Self-identity is never a sure thing in Edwin’s short films. It is absolutely relative and rewritten perpetually through every social interaction. This is important when one considers that throughout Suharto's Orde Baru, whose political imagination is still felt to this very day, many films tried to internalize the idea of what and who is an 'Indonesian' according to the ruling class’s interests.
We need to assess Indonesian cinema further beyond its economic achievements. The measurement needs to be expanded, as films not only serve as commercial commodities, but also as strategic components in cultural interactions. These two functions are inseparable and closely related to each other.
Wiji Thukul is not Indonesia’s greatest poet. He is certainly not the only casualty of the New Order government. But he is one of the most important stories in the history of Suharto’s bloody regime. For many, he defines what Reformation era is all about. Through absence and language, Solo, Solitude beautifully captures the essence of Thukul.
Rumor has it that every third-world leader whispered the same phrases the morning after independence: “Now the real problems start.” Indonesia is no exception. In Lewat Djam Malam, Usmar Ismail narrates how revolution could go wrong.