Portal:Indonesia/Selected biography/14

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Sjumandjaja (1934–85) was a critically acclaimed Indonesian film director, screenwriter, and actor. Born in Batavia, he became interested in film while in high school. In 1959, he received a scholarship to study at the All-Union State Institute of Cinematography in Moscow; he was the first Indonesian to attend the Institute and the first non-Russian to graduate with honours. Five years after returning to Indonesia, in 1971 Sjumandjaja made his feature film debut with Lewat Tengah Malam. While continuing to direct, in 1973 he established the production company Matari Film; the company produced most of his later films. A heavy drinker since he was a teenager, Sjumandjaja suffered from health issues from the mid-1970s until his death. Known for his romantic themes and social realist style, Sjumandjaja was influenced by post-Stalinist Russian cinema. During his career he won five Citra Awards – the Indonesian equivalent to an Academy Award – and was respected as a director who valued creativity over commercialism. One of his children, Djenar Maesa Ayu, is also a Citra Award-winning director. (Read more...)