Price: $350.00

    Code: 2412

    Directed by Leonard Retel Helmrich
    2004, 92 Minutes
    Purchase: $350 | Classroom Rental: $125

    The end of the Suharto regime ushered in an era of rapid sociopolitical upheaval in Indonesia. In this second installment of the Sun, Moon, Stars trilogy, filmmaker Leonard Retel Helmrich returns to the Sjamsuddin family to intimately capture the changes taking place in their country, including the troubling rise of Islamic fundamentalism.

    Rumidjah, a 62-year-old widow, lives in Jakarta, Indonesia with her son Bakti and her 13-year-old granddaughter Tari. Since the fall of Dictator Suharto seven years ago, she has witnessed the country passing through a tumultuous period of socio-political chaos. Rapid globalization and democratization have spawned a subculture of criminality and uncertainty. Islam, the largest religion in Indonesia, is trying to maintain order and discipline, while becoming increasingly fundamentalist in its tone, which has consequences on the everyday lives of all Indonesians, no matter their religion. Rumidjah, who is a Christian, has had more than enough of the capital's chaos of these last years. When her son Bakti converts to Islam to marry a Muslim girl, Rumidjah seriously considers leaving the hectic city forever and moving to the safety of the countryside.

    The care for her thirteen-year-old granddaughter Tari is the one and only thing that still ties Rumidjah to the city. She decides to take her on a visit to her native village in Central Java. The countryside there is bright; the sun shines almost every day, all year round. Life is initially full of promise. Old friends of Rumidjah welcome them, and all the inhabitants of the village help her to renovate the foundations of her old wooden house. Rumidjah feels happy in the village, but for the thirteen-year-old Tari, Rumidjah sees no future in such an environment. Despite Tari's desperate pleas to stay, Rumidjah sends her back to Jakarta with her son Bakti.

    Rumidjah soon realizes that in the countryside things haven't stayed the same either. Every day she walks through fields of rice looking for work, but mechanization has made it almost impossible to find employment on the farms. Survival as an old uneducated woman in the face of such brutal change is difficult. Rumidjah manages to find small comfort thinking of her granddaughter who is now getting a good education in Jakarta, and who will certainly get further in life. Through her faith in God, Rumidjah carries on looking for work and doesn't lose hope for a better future.

    Subjects & Collections

    Festivals & Awards

    * Opening Film, International Documentary Festival Amsterdam
    * Winner, Joris Ivens Award, International Documentary Festival Amsterdam
    * Winner, Grand Jury Prize, Sundance Film Festival
    * Winner, Best Cinematography Award, Documentary Festival Chicago
    * Winner, Grand Jury Award, Full Frame Festival
    * Winner, Audience Award, Renconters Documentary Film Festival


    Highly Recommended . "Incorporating ... cinéma vérité style and unwavering attention to every detail, Helmrich’s camera continues to craft a rich and layered visual narrative". - Educational Media Reviews Online

    "An ambitious melange of ethnography, family drama and expressionist style” - Variety

    "I would recommend this film to the instructor who wants to present to his/her classes the contemporary social situation in Jakarta in specific and urban Indonesia in general. It also documents remarkably well the tremendous social growth of Islam in Javanese society, as well as the tone of this new globalized Islam in contrast to the more traditional Javanese Islam of the classic anthropological literature. For film-making techniques it is also well worth showing to visual anthropology and documentary film students." - Troy Belford, Anthropology Review Database