in Jakarta was Alhamra at Sawah Besar, which was established in 1931. Other old cinema halls in Jakarta were Astoria, Grand, Metropole, Rex, Capitol, Rivoli, Central, and Orion.[11] As of 2019, there are about 2000 screens in Indonesia, which is expected to reach 3000 by 2020. Cineplex 21, CGV Cinemas and Cinemaxx currently dominate the movie theatre industry in Indonesia with 1,003, 275 and 203 screens, respectively.[1]

The largest cinema chain in Indonesia is 21 Cineplex, which has cinemas spread throughout thirty cities on the islands of Sumatra, Java, Kalimantan, Bali, Sulawesi, Moluccas, and Papua. It has three separate brands to target different markets, namely Cinema 21, Cinema XXI, and The Premiere. Since 2012, Cinema 21 outlets are gradually being renovated to become Cinema XXI.

Another cinema chain is Blitzmegaplex, which opened its first location in 2006 and it became the second biggest movie theater in the country. In 2017, the brand name was changed to CGV.[57] As of January 2019 it has already opened 57 theaters with 249 screens in 21 cities across Indonesia.[58] Its Megaplex at Grand Indonesia in Jakarta is dubbed Indonesia's largest cineplex by the MURI (Indonesian Record Museum).

Cinemaxx, launched by Lippo Group, opened its first cinema at The Plaza Semanggi on 17 August 2014. Cinemaxx currently operates 45 cinemas with more than 200 screens in Indonesia. It expects to open 300 cinemas with 2,000 screens spread across 85 cities in the next ten years.[59]

In May 2017, Agung Sedayu Group opened FLIX Cinema, with its first outlet at PIK Avenue, North Jakarta. Three months later, it opened its second outlet at Grand Galaxy Park, Bekasi. It plans to open outlets at District 8 Shopping Centre, South Jakarta and Mall of Indonesia, North Jakarta (replacing CGV).

Many smaller independent cinemas also exist, such as Platinum, New Star, BES Cinema, Surya Yudha Cinema, and Dakota Cinema.

Movie-goers[edit]

In the regulation of the Minister of Education and Culture of the Republic of Indonesia number 34 of 2019 concerning the Circulation, Performance, Export and Import of Films, article 17 explains the need for periodic notification of the number of viewers of a film made at the end of each month through a data collection system for the Number of Viewers in order to carry out functions in the field of development cinema.

The data collection is carried out by means of information technology and film data communication, which includes the number of audience gains for each film entered in national cinemas based on show hours and detailed locations, including local films and imported films.

Year Movie-goers
2017 39 135 910
2016 34 088 298
2014 15 657 406
2013 12 716 790
2012 18 887 258
2011 15 565 132

Bibliography[edit]

  • A to Z about Indonesian Film, Ekky Imanjaya (Bandung: Mizan, 2006).
  • Katalog Film Indonesia 1926-2005, JB Kristanto (Jakarta: Nalar, 2006). ISBN 978-979-99395-3-1

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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  2. ^ "Average national film production". UNESCO Institute for Statistics. Archived from the original on 23 October 2013. Retrieved 5 November 2013.
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  4. ^ "Indonesia the next biggest box office market". Film Journal. Archived from the original on 27 November 2018. Retrieved 11 December 2017.
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  7. ^ a b Biran 2009, p. 53.
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  16. ^ Biran 2009, p. 57.
  17. ^ Biran 2009, pp. 60–61.
  18. ^ Biran 2009, p. 73.
  19. ^ Woodrich 2014, p. 27.
  20. ^ Biran 2009, p. 77.
  21. ^ JCG, Lily van Java.
  22. ^ Biran 2009, p. 379.
  23. ^ Biran 2009, pp. 380–381.
  24. ^ Biran 2009, p. 145.
  25. ^ Biran 2009, pp. 147–150.
  26. ^ Biran 2009, pp. 160–162.
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  28. ^ Biran 2009.
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  32. ^ Said 1982, p. 27.
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  36. ^ Baskett, Michael (2008). The Attractive Empire: Transnational Film Culture in Imperial Japan. Honolulu: University of Hawai'i Press. ISBN 978-0-8248-3223-0.
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  38. ^ a b Sen, Krishna (2006). Giecko, Anne Tereska (ed.). Contemporary Asian Cinema, Indonesia: Screening a Nation in the Post-New Order. Oxford/New York: Berg. pp. 96–107. ISBN 978-1-84520-237-8.
  39. ^ Nowell-Smith, Geoffrey (1996). The Oxford History of World Cinema. Oxford/New York: Oxford University Press. p. 690. ISBN 978-0-19-811257-0.
  40. ^ Kuhn, Annette (2012). A Dictionary of Film Studies. Oxford/New York: Oxford University Press. p. 229. ISBN 978-0-19-958726-1.
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  45. ^ Sasono, Eric (4 April 2008). "Pertemuan Baru Islam dan Cinta". Kompas. Archived from the original on 19 July 2013.
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  55. ^ Frater,AP, Patrick; Frater, Patrick; AP (21 December 2009). "Quake fails to shake awards". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 4 May 2022.
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  57. ^ "Kontrak Habis, CGV MoI Ditutup". Kompas. Retrieved 15 January 2019.
  58. ^ "Cinemaxx Hadir di Mall Living World Pekanbaru". Berita Satu. Retrieved 28 September 2018.

Works cited[edit]

External links[edit]