Wednesday, April 27, 2011

A Gem at the Tribeca Film Festival 2006

In 2006, I diligently perused the Tribeca Film Festival offerings. I don't like to look at any of the USA films because there is a greater chance that film will be distributed. So I search for the international films. There is method to my madness. I came across "Love for Share" which can also be translated to "Sharing Husband" and in Indonesian "Berbagi Suami". At the end of the film, the director Nia Dinata and some of the cast members were present for a question and answer session where they also were seeking distribution. Ironically, given the limited distribution of this film, it won for Best Director at the Brussels International Independent Film Festival in 2007 and Best Feature Film in 2006 at the Hawaii International Film Festival.

Ms. Dinata started out as an apprentice reporter at a private Indonesian television station and began her career in making video clips and commercials. She has a mass communication degree from Elizabethtown College, Pennsylvania and attended NYU for programs in film production. After college she returned to Indonesia and founded Kaylana Shira Film, an independent film company in 1999.

"Lots of us...go to the movies to learn stuff" (Hooks, 2). Like Bell Hooks, Dinata is a film lover. She has a mission to tell the story of Indonesia "which is a very diverse and complex place" (Ford). In "Love for Share" Nia Dinata shows us the complex social practice of polygamy in Muslim Indonesia, a subject not too familiar to us in the United states save "Big Love". Most Indonesians in Indonesia are unwilling to speak about polygamy even though it is a part of their daily lives. Dinata's father "took on a second wife (whom he later divorced) when she was 18. She has since been a strong critic of polygamy" (Sobia). Religious conservatives fear that audiences watching "Love for Share" will "turn against the idea of polygamy" (Sobia); further conservatives dislike seeing sexuality on screen.

Dinata encourages social change through her films which is why she was recently honored as a film maker at the Global Social Change Film Festival and Institute in Ubud, Bali April 13-17, 2011. She shows that "...cultural is represented by women's muted groups..." (Humm 100). Those muted groups in Indonesia are not only women but minorities. According to Ford Foundation, Ms. Dinata states that film "can give voice to those who remain unheard in cinema." Indonesia is according to Dinata "...a place where freedom of expression is not experienced by all." Indonesian censorship regulation has been reformed as of late; however it limits her creativity. Ms. Dinata is an advocate of freedom of expression and an activist against censorship, fighting this law and the Film Censorship Boards in court throughout her film making career. She wants the audience to view her uncut and uncensored films. She is also working to teach young people how to make films : "The next generation must be educated so they know how to use their rights in expressing their thoughts" (Ford).

"Changing how we see images is clearly one way to change the world" (Hooks 6). According to Ford Foundation, Ms. Dinata states that "creative expression through film can change behavior." Dinata states that "Gender issues are not well exposed." Film according to Dinata can present a visually complete complex story where print media falls flat (Ford). Dinata balances her Muslim religion and femininity through the "gritty stories of her films" (Sobia).
Clearly Nia Dinata uses "...the camera which Astruc identifies as a writer's the mechanism with which" she inscribes her "ideas onto film" (Humm 96): polygamy, AIDS, homosexuality, sex trafficking of women, sexuality, drugs, Batik, poverty, human rights and secondary education all aspects of women's lives within Indonesia.

Dewi, Mariani. "Nia Dinata: All It Takes is Courage." The Jakarta Post. 29 Mar. 2009. The Jakarta Post. 26 Apr. 2011.

Hooks, Bell. “Introduction: Making Movie Magic.”

Humm, Maggie. "Author/Autor: Feminist Literary Theory and Feminist Film.”

"Meet Our Visionary Grantees: Nia Dinata." Ford Foundation, n.d. Web. 26 Apr. 2011.

Sobia. "Swimming Against the Current: A Look at Nia Dinata via Dispatches." Muslim Media Watch. 20 Jan. 2000. Muslim Media Watch. 26 Apr. 2011.

1 comment:

  1. I think the measure of a films effectiveness is the social change that it aims to inspire. This is a very eye-opening post.